Atlanta: The Club
October 19, 2016 8:28 AM - Season 1, Episode 8 - Subscribe

Paper Boi, Darius and Earn are in a club, Primal, as a public promotional appearance, but the allure of the club can fade.

Oh, and there's hidden door in the wall, and an invisible car. Twin Peaks status rating: four out of a possible ten logs.
posted by filthy light thief (4 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Music from this episode (missing some songs at the moment*): * Not in the TuneFind list, but listed in Vulture's episode recap
posted by filthy light thief at 8:39 AM on October 19, 2016

This show can be so good, then so bad. I just don't need the casual violence Glover keeps throwing in there. Glover is doing a lot right with the show and the characters. And then when you think it's at a higher ledge, he drags it back down to the same level, like it doesn't deserve to be up there. I just get annoyed because for black people there are certain things tv does over and over, and certain things black tv does over and over, different from shows with mostly white people on them.

I don't want to see a character we're clearly supposed to like, getting liquored up, busting through to the back of a club with a bunch of friends, yelling at and physically assaulting and slapping a guy, taking all the guy's money and grabbing the guy's property, then leaving. It's extremely frustrating.

There were so many good parts of the show. The corny but still interesting bartender with a heart of gold with amazing insights about life and the club. The examination of the girl-at-the-club interaction with music star/athlete/celebrity. Darius. But then the way the show ended left a bad taste.
posted by cashman at 5:08 PM on October 20, 2016

I think not to disagree about the range of plot points & characters that seem available to black shows but I don't think what Alfred did was in any way out of character from what we've seen him do so far or based on how frustrated he was at how the night went. He wants to figure out how to be noticed, he hates feeling marginalized & he makes impulsive decisions. I think we're supposed to like him for different reasons than we like Earn & Darius. And then at the end the club guy was like "That guy's gonna be a star", validating that that actually was what Alfred had to do at that moment. And then like everything Alfred does, it comes back & bites him the ass.
posted by bleep at 12:01 AM on October 22, 2016 [1 favorite]

I don't think describing the violence in the show as casual gives nearly enough credit to the creators. The accumulating violence is a weight hanging over the characters and the season as a whole since the opening shots of the first episode. But more importantly, violence is not presented for the purpose of a telling a morality tale, where there is an easy and obvious differentiation between a righteous path and a sinful path and it comes down to the individual to make the right choice. It is part of the setting in which the characters are attempting to survive and thrive ("earn"). It is presented both non-glamorously (I'm thinking of the way the fighting went down in the manager's office) and sometimes in a surreal manner (thinking of the episode 1 "is this the real life?" moment) or sometimes in a way to highlight how absurd it is that violence can be so normalized and mundane (Earn waking up looking down the barrel of a handgun in a later episode). It is not glamorized as bad ass, nor is it sensationalized as a moral failing of the characters. This is a show about the setting, about making your way in a very specific context. Like many elements of their context, they are part of it and they are impacted by it, to what extent we don't yet know.

I didn't read Alfred as liquored up either. I wasn't counting but he hardly seemed to be drinking at all, unless you take the manager's implication that he drank $4,250 worth of liquor at face value. I did see him as the victim of a common crime (withholding of payment to entertainers by club management) for which there is likely no legal course of action available to him that would have led to him being made whole. Whether what he did was good or wise is another question, but I don't think he was portrayed as casually assaulting and stealing from someone, nor that he did what he did for the fun of it or primarily to establish street cred or present himself as tough. It was much more pragmatic. He is trying to get what is his, not due to a sense of hubris or dreams "above his station" (a dynamic central to a lot of "ghetto fairy tales"), but what is literally owed to him by (likely verbal) contract. The show has already dealt more than once with Alfred's growing ambivalence about building a career on acting the part of the "thug" (scene with kids playing "Paper Boi" with toy guns) and being "The N* Yo Love to Hate" to contrast with the "good n*" role portrayed by Justin Bieber. That was the point of having Justin Bieber played as black, right? To show Alfred's realization that he is caught in a racist trap of having to play "gangster" or "one of the good ones" and that he will never be perceived as "one of the good ones," nor, despite his address and his day job, is he content to be relegated to the "hood" role.
posted by nequalsone at 9:33 AM on October 26, 2016 [5 favorites]

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