Why "Atlanta" Is the Minimalist Show We All Need

Why "Atlanta" Is the Minimalist Show We All Need

This is a show for the century; it does not only reveal what Glover can do as a director, but what he will do.

The world is sleeping on Donald Glover, he is the new-aged definition of an entertainment go-getter: actor, writer, and an entertainment aficionado. From portraying Troy on "Community" to being a part of the writing team on "30 Rock "to rapping under his moniker Childish Gambino (remember the song "Heartbeat?"). Some could say that this is just the beginning for Glover. He has accomplished it all and he is only thirty-three years old. With his resume dripping in success, it is hard to believe he found the time to start yet another task to take on and this time as an executive producer for the little-known hit show "Atlanta" on FX.

Ever heard of the show "Atlanta"? If not, it is a show on FX that only a few people know of. If you do know of it, it could be because Donald Glover was the main protagonist of the entire show. Not to say that is the sole reason why people tuned in; however, it could be a likely reason.

"Atlanta" & David Lynch

Anyone and everyone who loves television knows of David Lynch; his unique directing style has been closely tied to minimalism. “Lynchian's” out there know his popular television show "Twin Peaks" which aired between 1990 and 1991 embodies that signature style. Lynch’s minimalism is the use of three plot points that move the plot along; out of those three plot points, one is the main plot. While this may seem contradictory to the minimalistic and simplistic style, it only confirms the notion of minimalism (more on this later). "Atlanta" borrows this minimalistic style in the similar fashion that Lynch introduced it.

Helmed by David Lynch and returning to the small screen in May 2017 much to the delight of fans worldwide, the cultural legacy of "Twin Peaks" cannot be understated. David Lynch, throughout his career, is an entertainment go-getter in much the same respect as Glover. Lynch has worked on numerous films and television shows since 1990 such as "Louie," "Thank You Judge," And "Zelly And Me." That is not among the countless others that use his signature esoteric and dreary style that he has directly influenced the likes of Veronica Mars," "Bates Motel," "Hannibal," "X-Files" and most of all "Atlanta."

To quote Donald Glover from an e-news article (which is no longer accessible online, but can be seen here):

"Twin peaks was this show I really liked...it was very strange and had a lot of almost, for millennials, was lost-esque at the time," he explained. "A lot of questions would come up with no real answers and there was a mystery, and I kind of wanted to do a show that had those elements but for people who were rappers."

David Lynch was the perfect person to derive notes from while making the show "Atlanta" and Glover knew that. That is why he wanted to make a “Twin Peaks for rappers.”

When it comes to the first episode of both counterparts they are stylistically and visually similar in countless ways. The vibes are esoteric, meaning that you get something bad is going to happen or already has happened in the show prior to you seeing it. "Twin Peaks" does this very well by making it known that a murder has taken place and that something evil is lurking in town.

In the first episode of "Twin Peaks" titled, 'Pilot’ and ‘Northwest Passage’ the gloomy vibes, right off the bat, start to blossom. The episode begins with the character, Josie Packard, looking into the mirror and humming a daunting tune. The sound of dreary music plays in the background, foreshadowing an ominous event. The music is accentuated by the opaque and dark pigmentation used to color the scene and that makes the music seem unwelcoming.

The fisherman decides to take his morning routine such as any other day when he encounters a dead body. Upon seeing the body at the sawmill the fisherman runs back to town screaming and calling for harry, the policeman of "Twin Peaks." This is how viewers are introduced to the beginning of the show.

The same ominous beginnings are seen in the show "Atlanta." In the episode "The Big Bang," within the first seconds, we see Paper Boi’s side view mirror being kicked off. The pair, which could be assumed a couple, is confronted by Paper Boi who demands they pay for it. This scene resembles "Twin Peaks" with its use of dark and pale blacks and blues. After arguing, paper Boi brings out a gun and shoots the male in the chest. The gunshot is heard ‘round the world as the camera zooms out in a grand theft auto picturesque scene. This scene depicts the beginning of "Atlanta."

Opening the show with these two scenes was an intentional choice by Lynch and Glover. First and foremost, both shows have a murder that happened previous to the episode airing; in the case of "Atlanta," the murder is happening in this episode, except it’s from the past. Darius mentions the feeling of déjà vu in this scene (which will come up later), cluing viewers in that time is going backward and not forward.

Why is this show something we needed?

While "Atlanta" may be minimalistic in style when it comes to the show itself, a lot is happening and nothing is happening at the same time. That means if you went up to two people and asked them separately what "Atlanta" was about – they could both say different things. One could express how the show contains many plot points and that is why it is great.

However, the other could say that it does not contain many plot points and that is what makes it great for them. They are both right in that circumstance. Much like "Twin Peaks," "Atlanta" defines these characters by showing so little of their lives. Which means, we get who they are by decisions they make, attitudes they have in certain circumstances, and how they communicate with people they encounter - not exposition.

Most of what we see is depicted in three scenes: Earn, Alfred (Paper Boi), and Darius smoking weed in Alfred’s apartment, Earn in bed with the mother of his child/best friend Vanessa, and random scenes that pull together the rest of the show. This is what "Twin Peaks" does very well in the same retrospect. "Twin Peaks" has two main scenes and the rest is scenic backdrops that pull together the rest of the show. This ties into the three plot points mentioned before. "Atlanta" and "Twin Peaks" both contain these three plot points.

Lynch has played with the idea that the suffering artist is a romantic concept; and, "Atlanta" played on this idea that Lynch has perfected in many of his films today. Understanding the idea of a suffering artist as one whole concept is a difficult one to portray. "Atlanta" uses the example of Earn and Alfred.

Earnest 'Earn' himself is a hardworking Princeton dropout who is the manager of his cousin Alfred (Paper Boi), helping to get Alfred’s music career off the ground. Both Alfred and Earn suffer, Alfred in the artist sense and Earn in the financial sense.

Earn is living in his baby mother Vanessa’s house and does not know where he wants to go with his life. Therefore, Alfred, who is a rapper, is learning the difference between the two concepts and teaching Earn at the same time. Throughout the basis of the show, it is about figuring out that the 'rap game' is entirely different from reality. You can try to intertwine the two, but it does not work out the way you plan it.

In "Go for Broke" (s1, e3) you see Paper Boi and Earn side-to-side trying to deal with what it means to be starving and suffering. Paper Boi is attempting to get into the 'hustle' business (what one can assume is the drug business) and Earn is taking Vanessa on a date at a five-star restaurant and he's completely broke.

Side-by-side you see both trying to make suffering and starving into a whole concept, which they never learn themselves by the end of the season. This episode shows that it is not just about starving and suffering, you should want more than that. You should aim for more than that.

Earn is the prime suspect when you want to talk about the romantic concept of starving and suffering. Earn makes the starving and the suffering into one whole concept with his love life. He is suffering and starving romantically because, at the same time, he wants to prove his love for Vanessa; however, on the other hand, he also does not want to be broke all his life. Throughout the course of the show, you see that he must choose which is more important to him and in most cases, he chooses the manager side of the starving and suffering.

In "Juneteenth" (s1, e9) you, once again, see Earn as the starving and suffering romantic character. Earn is proving he can have both as a whole concept (that means: as a starving and suffering manager). Earn attends a party with Vanessa and they must pretend they are married and love fine art (essentially, act like they are Caucasian by putting on a different persona).

Throughout, Earn does what he can for Vanessa at this party and shows his compassion and strive for their relationship. At the same time, he also goes off on a couple for insulting Paper Boi and his 'management' career. This proves that he can do both, even if he does not realize it. Earn often believes he should choose between the two as if they are choices when they are not. This only proves that Earn can his cake and eat it too if he so pleases.

Lynch finds himself perfecting the idea of abstract emotions and plots throughout his directing. Both "Atlanta" and "Twin Peaks" achieve this standard. The abstract emotions that play a part in their daily lives do not affect what is currently happening. Yes, Earn constantly has issues with Vanessa – but, that does not bleed into the plot. When Earn, Alfred, and Darrius are on the couch smoking weed, those previous emotions are not being presented in this plot point. The emotions being presented are a thought or an idea, but they exist separately from what is going on with the characters.

The focus on going backward and not forward in certain scenes and instances is where the abstract plots come into play. "Twin Peaks" is the story of a girl who was murdered and they are going back to find out who did it. "Atlanta" did that perfectly in compliance to Lynch and "Atlanta" focused on the idea of going backward in the trailers released prior to the show. When the first episode started, it was ending of the episode rather than the beginning. Therefore, it was an indication of going backward and the déjà vu that Darrius stated was real.

Lynch has a spectacular way of making a television even better with his musical abilities. This is something he did not invent by any means, but the "Twin Peaks" soundtrack is breathtaking. Finding a perfect balance between the television show and the scenes being presented is challenging. Throughout the years, we have had examples of television shows that have done it wrong. Corresponding music with the pace of the show and knowing where those transitions lie is a gift. Knowing the perfect time to put them is what makes the show even more outstanding to the viewer.

This can be seen throughout the entire season of "Atlanta." The soundtrack itself is not short of amazing, it features the songs: "Broccoli" by D.R.A.M, "Skrt" by Kodak Black, "Grandma's Hands" by Bill Withers, "Real Sisters" by Future and "Elevator" (Me & You) by Outkast. This does not include the many others that made the show a delight to watch.

At the end of the day...

Why is this so important for millennials to know?

Minimalist television seems to be just the beginning of something that Lynch helped, among other directors, bring to the surface. This is not a Lynch conspired idea, other directors have tried their way with this minimalistic style; however, Lynch does a brilliant job of it and that is why "Twin Peaks" was a fitting example.

"Twin Peaks" was completely beyond its years and it follows suit with shows such as, Daria and Freaks and Geeks that were canceled too soon. They identified with the similar style that Lynch was perfecting. "Atlanta" did not overdo the millennial minimalist view, it was simplistic. As Glover states, the show has a 'lost-esque' vibe and you get that from the episodes of "Atlanta."

This is a show for the century; it does not only reveal what Glover can do as a director, but what he will do. Glover can write, direct, and produce in any way he so pleases and the fact that he chose a minimalistic way proves how powerful he is. Glover is a force to be reckoned with in 2017 and beyond.

"Atlanta" is what we all needed in our lives. I don't think we have seen someone reciprocate Lynchs’ ideas, as well as, Glover did. Glover shows us how to properly adapt someone’s ideas besides your own without taking the idea entirely and claiming it to be yours. This is important today -- to know where that line rests. Glover here’s to you and season two of "Atlanta!"

Cover Image Credit: thelaughbutton

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Iron Gold: A Solar System Torn Apart, Peace for What Cost?

The Latest Chapter in the Red Rising Universe

In a previous article, I reviewed Red Rising by Pierce Brown, you can find that review here. When I made that article, I had read the first book and was on the second one Golden Son, at the time. I finished it and tore through the third, Morning Star. I was too emotional over the last one to write about it, but now with the latest installment, I feel it is my duty to write about it. If you haven't read the first three, then I suggest you stop reading this article, as it will contain spoilers for them, but I will keep the bigger spoilers from the book out of this review.

Iron Gold, the newest book in the Red Rising universe is more than just another chapter in the life of the protagonist of questionable morality, Darrow of Lykos, The Reaper of Mars. Taking place ten years after the events of Morning Star, we see Darrow at 33 years old; older than his father ever was.

Despite hoping otherwise, the decade did not pass peacefully. it has been a long ten years of fighting a war the only way Darrow knows how; the absolutely craziest way possible with his elite group of miscreants: The Howlers, and his psychopathic guardian angel, Sevro. With Virginia au "Mustang" Augustus as Sovereign and Darrow as ArchImperator, their fledgling Republic faces enemies both internal and external. We know how Darrow and Mustang deal with external threats but are they out of their depth with the internal ones?

But this book is about more than just Darrow and his family. It expands the Red Rising universe, by taking the point of view of other people. Iron Gold follows the lives of those affected directly, somewhat indirectly, and indirectly by Darrow breaking the chains of The Society. In that respect, we have Lysander au Lune, whose life was forever changed after Darrow did what he did. The murder of his grandmother, The Sovereign of The Society at the hands of the Helldiver, has understandably put him in a difficult situation; forced to live as an outcast on the edge of the inner rim with Cassius au Bellona.

Next, we have Ephraim ti Horn, an ex-soldier Gray whose life was altered not by Darrow himself, but the legend he created. With the heart-breaking death of Trigg ti Nakamura, Holiday lets Darrow know that he left a fiancé behind; this is that man. He has grown cold since Trigg's death and pushes everyone away. With no love for the old society or the new Republic, he turns to a profession that can fill the void in his life. Thievery.

And we have Lyria, a Red from Lagalos. Her life was changed after the Republic freed the Martian mines and the Reds within them. Having Quicksilver's robots take their jobs, the Reds had to wait in camps before they could be transferred to a more stable location. That promise was one even Mustang couldn't deliver, as she and her family have been there in the camp for five more months than they should have been. And dangers other than poor rations and malaria-carrying mosquitoes loom over them.

This sort of plays off the quote that Fitchner said: "Some men have threads of life so strong that they fray and snap those around them..." This was said to have Darrow keep his distance from Sevro, fearing that his son will die if Darrow keeps him around. But Darrow proved that wrong in Morning Star, and that their threads are interwoven and made stronger for it. But their interwoven thread have changed the face of the Solar System.

This book is written in the same style Brown has cultivated in his last three books, but with each character having different lives, the tone and inflection shifts from Darrow's almost poetic cadence the series is famous for. And like the previous books, Pierce Brown writes scenes where time passes and characters still live and operate. When the book switches perspective, they still make plans and that sense of suspense to know what they're going to do is not lost in this book. It is in fact, intensified, there are scenes when everything is going wrong (a staple in this series) and suddenly we're pulled worlds away, to another sphere of problems with another set of people causing them.

And of course, we get to see characters that have lasted through the trilogy, some we love, some we hate, and even some we hate to love. If you've read the first three books then I shouldn't have to tell you about the lovable scamps Darrow keeps around, and I'm sure you have your favorites. Getting to see how they've changed (or stayed the same) is a treat in it of itself.

Pierce Brown seems almost determined to make is fans cry with this latest installment and he just might succeed. Pick a copy of Iron Gold, and get ready to break some chains, Howler!

Cover Image Credit: https://latentationdulivreenanglais.com

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19 Country Songs That Will Make You Believe In Love Again

Heartache might seem inevitable right now, but let these songs remind you love does exist.

Heartache sucks. We've all been there.

Luckily, music is one of the things that helps me through some of these tough times. So if you've lost hope in boys, yourself, or just love in general, here are 19 country songs (as defined by the music industry, so don't @ me) that will help you get over that f*ckboy and make you believe in love again.

1. Waitin' On A Woman - Brad Paisley

I remember listening to this song in middle school and dreaming of the day I got myself a man like Brad Paisley. (I'm still dreaming by the way. Where he at?)

2. Show You Off - Dan + Shay

Before their newest track, "Tequila," Dan + Shay used to fly under the radar a lot. So we're throwin' it back a little for the OG fans, but it's definitely meant for this list regardless. If you haven't heard it yet, add it to your playlist ASAP.

3. A Woman Like You - Lee Brice

If this song doesn't give you the feels, then I really don't know how to help you out of your funk.

4. Eyes On You - Chase Rice

Freshman year of college, I jammed to Chase Rice's first album every single day on my mile walk to class. It's no surprise he's continued to put out songs that stay on repeat.

5. Wanted - Hunter Hayes

A CLASSIC. If you haven't heard this song, you've been living under a rock, I swear. Hunter Hayes had every girl SWOONING in middle and high school, OK? And you're lying to yourself if you think otherwise.

6. Look At You - Seth Ennis

New artist to watch! Seth Ennis is making moves in the country genre, and this is a good one to add to your playlist.

7. Marry Me - Thomas Rhett

Ugh. You already knew I had to include at least one T-Rhett song on here. I'm not sorry about it.

8. Tim McGraw - Taylor Swift

Throwin' it back to the old T-Swift! I loved this song when I was in middle school, and best believe I still do. I always wanted to know if my crush thought of me when hearing a certain song or driving past a certain place. (And honestly, I still do.)

9. Stay - Florida Georgia Line

Two summers ago, I spent an entire day and night scream-singing this song at the top of my lungs with one of my best friends on our way to and from an FGL concert almost 2 hours away. This one tugs at the heartstrings, so be careful.

10. In Case You Didn't Know - Brett Young

While I usually gravitate towards a song with a beat, when I'm feelin' down, sometimes a slow track is just what I need. Give this one a shot. It'll remind you there are some good guys out there.

11. Head Over Boots - Jon Pardi

Oh, Jon Pardi. How could I not include this track on the list? It's never a song that's on my everyday playlist, but when it comes on, best believe I'm singing along.

12. Nothin' Like You - Dan + Shay

Another Dan + Shay classic that I just had to include. Super catchy, and the lyrics are too cute.

13. Our Song - Taylor Swift

When I was in 8th grade, I slow danced with my crush to this song, and high key, I wanted it to be our song (because how cute would that have been?).

14. Just Wanna Love You - Hudson Moore

Another catchy, upbeat jam to get you out of your post-heartache slump. This one will have you feelin' all warm and fuzzy in no time.

15. All On Me - Devin Dawson

This song has been on the charts for awhile, but obviously for good reason. The lyrics are adorable, so if for some reason you haven't had a chance to listen, what are you doing?

16. All-American Girl - Carrie Underwood

I actually forgot this song existed until I thought long and hard about which Carrie track I wanted to include. Is this not the most adorable song? The storyline is precious and I get the feels every time.

17. Die A Happy Man - Thomas Rhett

Remember earlier when I said I had to include at least one T-Rhett? Yeah, this track is why I couldn't stop at just one.

18. I'm Comin' Over - Chris Young

Another jam that's been on the charts for a bit. Super catchy and can easily be added to any car jams playlist. Although, I don't recommend running any red lights like Chris. (Ha. I'm hilarious.)

19. Already Callin' You Mine - Parmalee

Also forgot this song existed, but when I was scanning through the archives of all my country playlists, I was reminded of this one. Definitely worth listening to.

F*ckboys will be f*ckboys. Don't let them affect the way you think about or strive for love. Heartache might seem inevitable right now, but let these songs remind you that love does in fact exist.

Cover Image Credit: Instagram | danandshay

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