“Atlanta” is setting a new standard for television

Childish Gambino performs at Boulevard Pool at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas on May 27, 2012. Donald Glover, known also as Childish Gambino, is the creator and star of FX’s Atlanta. Courtesy The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas via Creative Commons.

Stephen Johnson Jr., Columnist

Most current television shows are predictable and boring.

“Atlanta,” however, is not like most shows. “Atlanta” has an unpredictable story arc that makes every episode interesting and fascinating. It also ties pop culture into realistic everyday situations and modern issues, creating a new standard for television.

“Atlanta” fills the void most modern shows cannot satisfy by addressing current events, issues and circumstances that affect society, even when they are uncomfortable to talk about.

We as viewers often enjoy shows such as “Friends,” “How I Met Your Mother,” and “Two and Half Men.” I consider all of these shows to be modern classics, each with different portrayals of relatable problems.

“Friends,” and “How I Met Your Mother” have very similar overarching storylines: Each illustrates the friendship that builds between a handful of regular people trying to make a living, find happiness and fall in love in New York City.

“Two and half men,” on the other hand, displays the imperfect and unpredictable side of family life and all the drama that accompanies it.

“Atlanta” combines all the qualities of the three shows into one series. “Atlanta” depicts real world issues, grittiness and unpredictable circumstance. Atlanta attempts to represent the perspectives of different races of people through the use of slang and pop culture.

“Friends,” “How I Met Your Mother” and “Two and Half Men” are all missing the political awareness of current events that “Atlanta” weaves seamlessly into its message. I cannot recall seeing a political message, whether about sexism, racism or gender equality in any of the aforementioned series.

Regularly tackling modern issues head-on makes Atlanta much more compelling than other shows being aired. I feel that tackling race relations can be beneficial for any generation, but is especially relevant today.

Some shows try to tie in issues for a single episode.

For example, “Blackish” is a show with a predominately African-American cast. It brought up police brutality in one episode, but did not carry that issue into other episodes throughout the season.
I feel the choice of limiting this issue to one episode does not bring enough awareness to or satisfy any viewer’s curiosity about the problem.

In contrast, “Atlanta” continually conveys a broken world in need of significant reform. Since the first episode, it has provided social commentary on race and gender inequality, sexual orientation and the the tenuous relationship between African Americans and the police.

Television is the best way to display the need for change in the United States.

Instead of using shows like “Friends,” “How I Met Your Mother” and “Two and a Half Men” as a comedic escape from the real world, we need shows that reflect our reality and provide a new perspective, and “Atlanta” does just that.

Johnson is a junior journalism and mass communication major.

1 comment

  1. Storm says:

    I enjoyed this article! I agree with everything you said.

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