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'Atlanta' Recap, "B.A.N.": If You Don't Like My Lyrics, You Can Press Fast-Forward

By Brian Richards | TV | October 12, 2016 |

By Brian Richards | TV | October 12, 2016 |


PAPER BOI: Appears on the B.A.N. (Black American Network) roundtable talk show Montague, hosted by Franklin Montague (and no, he isn’t played by Jussie Smollett from Empire, no matter how much of a resemblance there may be) to discuss accepted sexual identity and its effects on Black youth with Dr. Debra Holt from the Center of Trans-American Issues. Apparently, his appearance on the show (which he isn’t getting paid for, much to his disbelief) is due to an earlier tweet in which he stated to others: “Y’all the niggas who said I’m weird for not wanting to fuck Caitlyn Jenner.” Paper Boi explains that he isn’t transphobic, he just doesn’t care about Caitlyn and she isn’t at all important to him. His explanation gives Montague the perfect opportunity to ask: “So how long have you disliked trans people?” Paper Boi denies this, stating that he only just recently learned about the existence of trans people, and has said far worse and more offensive things just on his track “Illuminati Sex” alone. (I hope to every imaginary deity in existence that Donald Glover and company recorded an actual track called “Illuminati Sex” and if Atlanta has a soundtrack, that it will be included on it). As if that isn’t enough, Dr. Holt feels that Paper Boi is in denial regarding his support for the trans community, seeing as how, according to her, his lyrics (“If you my nigga, you my nigga for life”) are very “pro-sexual spectrum.” Whatever that means.

Montague returns from commercial break with a special report on Antwoine Smalls, a Black teenage boy who sees and identifies himself as a 35-year-old White man named Harrison Booth. Who also likes to walk around and eat bags of arugula and who also works at both the local shopping mall and at Coca-Cola as a systems engineer. The amount of silent nods exchanged between Antwoine/Harrison and the reporter interviewing him reminded me a little too much of this classic interview from Gumbel To Gumbel:

Back to Montague and its roundtable interview with Paper Boi and Dr. Holt, where Montague continues to ask Paper Boi such impressive and necessary questions like: “Isn’t a lack of father in your life the reason you hate trans people?” Paper Boi once again explains that he has absolutely nothing against the trans community (“Caitlyn Jenner is doing what rich White people have been doing since the beginning of time, which is whatever they want”) and that he, because of “freedom of speech an’ shit,” should be able to say weird things without people hating on him. (Sorry, Paper Boi, but if Fiona Apple can’t get away with saying weird things and giving her second album a 90-word title, then you’re out of luck. And I say that as someone who loves her second album.) This finally gets him and Dr. Holt to see eye to eye and agree with each other, an absence of conflict that Montague cannot allow, hence his need to accuse Paper Boi of making music that is offensive to Black teens (which Paper Boi and Dr. Holt scoff at, as if rock music isn’t a thing that exists) and that he hates women (which Paper Boi responds to with a “Nigga, WHAT?!” of complete disbelief)

The episode of Montague concludes with another conversation with Antwoine/Harrison, who is appearing on the show via Facebook video chat. He is now sporting glasses and his hair (which used to be shoulder-length dreads) is now blonde, relaxed, and cut in a way that makes him look like…well, take it away, Paper Boi:

“You look like Super Saiyan…you look like Draco Malfoy (or as he calls him, Drake Malfoy)…you look like Ellen De Generes, like Felon De Generes…you look like the lost Fifth Beatle…you look like a dying palm tree…you look like you’re playing Dennis The Menace in a Dennis The Menace reboot directed by Tyler Perry” (Paper Boi didn’t actually say that last one, that was actually me)

Besides his change in appearance, Antwoine/Harrison is there to speak in defense of who he is and of his trans-racial identity, and to also speak against how horrible he finds gay marriage and transsexuality to be, much to the shock of everyone on set. Montague and Dr. Holt look like they want to throw up their hands in frustration before flipping every desk and table in sight, whereas Paper Boi spends the next five minutes laughing his ass off like Muttley from Wacky Races. And that is how this episode of Montague ends as it fades to black, while Paper Boi continues laughing and telling Antwoine/Harrison all of the things and people he looks like.

As for the fake commercials interspersed throughout this episode of Montague:

- Go out and get yourself a Dodge Charger, which is the ideal car for people who want to make an impression without saying shit and for people who lose everything in their divorce, including all of their pants and underwear.

- If you ever bought a can of Arizona Iced Tea (even though they’re about as healthy for you to consume as gasoline, cyanide, and sandwiches from Subway) and don’t understand why you’re charged $1.49 for it even though the price on the can clearly says 99¢…well, don’t expect Arizona to clear it up for you.

- Mickey’s Malt Liquor: Seriously, people? You’d be better off drinking gasoline and cyanide than this shit. Or any malt liquor, for that matter.

- Swisher Sweet Cigars: For when you don’t give a damn about how good the quality of their tobacco is, because you need their paper to properly smoke your weed.

- If you’re feeling lost without Miss Cleo (R.I.P.) and need someone to give you the spiritual guidance you so desperately need (as well as a Nutella sandwich with some juice), call Ahmad White at 1-260-33-QUEST (No, seriously, call the number. It’s real and it works.)

- Ever wondered what it would be like if the Trix Rabbit got beaten and arrested by a violent and overzealous police officer for the crime of wanting to eat a bowl of his own cereal? And to have the kids eating that cereal step up and call out said officer on this bullshit they’re witnessing and take out their cell phones to record it all? Well, wonder no more, thanks to King Coco’s Crunch-O’s cereal. (And yes, that was voice-artist goddess herself, Cree Summer, voicing one of the kids)

(Sadly, or not, depending on your point of view: Nicolas Cage as Fu Manchu doesn’t appear in any of these commercials)


HOW MANY F-BOMBS WERE THERE IN THIS EPISODE?: Any and all profanities were bleeped-out, due to this being a family show airing on the Black American Network

ANY TIME-TRAVELING ALIENS IN THIS EPISODE?: (sighs) How the fuck does Mrs. Pajiba-hyphenate constantly deal with this bullshit…

TO SUM IT ALL UP: Whatever it is that FX is paying Donald Glover and company to create every episode of Atlanta, they need to double it.

Another terrific episode in a string of terrific episodes, and to see how Glover and his writers expertly parodied Don Lemon, Rachel Dolezal, BET/TV One/Centric and many of the commercials that air on those networks (as well as the products that appeared in them) will make you laugh as well as make you shake your head at how brilliantly it’s done. And besides all of that, it was just an incredibly funny episode, if only just to once again see Paper Boi have to deal with the idiocy and condescension of others without getting into yet another slap-fight.

This episode of Atlanta was brought to you by Color Me Badd’s “I Wanna Sex You Up,” one of the worst and least sexiest songs ever made. And even if “Illuminati Sex” were a real track, it couldn’t possibly be worse or weirder than a song that has as an actual lyric: “We can do it ‘til we both wake up.”