THE STORY SO FAR:
PAPER BOI: Accepts an invite to play in a charity basketball game alongside other familiar faces such as Lloyd (if you’re not familiar with 2000s-era R&B, your response of “Who?!” to reading his name is understandable) and Jaleel White (yes, that Jaleel White). He tries to get the attention of an attractive news reporter named Valencia Joyner, who has no idea who he is, then only remembers who he is because he shot someone and not because he’s a rapper, and expresses no interest in interviewing him.
Her enthusiasm, and the enthusiasm of seemingly everyone else in the building, apparently skyrockets once they all see that Justin Bieber has entered the building, as he’s also been invited to play in the charity basketball game. Oh, and just so you know, this is an alternate reality/universe where Justin Bieber isn’t the skinny White asshole with no Act-Right whatsoever that looks like this…
…and is actually a skinny Black asshole with no Act-Right whatsoever who looks like this…
Justin’s very presence, attitude, and tendency to say ridiculously dumb shit and do things like piss all over the hallway floor with no shame whatsoever (but you know, he’s just a kid, so that makes his behavior perfectly okay. Right, Ryan Lochte?) only infuriates Paper Boi, which leads to the two of them antagonizing and trash-talking each other on the court during the game. And Justin easily breaking through Paper Boi’s defense and scoring points on him doesn’t help. Eventually, Paper Boi decides that Justin is going to put some ‘respeck’ on his name and when Justin breaks through his defense yet again and is about to take it to the hoop…
Yeah. That looked painful.
Justin then gets up and shoves Paper Boi from behind, which then leads to Paper Boi shoving him back and the two of them getting into the most embarrassing fight since Xander Harris vs. Harmony Kendall.
Once everyone finishes watching the fight while shaking their heads in disbelief/posting cell-phone footage of the fight to WorldStar Hip-Hop (or so I assume, because, you know…WORLDSTAR!), Justin holds a press conference and apologizes for his actions in the form of turning his backwards basketball cap around (!), telling everyone how much he likes Jesus, and then performs his new song, “Justice” for the crowd, all of them eating it right up. (Chris Brown would be so proud.) Meanwhile, Paper Boi makes another attempt at hitting on Valencia, who simply tells him to accept his role in the public eye as that of an asshole. It’s the role that everyone wants him to play and what everyone is comfortable with, which is the exact opposite of how they feel about Justin. She then does her best Hillary Clinton shoulder-shimmy to join the rest of the crowd in dancing along to Justin’s music, leaving Paper Boi in further disbelief.
EARN: Finds himself approached by a former sports agent named Janice (played by character-actor extraordinaire Jane Adams), who mistakes him for a colleague/friend of hers named Alonzo. He sees no harm in playing along with this charade and seeing where it leads, and where it leads is to the VIP section of the party, where there are many other agents and people with thick wallets drinking wine and enjoying themselves. After snagging himself some business cards from a couple of other agents along with some free drinks made with top-shelf liquor, Janice approaches him yet again and accuses ‘Alonzo’ of stealing all of her clientele and practically putting her out of business, while also throwing in some homophobic insults for good measure. Her response/idea of retribution despite Earn coming clean and admitting that he’s not really Alonzo and that this is all a case of mistaken identity: “I’m going to make sure you die homeless.”
The look on Earn’s face in response:
DARIUS: Goes to the local shooting range to fire at some paper targets, as one does. Except he winds up getting on the bad side of everyone else at the shooting range because instead of his paper targets being that of humans, his paper target of choice is that of a dog. He ends up being confronted by a couple of them (the kind of White, antagonistic gun enthusiasts you’d see at a Trump rally or on The Daily Show being interviewed by a correspondent while attending a Trump rally) demanding to know why he’s shooting at targets of dogs instead of humans. Darius has no reason to shoot at a human, but the dogs in his neighborhood, however, are crazy. It isn’t until a couple of Middle Eastern gun enthusiasts appear to back up Darius and confront the White gun enthusiasts that Darius is finally kicked out by the shooting-range owner for starting shit.
ANY CAMEOS FROM THE CAST OF COMMUNITY?: No.
HOW MANY F-BOMBS WERE THERE IN THIS EPISODE?: At least two or three.
ANY TIME-TRAVELING ALIENS IN THIS EPISODE?: I swear to Beyoncé, I’m going to find out where Dustin lives and burn every last one of his baseball caps if he keeps asking me this shit.
TO SUM IT ALL UP: Another strong and impressive episode firing on all cylinders. Lakeith Stanfield continues to absolutely kill it with every minute of screen time he has, and the scene of Darius getting confronted by a group of White men who love guns and animals (especially animals named Harambe, I’m assuming) more than they love humans who aren’t White was incredibly well-done. The show’s true masterstroke, however, was its clever and funny usage of the Over There/Multiverse version of Justin Bieber, how it made us sit up and pay closer attention to what we were seeing, and how he was also being used to show that both the general public and the media will excuse and forgive some celebrities for their ain’t-shit behavior, and how others are expected to be treated like punching bags in order to give them something to talk about.
This episode of Atlanta was brought to you by the gentlemen known as Thugnificent, Flonomical, Macktastic, and Nate Dogg (R.I.P.) and their classic track, “F—- Granddad:”