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'Atlanta' Recap, 'The Streisand Effect': Trigger Fingers Turn To Twitter Fingers

By Brian Richards | TV | September 21, 2016 |

By Brian Richards | TV | September 21, 2016 |


EARN: While driving around, Earn and Darius are discussing how and why AIDS was created, as well as the fact that Earn has no idea who Steve McQueen is (the guy from The Sand Pebbles, as Darius puts it, and not his grandson who played Jeremy on The Vampire Diaries or the director of Shame and 12 Years A Slave). As Darius puts it:

“Most Black people don’t know who Steve McQueen is.”
Earn: “But you do?”
Darius: “Yeah. I’m Nigerian.”

Well played, Darius. Well played.

Once they arrive at the local pawn shop so that Earn can trade his cell phone for cash, Darius comes across an impressive-looking samurai sword (or katana, for those who like to nitpick) that he insists Earn spend his money on to trade up for even more money. Earn decides against it at first, until Darius convinces him otherwise by telling him: “If you really need the money, then take the money. I’m just talking about a way that we could make more money.”

And that is enough to give Earn second thoughts and so he purchases the sword from the pawn shop owner (who also knows who Steve McQueen is, thanks to the movie poster for The Sand Pebbles displayed behind him. As he puts it, anyone who shows interest in the film or McQueen so that he will turn and look at it, he takes as an indication that the person inquiring about it will then try to rob him)

Earn and Darius then drive across town to sell the sword to someone who is willing to do business with them. Once they arrive and the sword is acquired from them, they are then compensated with…an incredibly large Pit Bull who could be the stunt double for a Direwolf on Game Of Thrones if necessary. That same Pit Bull is brought to a different location to someone interested in purchasing it from them. Once the deal is done, both Earn and Darius are then compensated with…the news that once the Pit Bull breeds with another Pit Bull and puppies are born as a result, they will be worth $2,000 each, and they will soon be paid. In September. The complete opposite of Right Now, which was when Earn was expecting to be paid.

Earn doesn’t take the news very well, considering how the day has been spent driving around and with nothing to show for it, especially since the money that he originally spent in the hopes of getting more for Vanessa and their daughter, Lottie, is now gone. Darius can only respond by telling him what he said before in the pawn shop: “If you really needed the money, then you should’ve taken the money.” He tries to lift Earn’s spirits by giving him his own cell phone to trade in at the pawn shop (especially since he regularly buys new cell phones to keep people from tracking him). Because, as Darius puts it, “We’re friends now.”

PAPER BOI: After finishing up a recent show and going outside to meet Earn and Darius, the three of them are approached by Zan a.k.a. @zanlivesmatter, an annoying and overly enthusiastic combination of Drake at his nerdiest (if he were still on Degrassi as Aubrey Graham) and Marcus Chong-as-Tank in The Matrix. He seems very enthused about meeting Paper Boi, while also bragging about his photography skills (which amounts to nothing more than a photo on his T-shirt of his smiling face next to a woman’s exposed ass-cheeks) and his business ventures (he and his cousin make baby sneakers for adults). None of them seem very impressed by him or his accomplishments, so they tell Zan to leave. Which he does, and makes his exit on his Not-Hoverboard.

As if that wasn’t enough exposure to Zan to leave Paper Boi feeling pissed off, he sees that Zan has gone on social media to insult both his talent and reputation, by telling everyone that he really isn’t all that talented. Despite Earn and Darius telling him not to, Paper Boi goes after Zan and insults him back. Which only leads to Zan creating videos on YouTube implying that Paper Boi’s mixtapes are straight trash and that he’s also not very good at pushing weight (that’s ‘selling drugs’ for those of you about to go to Urban Dictionary) either. After finding out where Zan lives and that he actually works as a delivery person for a pizzeria, Paper Boi confronts him as he’s about to do a delivery…and ends up riding with him in the passenger seat as a young boy who looks no older than ten years old rides in the backseat.

Zan’s motivations for doing what he does, including dragging Paper Boi’s name through the mud, is to record everything he sees and hears so he can post it on social media and get more followers and page-clicks, whereas Paper Boi explains his motivations as: “I scare people at ATMs, boy. I have to rap. That’s what rap is. Making the best out of a bad situation.” As for the little boy in the backseat, who Paper Boi assumed to be Zan’s son, he apparently isn’t his son, but his business partner. The little boy’s business involves him appearing in videos and saying things like “Sure it is, bitch!” and “I (the beep that censors this little boy’s next few lines of dialogue is long enough for you to get up, make a grilled-cheese sandwich, and come back without missing a beat) all over her face.”

The look on Paper Boi’s face upon witnessing that…


Zan then sends the little boy to make his pizza delivery for him. He does, only to have the customer take the pizza, pat him down, and then shut the door without paying. All so Zan can record it on his phone to post on social media. Which he does, with a huge smile on his face as his business partner pounds on the customer’s door demanding to be paid for the pizza. Paper Boi has seen more than enough, and simply shakes his head before getting out of the car and walking off.



ANY TIME-TRAVELING ALIENS IN THIS EPISODE?: Someone else please answer this question for Dustin so that I don’t have to. Please!

TO SUM IT ALL UP: Another impressive episode, which reminds us once again how important it is for Earn to support both himself as well as his family, but also that rap isn’t just a hobby for Paper Boi; it’s an escape route so that he can experience a life that’s more than him scaring people at ATMs. It also highlights, in the form of Zan a.k.a. @zanlivesmatter, how social media, for those who take it way too seriously and seemingly need it to boost their egos on a regular basis, can make people into the most annoying/infuriating fucking people alive, as they’re willing to say and do anything for the approval of strangers in the form of ReTweets, Likes, and an ever-increasing follower count.

And Darius still remains one of the best characters on the show. So far, he really does make every episode better.

This episode of Atlanta was brought to you by Bobby “Blue” Bland’s “Ain’t No Love In The Heart Of The City” (It was going to be brought to you by Jay-Z’s “Heart Of The City (Ain’t No Love), but it’s no longer available on YouTube for TIDAL-related reasons)…

..and sadly, for those who learned the news this morning: Atlanta-based rapper Carlos “Shawty Lo” Walker was killed in a car accident sometime last night, just days after losing his father a week earlier. He leaves behind eleven children, and many rap fans who loved his music and how much he repped for the city of Atlanta. So this episode of Atlanta will also be brought to you by Shawty Lo’s “They Know (Dey Know).”

May he rest in peace.