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'Atlanta: Robbin' Season' Recap, 'Barbershop'

By Brian Richards | TV | April 2, 2018 |

By Brian Richards | TV | April 2, 2018 |


THE STORY SO FAR: Paper Boi is at his friendly neighborhood barbershop, sitting and waiting…and waiting…and waiting for his barber to actually show up and give him a haircut. His barber, Bibby, finally arrives and walks through the door while talking on the phone via his Bluetooth headset and is barely acknowledging Paper Boi. When Paper Boi makes it clear that he needs to hurry the fuck up and get off the phone so he can get the haircut he needs for an upcoming photo shoot he’s doing, Bibby finally hangs up and is about to start giving Paper Boi ‘the usual’ that he gets every time he comes in for a haircut…right before his phone goes off again and Bibby’s girlfriend on the other line demands to know where he is and why he hasn’t arrived to meet her yet. Bibby tells her that he’s on his way and begins packing up his equipment and starts heading out of the door…despite the fact that Paper Boi is still seated in his chair and waiting for the rest of his haircut. Bibby tells him to come on with him so he can finish up his haircut at his girlfriend’s place when they arrive.

Paper Boi, much to his very evident dissatisfaction, agrees to this and to be dragged along to follow Bibby around to get his much-needed haircut. And spends the rest of the day having to deal with:

- Seeing Bibby get yelled at by his girlfriend, and the mother of his youngest son, for arriving late, for not paying the water bill, for not paying the electric bill, and for stealing money out of his girlfriend’s purse so he can go compete in The World Series Of Dice against Ashy Larry as payment for the haircut he just gave to his son (and not to Paper Boi, who has to sit in the living room and keep waiting for his own haircut as he watches a little boy get his) when he arrived at the house.

- Helping Bibby steal piles of dimensional lumber from a house that’s under construction and renovation, due to the fact that the person who hired Bibby to help work on the house hasn’t paid him yet and because the lumber was used as collateral, Bibby is now putting the lumber in his truck and taking it back. As if that wasn’t enough (and the fact that Bibby’s idea of taking Paper Boi to get something to eat from Zaxby’s* is bringing him to the aforementioned house and offering him his own half-eaten, room-temperature lunch from Zaxby’s in a to-go box kept in the mini-fridge), the wife of the person who hired Bibby shows up and demands to know who Bibby is and what he’s doing before she calls the cops on the both. (Which Paper Boi doesn’t need, as his ass is still on probation) Bibby explains all of that and pretty much dares the woman to call the cops, especially since her husband is cheap and owes his money.

- Trying to put on his non-functional seat belt in the passenger seat of Bibby’s pickup truck when Bibby spots his oldest son hanging out with his friends at a strip mall instead of being at school and decides to do a U-turn and chase after them. And once they catch up to him, he also has to deal with Bibby’s son talking shit about him and his hair and how he should be looking better because he’s famous.

- Getting into a car accident due to Bibby’s refusal to actually watch the road while driving because he was too busy yelling at his son and lecturing him for skipping school. (It could’ve been worse, at least Bibby didn’t get into a car accident because he was looking at dick pics on his phone like Issa on Insecure). The driver of the car that Bibby rear-ended slowly climbs out (and for a brief second, I thought she was going to be visibly pregnant) and begins screaming in pain. Whether or not her screams are sincere or if she’s just hamming it up to get more money from the eventual lawsuit is never discovered since Bibby doesn’t even bother climbing out of his car and just drives right past her to flee from the scene. Which only causes the driver to scream even louder.

After all of that, Paper Boi, Bibby, and Bibby’s son finally arrive at the barbershop and park in the back. As they climb up the stairs to head inside, Bibby gets another phone call from a friend of his asking for a hook-up and if they could possibly meet. Bibby agrees and tells Paper Boi that he needs to head back to his truck to get something. Paper Boi, who is this close to doing to Bibby what Hulk did to Loki at the end of The Avengers, simply grabs him by the collar and Death-Glares at him without saying a word. Which causes bibby to change his mind about leaving and simply head inside to give Paper Boi his haircut.

Which he does, and thanks to Bibby, who clearly knows his shit when it comes to cutting hair, gives Paper Boi the haircut he’s been waiting for all afternoon and it looks fresh. Paper Boi gets up from his seat, and after looking at his haircut in the mirror with approval, walks over to the door to leave without saying a word. Bibby reminds him that Paper Boi still hasn’t paid him for his haircut, which pisses off Paper Boi even more as he turns back around and reminds him of all the bullshit that Bibby just put him through that nearly ruined his entire day. Bibby sees it completely differently and thinks that the day they had together was a good one. Paper Boi clearly has had more than enough, and simply takes out some money to pay Bibby, and lets it drop to the floor before walking out of the barbershop and heading elsewhere.

Some time later, Paper Boi arrives at the barbershop once again to get another haircut. Bibby greets him as he walks in and brushes off his chair so that Paper Boi can sit down and get his haircut…only to stand there and watch as Paper Boi strolls right past him without saying a word and sits down in another barber’s chair. Bibby is shocked at this, and Paper Boi has not a single fuck to give. As Paper Boi’s newest barber asks him what kind of haircut he would like, Paper Boi explains that he would like the temple fade that he usually gets every time he needs a haircut. When the barber asks him whether he wants that temple fade at Level 1 or Level 2, Paper Boi finds himself completely stumped and not knowing how to respond. After spending so long just simply telling a barber that he just wants ‘the usual,’ he now finds himself and his hair at the mercy of a barber who doesn’t know him and doesn’t know what he wants or what he likes. Which is really all that any man wants from a barber that he entrusts his hair with. And with Bibby already helping a customer who is seated in his chair, all Paper Boi can do is hiss his teeth and wait to find out whether he’ll be happy with what he sees in the mirror.


HOW MANY F-BOMBS WERE THERE IN THIS EPISODE?: Considering how many times Paper Boi threatens Bibby with how he’s going to fuck him up as the day progresses, quite a few.


TO SUM IT ALL UP: After the emotional rollercoaster that was last week’s episode which ended with Earn and Van callin git quits for good, this episode was a nice and welcome change of pace as we found ourselves witnessing all of the ridiculous antics Paper Boi has to go through just to get a simple haircut from Bibby. Brian Tyree Henry was outstanding as always (and if you enjoy seeing his masterful facial expressions of anger and annoyance and “I can’t believe this bullshit is even happening right now,” this is the episode for you) and stand-up comic Robert Powell III did a wonderful job as playing Bibby, who makes you shake your head at everything he says and does and makes you believe that he deserves the ass-whoopings that Paper Boi threatens him with throughout the episode, but he conveys enough likability to make you understand why Paper Boi would even follow him around in the first place.

*After looking through the online menu for Zaxby’s, I now have just as much desire to try their food as I do with the food from the deli over at Publix, which is supposed to be so damn good and absolutely on point. But seeing as how I live in New York instead of living down South, where Zaxby’s and Publix are located, those culinary curiosities are going to have to wait. (“Culinary curiosities?” Since when did I start talking like Boyd Crowder?)

On the bright side, and this would definitely be of very little comfort to Paper Boi, at least he didn’t end up needing to come here for his haircut, because he definitely would’ve ended up even more pissed than he was already:

This episode of Atlanta has been brought to you by “It Was A Good Day” by Ice Cube:

Brian Richards is a Staff Contributor. You can follow him on Twitter.