THE STORY SO FAR: Van and her friends Candice, Tammi, and Nadine get together for a girls’ night out together at Drake’s house in order to meet the man himself at a New Year’s Eve party being held there. It all goes exactly as well as you’d expect.
WHAT’S GOOD ABOUT THIS EPISODE: Van being determined to have a good time while ringing in the New Year no matter what, partly because she’s with her girls and also because she’s still moving on from Earn (and seeing him on Instagram getting his hair braided by another woman with a smile on his face doesn’t help). And also because it’s Drake and who doesn’t want to rub shoulders with a famous rapper to lift their spirits? Unfortunately, Van doesn’t ever get to cross paths with Drake (mainly because he’s on tour and because the whole point of the party was to pose with cardboard cutouts of Drake and make everyone on social media believe that it’s the real thing). We do get to see her wander around the entire mansion; raid Drake’s closet (which is where she finds his jacket from the “Hotline Bling” video and wears it happily for the rest of the evening); prevent Nadine from calling the cops as she reacts badly to a gummy-bear edible and freaks out as if she’s trapped in the home of Teddy Perkins; avoid a random dude at the party named Brandon who makes us fear for the worst as they wander off together, only to realize that he’s just unbelievably thirsty for female attention and is the type of guy who would buy a woman an appletini and feel entitled to her attention all night; and meet an older Latino gentleman in the basement who claims that he’s Drake’s grandfather. (Well, Justin Bieber is Black in this universe, so who knows what to expect regarding the Atlanta-verse version of Drake)
Tammi (who bears a strong resemblance to Erica Tazel from Justified and The Good Fight) going off on the White girlfriend of one of her favorite Black actors, Devyon Johnson, after seeing them together at the party, and telling her how disrespected she feels as a Black woman when she sees such interracial relationships on display and also when she does things like type “beautiful woman” into Google and sees the search results. (I did the same thing with that Google search as well, and as much as I don’t agree with her rant, her anger is very understandable) Granted, said White girlfriend tells Tammi that she’s with Devyon and that she’s with him because she truly loves him and cares about him and not for fetishistic or gold-digging purposes, but none of that makes Tammi any happier or calmer.
Of all the people to make an appearance at Drake’s house for his party, I was so happy to see Darius show up. After everything he saw him go through in “Teddy Perkins” last week, it was just great and also reassuring to see him again being his usual self and talking to Nadine by the swimming pool about Bostrom’s Singulation Argument (as one does when hanging out at a New Year’s Eve party) and not handcuffed to a chair about to get murdered.
(gasps) “Drake’s Mexican!”
WHAT’S NOT SO GOOD ABOUT THIS EPISODE: The worst thing I could say about this episode is that when your friend is drunk or high and tripping on something he or she has ingested, be a little more observant than Van and never leave your friend alone or let them out of your sight. Because they won’t always end up in the company of someone like Darius.
And then there’s the party van driver hitting on Van and her friends, an older Black man with little to no Act-Right who acts the same way that most older Black men with little to no Act-Right behave when in the presence of women they find attractive: “Y’all pretty! I’ma take y’all home with me! Just kidding!”
Van and her friends:
Other than that, I got nothing.
TO SUM IT ALL UP: After watching “Teddy Perkins” last week, I couldn’t help but fear and expect the very worst before sitting down to watch this week’s episode. Fortunately, “Champagne Papi” was much lighter and less disturbing in comparison, but no less enjoyable, and it was a terrific commentary on the extent that people are willing to go in order to have a good time, mainly so that they can have something to brag about it to their friends and followers on social media. (Even just the requirement of people needing to wear booties on their shoes to keep from scuffing the marble floors in the house was enough to make me shake my head)
But it could’ve been worse. At least Van wasn’t stuck in a pickup truck all day with Bibby.
This episode of Atlanta was brought to you by “Hotline Bling” by Erykah Badu:
And by the Spanish version of “Best I Ever Had” by De La Ghetto: