THE STORY SO FAR:
Bitch, I need reparations
Niggas tired of dancing like The Temptations
Sell a dime bag or that new crack, Fentanyl
The same reason Prince killed
My dick is like a tree trunk
Baby, catch this tree sap
Kicked you out the condo
This ain’t the place you sleep at
Baby, slide on the dick
You can do it all night
You can be my baby mama, but you can’t ever be my wife
Said no to college, ‘cause it’s no fun
Mo’ drugs and mo’ guns
But I still might have to slap a trick
Shout-out to Colin Kaepernick
Apparently, these are the lyrics that caused lilysmom_11, mother to her ten-year-old daughter Destiny (which surprisingly, according to the closed captions isn’t spelled Destinee or Destineigh) that caused both of them to become tearful and upset after coming across this song while listening to the radio, and to use her weaponized White Tears to express how upsetting all of this was on Instagram or Snapchat or whatever social-media platform it was that I have little to no familiarity with. (lilymom_11’s best friend, who lives across the street and was probably busy complaining on Twitter about Nickelodeon delaying their programming in order to honor all of the students walking out of their schools to protest and speak out against gun violence and how this had upset both her and her children, had no comment).
This controversy, however, did the complete opposite of what was intended and has only Paper Boi’s newest track even more popular and increased how many times it is being streamed on numerous platforms, which is why we see Earn, Paper Boi, and Darius celebrating at a local bar with several (free) shots of top-shelf liquor (you know, despite Earn once proclaiming not too long ago how much he hates shots). The bartender is more than willing to hook them up with these free shots, so long as Paper Boi is willing to do what he can to hook him up in the music business and put him on. (Earn’s attempts to get him to back off and leave them be only results in the bartender telling him to shut the fuck up). All of this just reminds Paper Boi how much he hates getting recognized in public and having to deal with interactions such as these and also reminds Earl how determined he is to be the one who is stunting on everyone and not being the one who gets stunted on. Darius, on the other hand, is getting in touch with his inner Dr. Manhattan and expressing how he is just feeling everything all at once. Which is…(Kanye-shrug)…at least he’s channeling that part of Dr. Manhattan instead of the one where he is walking around naked all of the damn time.
Earn, as part of his new “stuntin’ on everyone instead of everyone stuntin’ on him” lifestyle, decides to take the royalty checks that he receives from Paper Boi’s track being streamed and go out to celebrate this recent success with a night out with Van (Yes, everyone, Van does finally appear in this episode and her presence is most welcome), which should help her feel better after having to deal with one of her friends getting VIP tickets to go see Beyoncé without her. Even though we all should know by now that when it comes to seeing Beyoncé in concert, getting those tickets is like Battle Royale, in that it’s every damn person for themselves. I wouldn’t know this, as I haven’t robbed any casinos alongside Ocean’s Eleven recently, so me seeing Beyoncé live in concert is about as likely as me traveling back in time to go see Hamilton with its original cast.
Earn and Van head to their friendly neighborhood Not-Alamo Drafthouse which is fancy enough to not only allow dining and drinking during the movie, but also allows people to upgrade to VIP tickets. (And also where hopefully, the theater owners aren’t sweeping sexual assault cases under the rug or secretly employing people who have been accused of and fired for sexual assault) They ask for two tickets to the newest Fast & Furious movie, and when Earn pays for their tickets with a $100 bill, the woman working the ticket booth tells them they don’t take bills that large. Earn decides to pay via debit card instead, only for the ticket-booth woman to inform him that she’ll need to make a copy of both his debit card and his driver’s license, which is now a policy by the theater. Earn doesn’t feel comfortable about any of this, so as he and Van step off of the line to discuss this, the (White male) person behind them purchases his ticket. With a $100 bill. And without having to show any ID whatsoever. As Earn walks up to the man to calmly discuss the matter with him, the White man wordlessly opens his jacket and shows him the holstered pistol that he has strapped to his hip, which results in Earn and Van heading straight to the exit. I could easily say that he’s a cop or a Federal agent, but I’ll just go with “White man who is just waiting for the right moment to prove himself to the NRA and be a Good Guy With A Gun who stops a Bad Guy With A Gun.”
Meanwhile, Paper Boi and Darius are hanging out in a recording studio with rapper Clark County and his entourage. The computer program that the studio engineer is using to record Clark County’s freestyles (which include him talking about buying himself a dinosaur like Nicolas Cage, which sounds exactly like the sort of thing Nicolas Cage would do with his money) is crashing more than Limewire, which causes Clark County to drop his laid-back and charming demeanor and become a lot more threatening and antagonistic towards the clearly-scared-shitless engineer as he attempts to repair the damage. Paper Boi, on the other hand, is simply lying back and watching all of this with an express on his face as if Clark County could go full Negan on the engineer at any given moment.
Earn and Van have made their way from the Not-Alamo Drafthouse to a nearby hookah bar where Earn uses his $100 bill to pay the admission fee for himself since ladies get in for free. (Still doesn’t keep him from getting patted down by security). And yet, once the two of them are seated inside, they are then approached by two police officers, who accuse them of using a counterfeit $100 bill as payment, even though it’s clearly not counterfeit. Earn is explaining to the owner that his money is real and that this is all bullshit, but the owner won’t believe him and insists that Earn still pay for getting into the bar even though he’s about to leave. And once they do, one of the police officers tells him that he knows that the $100 bill is real, just that the owner was trippin’ and being an asshole. Earn and Van, who are getting fed the fuck up over how this night is going, decide that there is only one thing to do that will fix all of this: call Paper Boi and Darius to join them at a strip club, where they definitely won’t refuse $100 bills. But before Paper Boi and Darius can join Earn and Van for that…
…they are still hanging out with Clark County and his crew, and as they are laughing it up and having a good time, that good time is brought to a screeching halt when the engineer informs Clark County that the recording program on the computers crashed once again and didn’t record the additional lyrics from his earlier freestyling. (Which probably involved getting a gigantic penny and keeping it on display at his house like Batman, but I’m just guessing) Instead of going after the engineer with more threats, Clark County decides to get up and go for a walk. His entourage, on the other hand, step up to Paper Boi and Darius and tell them both that they should go home. Like, right the fuck now.
Paper Boi and Darius, who recognize that all of this is like hanging out at your friend’s house and being forced to leave much sooner than expected because said friend did something stupid that’s about to result in Mom or Dad beating his or her ass, clearly don’t need to be told twice and they grab all of their shit and go, while making sure not to slip and fall on the pools of sweat that have begun appearing on the floor from the studio engineer’s seat. As to the fate of that studio engineer…well, much like watching Mulholland Drive for the first time ever, you’ll just have to figure that shit out for yourself.
Fast-forward to Earn, Van, Paper Boi, Darius (and even Tracy) meeting up (in a stretch limousine!) and hanging out at the strip club together. Where the loud and incredibly nosy DJ seems to think that Van is a White woman dressed like Annie Hall. And where said DJ also thinks that Earn needs to take his $100 bill-which-is-now-a-stack-of-singles and tip the dancers a lot more money, and also where you will get charged for the bottle service that automatically comes with your table when you’re not being charged full price for three-second lap dances. Earn is actually shocked and upset by all of this, until Paper Boi and Darius explain to him that getting you to leave with your money spent and your pockets empty is exactly what strip clubs were created for. Paper Boi also explains to Earn that if you’re going to go out and ball hard like using actual $100 bills for your transactions, you have to look the part and be the part and have a lot more confidence in how you make people see you, otherwise you will get harassed and questioned and treated like shit by people who should be treating you exactly the opposite. That, and you also have to remember that being a Black man, and one who wears vintage Coca-Cola T-shirts, going around with $100 bills to spend will experience a lot more difficulty than any White man who does the same.
As the evening comes to a close, Earn and Van exit the strip bar and see a large crowd outside in the parking lot. And the reason for this large crowd is … Michael Vick (yes, that Michael Vick) is challenging drunk people leaving the strip club to foot races. Just for fun and for the hell of it. So far, he’s beaten every competitor in the last ten minutes. Earn, who decides once and for all, that he’s the one who will be doing the stunting and decides to challenge Michael Vick, highly-skilled pro athlete Michael Vick, to a foot race. Mostly because he thinks he has the advantage over someone who has been running in the parking lot constantly for the last ten minutes. And as Earn and Vick line up and glance in each other’s direction, the countdown begins… they both get ready … and Earn takes off like a shot.
And it looks like Earn will be victorious and end this night being the stunter and not the stuntee. That things will finally go his way and he’ll finally be able to kick the football out of Lucy’s hand.
But if the looks of disappointment and disbelief on Earn and Van’s faces as they ride back home in the limo isn’t enough to clue us all in as to who was the victor in the foot race, Van just looks at Earn with a “Seriously, dude, what the hell were you thinking?!” look on her face and simply says, “It’s Michael Vick.”
ANY CAMEOS FROM THE CAST OF COMMUNITY?: No. Still crossing fingers and lighting all of the sage and incense hoping that Danny Pudi will eventually show up.
HOW MANY F-BOMBS WERE THERE IN THIS EPISODE?: Plenty.
ANY CAMEOS FROM THE CAST OF SOLO: A STAR WARS STORY?: None
ANY ALIENS AT LEAST?: I’m sure there was at least one alien in the parking lot observing all of the drunk races against Michael Vick for shits and giggles, but that alien was most likely keeping a very low profile.
TO SUM IT ALL UP: Another terrific and hilarious episode which has you spending just as much time laughing as you do shaking your head, particularly at Earn and his misadventures which make this feel like a live-action version of The Life And Times Of Tim, and also at Paper Boi and Darius waiting for Clark County to pop off and become violent at any given moment as if he’s Dylan and he’s about to choke out Wyclef Jean.
And for the love of Queen Latifah, don’t ever think that you can just walk off the street and beat a pro athlete at any physical activity. (Unless it’s a free-throw contest against Shaquille O’Neal, in which case, knock yourself out). You’ll only embarrass yourself and end up wanting to disappear into the bushes like Homer Simpson.
This episode of Atlanta was brought to you by “Superstar” by Lauryn Hill:
And by “Stuntin’ Like My Daddy” by Birdman and Lil Wayne: