TV

Everything We Know About "Atlanta" Seasons 3 and 4

One of the best shows on TV will return next year.

Donald Glover's surrealist masterpiece Atlanta is coming back.

But we'll just have to wait for it. Since Season 2 dropped in 2018, fans have been waiting with bated breath to hear when (or if) the show will return, and now we know that we're officially getting seasons 3 and 4.

There's a catch, though; the next two seasons won't drop until 2021. However, season 3 will be longer than the first two seasons, featuring ten episodes instead of eight. Even better, both seasons will be filmed at the same time, so the two will likely drop in rapid succession.

Billboard

"The plan is that one would air I think in January, so early next year. And then the other would air, I think, later that year, somewhere around the fall," said John Landgraff, the CEO of FX. "There'll be less than a year break between them."

As for the plot, apparently some of Atlanta's next installments might be taking place far outside the city that gives the show its name. Season 2 ended with Paper Boi receiving an offer from Clark County, a rapper who invited Alfred to tour with him, and it seems that the third season will pick up where the previous one left off, following Paper Boi and crew on a European tour.

This summer, Glover explained that the third season of Atlanta will be more accessible than the previous seasons. "I align the seasons I think, to me, like Kanye records," he stated. "I feel like this is our 'Graduation.' This is probably our most accessible but also the realest — an honest version of it — and I feel like the most enjoyable, like the third album."

This is Atlanta - How Donald Glover Creates Social Commentary www.youtube.com

The past eight episodes, which comprised "Atlanta Robbin' Season," were not exactly accessible. Featuring a horrifically beautiful sequence that starred Donald Glover as a reclusive murderer in whiteface, a bizarre party at Drake's house juxtaposed against a discussion of simulation theory, a stint in haunted woods, and many more labyrinthine misadventures, Atlanta season 2 set the bar stratospherically high. There are few shows that portray both absurdity and reality with such precision and elegance, and so even if we have to wait for the next season, whatever comes next will be worth the delay.

In the meantime, Glover—who writes, executive produces, directs, and stars in Atlanta—has had a busy few years, so he can be forgiven for the delay. He played Simba in The Lion King, released music that included the Grammy-winning single "This Is America," headlined Coachella, and even announced that he was joining the campaign of presidential candidate Andrew Yang as creative consultant. If anyone knows how to bend and shape media to his will, it's Glover, and so his endorsement could potentially have significant influence on the race.

Regardless, by the time 2021 rolls around, we'll have a new president—which could be good or bad—but either way, we know we'll be able to laugh, cry, cringe, and dance along to more Atlanta come the next New Year.

Childish Gambino - Paper Boi (Longer) www.youtube.com

Culture News

Is Carole Baskin Inheriting a Haunted "Indian" Burial Ground with Tiger King Zoo?

Current owner Jeff Lowe claims there are bodies, including "a young American Indian boy," buried on the property

It was recently reported that Carole Baskin had been awarded the property of the Tiger King Zoo—formerly the G.W. Zoo—in Wynnewood, Oklahoma after a judgment found in her favor.

As fans of the Netflix docuseries Tiger King will know, her long-standing legal feud with Joe Exotic (AKA Joseph Maldonado-Passage, né Shreibvogel) over his violation of the Big Cat Rescue trademark resulted in a million dollar settlement in her favor. But for the most part Exotic managed to dodge paying Baskin through a series of illegal property transfers that temporarily protected his animal park from seizure.

Now that Exotic is in prison for attempting to have Baskin murdered—along with illegal animal trafficking and several violations of the Endangered Species Act—a judge has finally ruled that the park is hers, and she will be taking over ownership of the 16-acre property later this year. But Jeff Lowe—the park's current owner and the personification of a mid-life crisis—insists that there are no hard feelings, saying, "She deserves this property."

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FILM

"Joker" Shows What's Wrong With the American Mental Healthcare System

The American Gotham mental healthcare system is thoroughly broken.

Warner Bros.

I need to get something off my chest: I loved Todd Phillips' Joker.

Normally when I review a movie, I try to approach it from as universal a perspective as possible. To do that, I try to factor in both my own enjoyment of a film and whether or not it succeeds at whatever it's trying to be. This means that different types of movies need to be approached through different lenses and with variable critical criteria. A good reviewer can judge an Oscar contender on the strength of its acting and dialogue and a Transformers movie on how well the robots smash together.

But ultimately, reviews always come down to the subjective perception of the reviewer. So for a movie like Joker, one that's controversial practically by design, let's not even pretend there's a veneer of objectivity. The vast variance in reviews, from a slew of perfect Metacritic scores to a slew of single stars, shows that this is a movie that hits people with different perspectives in very different ways. For me, as someone who has struggled my entire life managing my own mental illness, this was the baggage I brought into Joker.

Arthur Fleck Warner Bros.


Joker follows Arthur Fleck (Joaquin Phoenix giving an Oscar-worthy performance, but you already know that), a mentally ill man who lives with his mother in the poorest part of Gotham City. Arthur works as a party clown by day and dreams of being a stand-up comedian. Unfortunately, his neurological disorder results in severe depression, delusional episodes, and inappropriate fits of laughter, the latter of which make him a consistent target of derision and violence. He attempts to get help multiple times, attending weekly sessions with a social worker in order to get medical treatment, but the city cuts funding to social services, causing poor, mentally ill people like Arthur to fall through the cracks.

Freshly out of proper medication and facing increasingly brutal stressors in his life (his mother falling ill, getting fired from his job, gang beatings), Arthur finally snaps and murders three wealthy young white men after they beat him up on the train. His actions spawn anti-rich protests, with the impoverished people of Gotham viewing his murders as a symbol of the class divide. As Arthur descends deeper into his violent inclinations and revenge against those who wronged him, so too does the social unrest grow surrounding the blatant class divide.

Many of the movie's events are largely up to interpretation. Due to Arthur's delusions, it's hard to be sure what events (especially in the more violent second half of the movie) are occurring as we see them or are simply playing out in Arthur's head. This means that a lot of the movie's biggest questions never receive closure. For instance, we never actually learn whether or not Arthur killed Sophie (Zazie Beetz), the single mother in his apartment complex whom he obsesses over and holds the delusional belief that he's dating. We also can never be sure if the citizens of Gotham are actually rallying around his violence or if that's a fantasy he's drummed up as well.

Joker Warner Bros.


But all narrative obfuscation aside, the movie's main message seems crystal clear to me: Our society stigmatizes and fails mentally ill people, especially those who are also poor, on every conceivable level.

I know this firsthand. Trying to get even the most basic psychological assistance within the American healthcare system can be a devastating experience. People who need help to function through their daily lives are expected to expend great amounts of effort to track that help down, only to be told time and time again that it's a dead end. I can't even count the number of therapists I've called who don't take my insurance (even though they list it on their site) and would cost me hundreds of dollars I can't afford per session. Imagine going through this process thirty times during the darkest period of your life, when simply getting out of bed already drains all the energy you have for the day. This is the American mental health system in practice, and it's bad enough that whenever I hear about someone killing themselves due to mental illness, I totally get it.

Part of what makes Joker such an uncomfortable viewing experience is that the movie forces us to view Arthur's violent actions from a place of understanding. He's not doing what he's doing out of nowhere, for no reason. He's doing what he's doing because the social safety nets that he needed failed him at every step of the way. That's not to say that his actions were "right," but rather that they made perfect sense within the context of everything he had been through. It's a rare movie that portrays someone doing awful things without giving viewers the easy out of categorizing him as an outright villain.

Some viewers saw Joker as an incel power fantasy, but I strongly disagree. Even at his most "powerful," even at the peak of his televised vengeance against talk show host Murray Franklin (Robert De Niro) who made fun of him on national TV, Arthur is still pitiable. He's completely broken and considering the fact that this movie (despite being a one-off) exists within the larger DC mythos, we know that he's doomed to get beaten time and time again by Batman––a rich boy with all the resources Arthur never had.

It's not a power fantasy. It's not just "edgy." It's the truth. If we continue to ignore and stigmatize mental healthcare, people will continue to snap.

5/5