Donald Glover is a man of many hats, some of them more silly than others. He has worked as a stand-up comedian, a writer, an actor, and a rapper (under the stage name Childish Gambino). Now, Glover is planning to add show-runner to his resume with his new FX series “Atlanta”.
The Los Angeles Times was at yesterday’s Television Critics Association Press Tour, where Glover was promoting his new show. “Atlanta” is a semi-autobiographical dramedy that follows two cousins trying to make it in the eponymous city’s rap scene.
Glover, who is originally from Atlanta, explained the main driving force behind the series: “The thesis with the show was kind of to show people how it felt to be black, and you can’t really write that down. You kind of have to feel it. So the tonal aspect was really important to me.”
Expanding on the tone of the series, he explained that the show will occasionally feature more abstract and surreal elements, in spite of the grounded setting of a real world city. “There really isn’t a limit, I feel like, to how abstract you can get as long as you believe it” he said. “There has to be some sort of grounded nature to something[…] If you have something that is grounded on some level, you can go anywhere.”
Glover is aware that “Atlanta”s darker, more surrealist moments may alienate some viewers, especially fans of his goofier work on “Community”, but he sees that as something that works for the show. “Some [viewers] will be like, ‘I hate this thing. I don’t get him.’ That happens a lot. People are always like, ‘I don’t get this guy. I don’t understand him.’ I think that’s really good actually”.
“Atlanta” wasn’t the only topic of the press tour, as inevitably many people wanted to know why Glover didn’t return to “Community” for the series finale. He explained that while he did have a great time working on the show, he “just like[s] endings”. He continued, saying “I think everything should have death clauses in them[…]It’s important that things end. I’m glad things end because it forces things to progress. I get really frustrated in the world that things could be better but can’t be better because they haven’t died yet”.
He also said that “Community” creator Dan Harmon was behind his decision to leave the show, because Harmon “likes endings too”.
Glover is probably more focused on beginnings these days, with “Atlanta” premiering September 6th on FX.