Donald Glover — co-creator of the next Mr and Mrs Smith series and co-star on Community (considered one of the best comedies on Netflix) – is best known for his surreal comedy series on FX called Atlanta. After a long hiatus and several awards, the series recently returned to television. One of the most memorable episodes is season 2, episode 6, “Teddy Perkins”, in which Darius goes to a recluse to collect a free piano. The race turns into a much more complicated ordeal when the owner of the piano turns out to be a psychopath.
Darius turned out to be one of Atlantathe funniest characters. He is often quiet, but when he speaks, the things he says seem to come out of left field. This usually provides comic relief to more tense scenes, and this aspect works well in this episode as it uses humor to deflect awkwardness and tension. Not only is Teddy’s appearance shocking when first met, but his demeanor slowly changes from off-putting to menacing. At every turn, Darius encounters these extremely sinister interactions with realistic and fun responses.
Atlanta does an amazing job of adding humor to sometimes dark real-life situations for the characters, similar to how The stall the creators wanted to sprinkle humor on the intense true story of Elizabeth Holmes. Although “Teddy Perkins” has some real scary moments, the overall tone leaned more towards dark humor as most of the laughs come from the awkward interactions between Darius and Teddy as well as the absurdity of the situation itself. same. Teddy’s behavior in the first half of the episode can only be called creepy, but eventually things get worse.
Darius comments on the tension when he calls Alfred and Earn on the phone. This phone call brings the show back to reality because the other main characters are doing what they normally do, and they even create some of the episode’s harshest laughs within minutes. The reason Darius stays is on top of his usual eccentricity – as he claims he can’t leave in case he regrets not having the piano. He has a strict “only two regrets” rule for his life, so he doesn’t want to waste them…even if the situation seems incredibly ominous and a bit scary.
“Teddy Perkins” really dives into dark comedy territory around the third act. Audiences have seen some moments of Teddy being stoically creepy and having intense emotional outbursts over small things, but it becomes apparent that Teddy is stalling and trying to keep Darius in the house. He plans to kill Darius and the hostage found trapped in the basement. This situation would be something one would consider a “regrettable moment”, which adds to the humor of the whole episode. Darius’ refusal to change his perspective leads him to this disastrous event that most would regret ever having experienced.
At the end of the episode, Teddy is killed by his hostage in a gruesome fight over control of a gun. Adding the murder to the already disturbing and chilling plot might have created a mixed response from audiences, as many dark comedies do. The Netflix movie Bargain also had an intense hostage situation with a gruesome and unexpected murder, making it dark comedy at its finest. The end of Atlanta leaves audiences scared and uneasy after witnessing such a terrifying moment for Darius. It takes the show into a whole new category of comedy, and it’s done exceptionally well.
To watch the new season of Atlanta, episodes are streaming now on Hulu.
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