You've seen this "a star is born" setup before, but this drama makes it fresh with terrific, appealing actors and smart, funny dialogue that makes even hackneyed scenes seem new. When Earn offers to manage Paper Boi, his cousin chides him for excessive ambition: "Ain't you homeless?" "Not real homeless," Earn snaps back. "I'm not using a rat as a phone or anything." "That makes you schizophrenic, not homeless," Paper Boi points out. The whole show is full of lines like that -- sharp enough to make you smile, realistic enough that it sounds like real people talking to each other.
Glover, as Community watchers already know, is a tremendously magnetic actor, though even his fans may be surprised by how deftly he moves from humor to pathos, particularly in scenes with his ex, Van (Zazie Beetz), whom he watches longingly as she moves on with her life, aware that she had good reasons to leave him and that he hasn't always been a great guy. He has disappointed those who love him. This time, though, it's going to be different -- he hopes. And we hope, too, even though it's unclear if Paper Boi is a solid foundation on which to build his house. It doesn't take more than one episode to get sucked into Earn's quest -- even if the premise isn't new.