A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
Characters show impressive problem-solving skills, figuring out ways to get around unfair systems and become a success. However, their moves are not always ethical.
The seedy side of the music business is exposed: Earn pays $500 to get his cousin's record played on a radio show. But family bonds are strong and parents are present, supportive, and responsible.
Positive Role Models
Earn is a striver who's made mistakes; even his own parents won't let him live with them. But he hustles diligently in hopes of gaining success and getting his wife and daughter back.
Violence & Scariness
Men brandish guns over perceived insults; one shoots another point-blank; a man who answers a door points a gun at the stranger he finds there.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
A couple kisses in bed; scantily clad women gyrate in hip-hop videos as men discuss and rate their body parts; women are ogled; discussion of "smashing" and other sexual references.
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Frequent cursing: "s--t," "ass," "goddammit," "bitch" (aimed at a female character); racial language used as a term of endearment and in anger (the "N" word); vulgar language about what a character left in a toilet.
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Products & Purchases
Real celebrities and historical personages are mentioned: Malcolm X, Martin Luther King Jr., Flo Rida.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Characters frequently roll and then smoke (marijuana-filled) blunts and drink on-screen; mentions of getting or being high. No negative consequences shown.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Atlanta is a drama about a young man trying to make it as a music promoter in Atlanta, Georgia. The show is set in a gritty milieu in which men threaten each other with guns and shoot each other at point-blank range over perceived insults, women are ogled and their body parts rated, and characters roll and smoke marijuana-filled blunts. Cursing includes "s--t," "ass," and "bitch," aimed at female characters. Frequent use of the "N" word as an insult or affectionately; the use of the word by white characters is questioned. Parents are present and responsible, and characters are flawed but realistic and seeking redemption.
Is It Any Good?
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.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.