Atlanta Review: “Champagne Papi”
The newest episode of Atlanta, “Champagne Papi,” proves that the shows best moments are when it breaks away from overarching thematic storytelling. This time around, the episode centers on Van and her friends going to a New Year’s Eve party. Whether it be clever writing or thought-provoking social commentary, Atlanta continues to hold its place as one of the best shows on TV right now. As always, if you are not all caught up with Atlanta, proceed with caution, there will be spoilers ahead.
This week’s episode of Atlanta opens up with Van and her friends getting ready to attend a New Year’s Eve Party. However, this is no ordinary New Year’s Eve party. The host of the said party is none other than Champagne Papi himself, Drake. A goal of every member of Van’s group is to get a picture of the superstar in order to boost Instagram followers and stunt on all their friends. Van feels like she needs this kind of clout on her feed, especially considering the fact that she is still reeling from her and Earn’s fallout back in episode four. While all of her friends are chatting and having a good time, Van sees Earn on Instagram, having a good time with another girl. It’s apparent that Van feels some jealousy towards Earn, further motivating her to get a picture with Drake.
The party itself is the meat of the episode. One of Van’s friends dates the DJ of the party, getting them easy access. Every person in the party that is asked how they got invited responds with some form of knowing a friend of a friend. Right from the beginning, suspicions begin to arise of whether or not Drake is actually in attendance. The main focus once everyone is at the party is primarily Van. She is tasked with taking care of her friend, Nadine, who is extremely high after eating an edible gummy. Once Van loses Nadine, the rest of the house is up for exploration. Van is lead to a place where she can charge her phone by another person at the party. Brandon, the guy Van met, turns out to be a creep who also doesn’t know Drake directly or anyone at the party for that matter.
After escaping the conversation with Brandon, Van proceeds to continue her quest to find Drake and get a picture with him. This leads Van to a room with a man speaking frantic Spanish, trying to get his TV to work. After conversing with the man for a few minutes, Van comes to the realization that the man she had been speaking to must be Drake’s grandpa. After continuing her search to find Drake, Van finds a room filled with life-sized cardboard cutouts of Drake for girls to take selfies with, led by two girls taking money for it. This confirms that Drake is not actually at the party and that all the selfies seen with Drake that night were actually fake. After coming to this realization, Van decides to find Nadine and leave the party. Van finds Nadine out front of the party with Darius, who she had been having deep conversations with for the majority of the episode. Candice, Van’s friend who had transportation home, decided to go with her boyfriend to T-Pain’s New Year’s Eve party, leaving them with no choice but to walk home. As the sun begins to rise on their walk, Van has the realization that Drake is actually Mexican. The episode is capped off by a Spanish rendition of Drake’s song Hotline Bling. This subversion of expectations for real-life artists in the show is reminiscent of the first season, where Justin Bieber was actually black and had the voice of show creator Donald Glover.
The only thing in this episode that ties it together to the rest of the season is how Van feels about her and Earn’s breakup. While she might be jealous, Van is still attempting to find herself as an individual and prove that she doesn’t need a man in her life to be happy. Hopefully at some point in the rest of the season, we’ll see Van and Earn share some screen time and get some justification for their relationship status. Atlanta seems to be moving further away from clear overarching themes in favor of standalone episodes and is definitely benefiting from it. Check back each week to get your fix on everything Atlanta.
To read last week’s review of Atlanta, click here.
Zach Hall is a junior majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.