Atlanta Review: “FUBU”
Atlanta’s back this week with another new episode that teaches us more about the characters we’ve grown to love. Written by Donald Glover’s brother Stephen Glover, “FUBU” is a look back in time that gives us a better idea of the evolution of Earn and Alfred’s relationship. As always, if you are not all caught up with Atlanta, know that there will be spoilers ahead.
“FUBU” centers around Earn in middle school trying to look fly and stunt on all of his classmates. While shopping at a thrift store with his mom, Earn spots a FUBU jersey in the clearance section. He successfully convinces his mom to buy it for him, exciting him at the prospect of all the fashion respect he’s about to get the next day. After making it to school, head held high with confidence, Earn finds out one of his classmates, Devin, also has a FUBU jersey on in the same color. This FUBU jersey, however, has a patch on it. The rest of the kids in the class pick up on this, and proceed to try and find out which jersey is the real one. Both Earn and Devin deny that their jerseys are fake in fear that if found out, they would become outcasts and be constantly bullied. Their fear is validated, as this kind of thing has happened before at this school, and the upperclassmen are ruthless. Earn is even asked on a date via note passing in class, on the one condition that his jersey has to be real because the girl asking him out wouldn’t date someone so broke.
With this premise, we are given a look into the nature of Earn and Alfred’s friendship. Earn and Devin are cornered by a few of their classmates who are desperate to get to the bottom of the FUBU jersey controversy. At this point, the whole school had caught wind of this, meaning that if Earn was found out for having a knock off FUBU from Marshalls, he would be tormented till the day he graduated. The kids teasing Earn and Devin come to the conclusion that Earn’s jersey is indeed the fake one, gearing up for the roast of a lifetime. Before this happens, Alfred steps in to save the day. At this point in their lives, Alfred was much more popular and respected amongst the school than Earn was, so his word meant more. Alfred tells the boys bullying Earn that Devin’s jersey is the fake one, moving the torment over to him. This shows that even when they were kids, Earn and Alfred had a pretty strong relationship. Alfred would stick up for Earn when he needed it. Earn is relieved at the idea of avoiding an endless barrage of bullying, even if it’s at the cost of Devin’s social status. The next day, however, it is revealed that Devin committed suicide, presumably due to the outcome of the jersey debate. While Earn was happy to have escaped the torment, he had no idea that it would end like this. Once back at home, Earn sits with Alfred on the couch, who doesn’t seem phased by the news about Devin in the slightest. Even though Alfred is the one who shifted the bullying, Devin’s suicide doesn’t seem to bother him like it does Earn. This episode showed us both the bond Earn and Alfred had and how different their characters are.
This episode follows the fallout Earn and Alfred had in the previous episode, where Alfred confronted Earn about his lack of management skill and decides to get representation from Clark County’s manager. The placement of this episode was no accident, as it gives much more weight to the outcome of the previous episode. Earn and Alfred are family, and while they haven’t always been the closest, they still stick with each other and help one another. This begs the question of what Earn and Alfred’s relationship will be like after Paper Boi finds new management. Will Earn still stick around even if he is officially dropped? How will Earn make money? There’s only one episode left in “Robbin Season” and some important arcs need closure for the season. No matter what happens in the last episode, the fact will still remain that Atlanta is one of the best shows on TV. Make sure to check back next week for the recap/discussion of Atlanta “Robbin Season’s” finale.
Zach Hall is a junior majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.