Donald Glover makes genre collisions look easy.
Sometimes the meshing of genres is an inevitable development of a show over time. It’s how Game of Thrones became much more military over the years and how Parks and Recreation abandoned much of its mockumentary trappings in favor of relatively straight-forward rom-com fun. A show that’s nailed its dual genres right out of the gate has been Donald Glover’s Atlanta.
Karsten Runquist’s video essay tackles dramedy with the case study of Atlanta’s first season. These episodes approach a serious story with humor inside of it, it’s story in its most real form because real life doesn’t fall into a genre.
By so actively balancing drama and comedy, Atlanta distances itself from genre as a concept and dives into realism. Runquist’s points about social commentary are not lost, but the closeness to deconstructed TV means these political statements are just as inherent as the humor and sadness.