Atlanta: Season 4/ Episode 5 “Work Ethic!” – Recap/ Review (with Spoilers)

Can you really be a show that focuses on Atlanta, and Black culture, without bringing up Tyler Perry?


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Kirkland Chocolate (Donald Glover), a Tyler Perry type

Can you really be a show that focuses on Atlanta, and Black culture, without bringing up Tyler Perry?

Aired (FX) 10/6/2022
Director(s) Donald Glover
Writer(s) Janine Nabers
Introduced This Episode
Kirkland Chocolate Donald Glover
Lottie Austin Elle Fisher

This content contains pertinent spoilers.

Summary

For some extra money, Van takes her friend up on an opportunity to do a bit part at Chocolate Studios, run by Kirkwood Chocolate. Lottie comes along because Van wants her daughter to see her work, and while things start off good, then it gets weird.

How? Van is working, doing her thing, and when an actor says the wrong thing to Van, Lottie tells him to shut up. With that, Van quickly tries to explain this is pretending, but the omnipresent Mr. Chocolate sees and hears what is going on and decides he wants Lottie in the scene.

This begins Lottie’s career as she is taken to set to set, with Van rarely knowing where her child is, and unbeknownst to Van, she finds herself in a Chocolate Studios production. Note, not on camera. But her storyline in this episode is proof that, while she may not like Mr. Chocolate’s output and may find it unrelatable, it’s only because she refuses to acknowledge she falls into the trappings Mr. Chocolate has built an empire on.

Lottie (Austin Elle Fisher) sad that she won't get to star in her own television show
“Lottie (Austin Elle Fisher) sad that she won’t get to star in her own television show,” Atlanta, “Work Ethic!,” directed by Donald Glover, 2022, (FX)

But, even with that acknowledgment, Van doesn’t appreciate or like the idea of Lottie getting sucked up into Mr. Chcolate’s machine, especially since he seems to barely be in control of it anymore. So despite Lottie’s protests, she takes her home, and thankfully, Lottie’s attitude about it fizzles once Van explains why she did what she did.

Things To Note

Question(s) Left Unanswered

  1. While surely a self-contained episode, there is still a need to ask if any of the work Lottie did is going to come out in the “Atlanta” universe?
  2. Who is Van’s connect that got her a role?
  3. So Earn, and Van aren’t back together then, or are they in some kind of talking stage? I thought they reconciled?

What Could Happen Next

  1. Likely not seeing Van for two or three episodes

Review


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Highlights

Critical, But Fair, Depiction of Tyler Perry and His Media Empire

Is “Work Ethic!” a dig at Tyler Perry? Absolutely. From noting how he can film so quickly, noting his control over everything, and poking at the quality of his scripts and wigs, it’s all there. But, on the flip side, it shows all the Black people Tyler Perry likely does give jobs and experience to. It reminds you that, while many of his films can seem over the top, unrelatable, and things of that nature, it isn’t like he makes productions for everyone. He has a set audience he seeks to appeal to, and if others decide they like it too, excellent. If not, why should he care?

On top of that, there was the excellent question, which wasn’t explored much, of the value of Black award shows. There is just so much covered, including the exploitation of child actors and how their parents are part of that. Never mind colorism in the industry, even when those behind the project are Black. Thus making this the kind of episode only “Atlanta” could make. Something biting but not cruel, and likely the type of thing you won’t ever see done in such a way again – for better or worse.

[ninja_tables id=”65257″]

Kirkland Chocolate (Donald Glover), a Tyler Perry type
Atlanta: Season 4/ Episode 5 “Work Ethic!” – Recap/ Review (with Spoilers)
Overall
With Glover and his team poking fun at Tyler Perry, we get a critical but kind take on the mogul.
Highlights
Critical, But Fair, Depiction of Tyler Perry and His Media Empire
Disputable
83

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