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As the season progressed, we realized that Earn secretly wanted one thing very badly: a place to stay. In the final minute of the last episode, we see him for the first time in his only actual home—a cot in a storage unit. But as I watched it more it began to reveal itself to me. Watching it felt luxurious. The seventh episode, written and directed by Glover, broke format completely.

The only familiar character was Paper Boi, who appeared as a panelist discussing trans issues. But I came to understand that he had a larger structure in mind than any of us knew. Donald and his collaborators are making an existential comedy about the African-American experience, and they are not translating it for white audiences. I surprised them up front by telling them I wanted to make them money. Fuck them! The shades were drawn and there was no apparent pulse of life.

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Finally, Glover cracked the door, blinking. The house felt like an encampment: a stroller thrust aside, boxes stacked by the door. Glover was wearing a white T-shirt and a brown wool cape and pants, like an off-duty ringmaster. Growing up, Donald was light-skinned and sunny, and his friends were the white kids at his school for the performing arts; Stephen was darker-skinned and stoic, and his friends were the bused-in black kids at his school, which was not for the performing arts. I have to rap!

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It made me super-black. As the brothers grew up in Stone Mountain, just east of Atlanta, they came to share an understanding that life was a bad dream and that laughter was a way to wake yourself up.

After they had Donald and Stephen, the couple took in numerous foster children and adopted two of them: some of the children had been molested, some had parents who were murdered, some would die. That still feels like a family tragedy. They believed that Satan controls life on earth, that only a hundred and forty-four thousand anointed Christians will be saved to Heaven with Jesus, and that we are living out the last days before Armageddon.

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Beverly Glover forbade all television but PBS—animal shows and slavery documentaries. Donald, Sr. Glover announced early on that he wanted to attend N.

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When Nintendo 64 came out, in , his mother declared it too expensive. Glover hugged him and fell backward. But it was also exhilarating. So I went home and shot baskets in our driveway for six hours, until my mother called me in. And I realized my superpower. I learn how Marvel movies work, how to handle guest stars, how to make execs happy when they come on set. I gain some of your power.

I was only worried how people might take it, that I was just coming in as the creator and assuming I could be a director. And then he won an Emmy! Probably just people. I feel like Jesus. I do feel chosen. Glover had a nearly wordless exchange with her that conveyed concern for her health, the duty to remain with me, and a curiosity about dinner. He stretched his legs, wincing.

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Do you look up to anyone? Elon is working on ways for storytelling not to be the best way of spreading information. Amy Seimetz studied the playback of a Fastnacht scene and cracked up. Seimetz motioned Glover over to the monitor to watch, and he cracked up, too. Wearing the mask pushed up on his forehead, Glover wandered into the parking lot outside the set, a Moose Lodge in Griffin, Georgia, an hour south of Atlanta.

It was a balmy evening, near sunset, and Seimetz was going to shoot the final scene for another episode across the road. On African-American shows, racial anxiety often gets dramatized as a special episode about the N-word. Only in a world run by white people would that happen. It was now dusk, which was doubling for dawn. Glover looked on, watching for a certain ludic intensity, one hard to choreograph but easy to see. But every episode has that moment. For me, it was the Bostrom guy.

Glover and his staff write toward hypnotic images that encapsulate the resulting chaos: a black schoolchild in whiteface, cops swarming an Uber driver and shooting him dead, an invisible car that blasts through a clump of bystanders outside a club. This sensibility is singular yet recognizable.

When shit is actually going on, no one knows what the fuck is happening. Glover once told me that he found Hansel and Gretel hilarious. While at N.

Owen Burke, the artistic director of U. In , when he was twenty-three and still living in an N. He pitched for Kenneth. After three years, having learned how to punch up scripts and manage writers and actors, he quit. And morning passes into a thing it might not recognize by afternoon.

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This who, this what. This art of suspension. Every dream for days you nightmare that. Saying or not saying. Then wake to lights, the other pretenders on stage bowing, happy enough. To wonder for the first time as I write it. And elegant is good. And story. And edgy half-uttered in fragments is good. Always that sense of the dead overhearing.

Because it is a garden.


You walk and walk and twilight now, its darker half half-floats a yellow still visible in high spiky things. Begging bowl, ask until asking is a stain. Am I poised at an angle? Am I listening? Old photographs, children a century ago who never thought to leave still busy fading into sepia, making houses in the yard out of porch chairs tipped over, and sheets. Their worn shirts, their hair every which way. Someone loved them. She raised a camera. Or that maybe the virtual bombardier is weeping at night and feels bad about it.

Confusion as part, part coward, part crash burning to quiet there. The turn was: I want I want alights on oblivious, mouth-sized. A thing with wings taking aim.

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