“My reaction [to the nomination] was weird -- I didn’t really have one,” he says. “I was like, ‘Wow, that’s cool.’ But everyone else freaked out. I got a million emails and calls. It took a while to settle in for me. It’s been a really crazy year, two years, just in terms of the success of the show. It’s been more than I expected and could have hoped for.”
Glover’s nominated episode, “Streets on Lock,” picks up immediately after the pilot, as Earn (Donald) and Paper Boi (Brian Tyree Henry) deal with the aftermath of a parking lot shooting. While Paper Boi has street cred throughout Atlanta after being released, Earn remains in jail and encounters a panoply of memorable characters who allow the episode to address issues like homophobia, transphobia, mental illness and police brutality with a mix of humor and pathos. “Those scenes resonated with me because they’re funny but because they’re also very true,” Glover says. “It’s a reality that’s kind of dark, but that’s how it really is.”
The clash of heightened surrealism and stark reality became a hallmark of the episodes that Glover penned -- for example, Justin Bieber being black in “Nobody Beats the Biebs” -- and of the show as a whole, an approach that felt natural in the writers’ room.