Donald Glover Reveals 'Atlanta's' Surprising Season 2 Inspiration
By Philiana Ng
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Atlanta burst onto the television scene in 2016, captivating audiences and winning awards left and right. So how do you top that in season two? If Donald Glover has anything to say about it: Tiny Toon Adventures. Seriously.
The Emmy-winning co-creator and star revealed that he was largely inspired by the 1992 direct-to-video animated film, Tiny Toon Adventures: How I Spent My Vacation, which followed the younger versions of the iconic Looney Tunes characters during their summer vacation from school. It later aired on TV as four separate episodes.
“In the writers’ room, we talked about [How I Spent My Vacation] by Tiny Toons. That was the inspiration for season two,” Donald revealed at FX’s Television Critics Association press tour on Friday to laughter, adding at one point that it was one of his favorite childhood TV shows.
Added executive producer and writer Stephen Glover: “We kind of took that idea of a whole story, but being told in a bunch of different parts that could maybe seem like they’re their own thing but they all are one.” “You enjoy them more when they're together, but you can also enjoy them in bits,” Donald said.
The Atlanta team insisted that they didn’t rely on what worked successfully in season one in planning out the upcoming episodes, which they're calling Atlanta Robbin' Season.
“We didn’t really look back at season one for inspiration as much. I feel like if you do that as a producer of television, you tend to be risk averse, which I think is bad for art,” Donald said. “What are the things that will make people happy? We just tried to be ourselves.”
Producer and director Hiro Murai pointed to the season’s unique title as a palette cleanser of sorts. “The title is setting up the audience to approach the show differently,” he said, adding that season two is much more “cohesive.” “Season two, we have a general idea of how we wanted the season to feel like. We picked a lane a little bit more.”
So what is “robbin’ season” actually referring to?
“It’s a time in Atlanta, before Christmastime and New Year’s. Basically a bunch of crime happens in the city during that time,” Stephen said. “People have to give Christmas gifts and people add stuff and you need money, so it’s a time when robbery goes up. You might get your package stolen from your door. When we were there shooting the season, my neighbor got her car stolen. It’s an intense and desperate time.”
“We wanted to make that the backdrop to the season and our characters are going through that same desperate time of transition from their old lives to where they’re headed now,” he continued. “Robbin’ Season is a metaphor.”
Atlanta returns Thursday, March 1 at 10 p.m. ET/PT on FX.