‘Dave’ Summary & Review – Not a White Version of ‘Atlanta’


David Andrew Burd might be absurd nomenclature for an aspiring American rapper. So we have Lil Dicky in the house. After garnering success as a mainstream rapper and having collaborative projects with the likes of Tyga, Kanye West, and even Leonardo Dicaprio, FX’s latest comedy series explores the autobiographical life of an upcoming rapper Dave.

The journey of being a renowned rapper while enduring the highs and lows of the music industry is the basic premise. It provided a humorous perspective to breathe, self-aware of the gravity of the emotions that guide the story. Subtle indifference that underlines the various insecurities we all possess as humans is precisely portrayed by Dave’s various everyday problems while his alter-ego Lil Dicky is in a totally different headspace. It made me recall another FX’s comedy project Atlanta starring Donald Glover, quite similar to the premise. Still, everything else is quite different and in all the good sense possible.

Not a White Version of ‘Atlanta’

It isn’t very pleasant to talk about but let’s take those woke intellectuals out of the room for a minute. Dave and Atlanta might share the premise, but it has different social connotations based on their respective lives. It isn’t new in Hollywood that a premise if done from a different perspective, is labeled as “inspired” or quite rudely as a “white version” of something. Dave and Atlanta part ways from being similar with their different creative views stemming from their respective backgrounds. Donald Glover, a.k.a childish Gambino, is an artist with multiple platinum records with a strong cinema background. It transpires in his show, while Dave or Lil Dicky is someone we might know who is gaining experience in the business along with the show and its viewers. Dave’s story isn’t possible without Dave rising above his internet clout while showing the various imperfections he overcame every day.

Atlanta and its characters have a narrative that is quite driven to the needs of the story. In contrast, Dave has a character-based approach where the story progresses to meet the various emotional aspects of the characters. Gata and Dave have a friendship capable of understanding the responsibility they have when they want to show how mental health problems affect the ones around us. It provides avenues for the characters to venture into various problems that are very hard to translate to screen without being overdramatized. Both the shows are aware of their casting choices and the screen time given to them. While Dave has a more comprehensive approach, with Lil Dicky getting enough screen time to develop its arch to the fullest. Atlanta could allocate the time to other characters, given the astronomical success of Donald Glover and the show being away from an autobiographical take.

It’s been a long time.

FX’s Dave is a breath of fresh air when it comes to executing a well-rounded comedy show. It has all the tropes of a “successful” comedy show, immaculate timing, strong narratives, and appropriate casting, which is an IRL friendship between Dave and his Hype Man Gata. Dave as a person is inexperienced with filmmaking which he never tries to deny or hide. This allows Dave, the show, to be more realistic with its perspectives. Ordinary people have ordinary lives on the outside; it is when you look closely you figure out that they are worlds apart. Relationship problems that we see in the show are relatable and believable. Nothing seems erratic or out of place. It is well-grounded to showcase the emotions without being emotional with the scenes. Dave is innately a funny human being. His perspectives are quite easy to grasp as they stem from the society we live in. For instance, Dave isn’t a suave rapper who kills it in the bed. He is a guy who is quite shy of his physical prowess.

The lyrical content that Dave brings to the table is quite funny and shows the wide range of his talents. With a plethora of shows being made to create a character that isn’t flawed, it feels good to see a character that grows with the show. It is like the subtle difference in expectations you have from Sheldon Cooper to Young Sheldon. The original Sheldon is the know-it-all evil genius. In contrast, the Young Sheldon banks only upon the know-it-all side as the evil side couldn’t be explored with the innocent youth premise.

‘Dave’ Season 2 – Rising Above the Ranks

Suppose a show opens up to 9.0 ratings, and after two seasons, it averages something around 8.5 ballparks. In that case, statistically, it’s a good show. But a show with much more humble beginnings manages to be funny after two seasons while steadily climbing the ranks to reach the top is something worth investing time in. Dave has earned its keep. Story arcs created by the show are pieced carefully to create a season finale for Dave that substantiates the praises garnered by the show. Without spoiling anything, it is a roller-coaster of emotions as we approach the second season’s finale.

Jeff Schaffer’s experiments with the characters have given forth two hilarious seasons of Dave. FX has not yet renewed or canceled the show. Given the response to the final episode, next season is just a matter of time. The critics didn’t have anything bad about Dave other than humor being too childish sometimes. Personally, it didn’t happen to me as the performances made the execution too humourous, however childish, precise, and accurate.

Dave is a Musical Comedy Television Series created by Dave Burd and Jeff Schaffer. The series is developed for FX.

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Shreshtha Shukla
Shreshtha Shukla
"Thou art the suffering from which unwarranted melancholia emerges" Shreshtha Shukla is a writer, teacher, and a film enthusiast.

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