‘Atlanta’ Season 2, Episode 6: Whatever Happened to Teddy Perkins? (Published 2018) (2023)


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‘Atlanta’ Season 2, Episode 6: Whatever Happened to Teddy Perkins? (Published 2018) (1)

By Leigh-Ann Jackson

Season 2, Episode 6, ‘Teddy Perkins’

It might be best for all parties concerned if Al, Earn and Darius go back to just getting high on the couch. Lately, whenever they’ve ventured out of their living room, disaster has followed.

What unfolds for Darius in this week’s extended episode is far more grim than the heartbreaks and headaches his friends have encountered recently. He embarks on one of his typically impulsive jaunts and ends up held captive in a Southern gothic nightmare.

The episode opens at a hardware store, where Darius asks the clerk for dehydrated mango, ginger or jicama to snack on. He’s packing up a U-Haul truck, cranking up some Stevie Wonder and hitting the road. A quirk fest seems imminent. It’s been a while since we’ve seen Darius indulge his eccentric side and, frankly, some whimsical moments are overdue this season.

From the moment he pulls up to a decaying, secluded mansion, though, it’s clear that whimsy is off the table. We get the classic “Don’t go in there!” setup, including an eerie voice croaking out of the security gate call-box, a large front door opening on its own and a dimly-lit, uninviting foyer. Then, Theodore Perkins emerges from the shadows and Darius should’ve fled the scene on sight.

(Video) Teddy Perkins Atlanta FX Explained, Teddy Was The Dad?

The creepy figure who goes by “Teddy” is an unapologetic spoof of pale, post-surgery Michael Jackson (judging by the voice, that seems to be Donald Glover beneath the unsettling prosthetic makeup and blue contact lenses).

Teddy explains that he’s the caretaker for his invalid brother, former piano virtuoso Benny Hope. Darius is there to pick up a free piano with multicolored keys that was listed online, but he was unaware of the instrument’s famous connection.

Intrigued, Darius peruses framed photos of dark-skinned Benny smiling alongside jazz and soul legends. To further solidify the Jackson parallels, Teddy says his brother developed a rare skin condition and can longer go out in the sunlight.

By now, Darius has concluded that Benny and Teddy are one and the same. But since he’s not one to shy away from waving his own freak flag, Darius is not entirely put off by this falsetto-voiced oddball.

Over the course of the 41-minute episode, there are warning signs galore. A significant number of viewers might have left immediately at the sight of Teddy sticking his hand into the liquid center of a soft-boiled ostrich egg. Still more would have sought the exit when he revealed that his butler intercom was, in fact, just a tape recorder to remind him of things like “Finish that hat for Dionne Warwick” and “Wash your hands … immediately.”

“I really, really want this piano, man,” Darius explains to Al over the phone. “You willing to die for it?” Al asks, trying to reason with him. “He sounds like a serial killer.”

The visit becomes about more than just the instrument. Darius is a man of principle: “If I leave, I’ll regret it. And I have a two-regret life limit pact,” he tells Al, pacing. “Somebody gotta take me out if I go over two.”

He re-enters the house after taking his breather on the patio and finds Teddy standing in a makeshift gift shop dedicated to all things Benny. The collection of T-shirts, tumblers and key chains is just a teaser to the main attraction. “I really think you’ll like what I have in store,” Teddy says, opening a pair of creaky double doors.

(Video) Atlanta | Season 2 Ep. 6: Teddy Perkins Preview | FX

“My father used to say ‘Great things come from great pain,’” he says, gesturing to a mannequin wearing a suit. Teddy has placed his stern taskmaster (and tormentor) on a literal pedestal and explains this room will be dedicated to “Great Fathers.” Here, writer Donald Glover pulls no punches in calling out famous dads whose goal-oriented parenting methods have raised eyebrows over the years. Joe Jackson is on the list, along with the fathers of Tiger Woods and Serena Williams, and even “the father that drops off Emilio Estevez in ‘The Breakfast Club.’” This twisted memorial is still not enough to dissuade Darius from his mission, and on he goes.

Regrets or no regrets, when he finally gets his hands on the piano and notices a drop of blood on one of the keys, you know it’s time he got out of there quickly, even if it is empty-handed. But as the tension builds, Darius wheels the piano into an elevator.

Teddy instructed him to meet him in the lobby, but when the camera pans over the button marked “B,” it’s clear Darius is doomed to land in the basement. “Fine, destiny,” he sighs, walking into the dark space filled with creaking pipes and a roaring furnace.

Earlier, Darius deduced that “Benny made up Teddy to make up for the fact that he made himself look like a ghoul.” The logic seemed sound, especially since there was no sign of another man in the house. When a masked figure in a wheelchair wearing a red smoking jacket like Teddy’s wordlessly wheels himself over to Darius, it’s reasonable to assume it is Teddy, and his games are getting increasingly warped. Using a chalkboard, the figure warns Darius that both their lives are in danger and tells him to find a gun in the attic.

Fed up at long last, Darius rolls his eyes and goes to leave with his piano, only to find his truck is now blocked in by a car. This is no longer just a creepy recluse toying with an unsuspecting guest.

The basement-dweller was right about the gun in the attic, only Teddy’s now pointing it at Darius on the second floor. He turns away from obsessively watching home movies of his childhood trauma to explain his deranged plan. Teddy’s going to frame Darius as a homicidal home invader, making him take the fall for Benny’s death. This is full-on “Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?” madness and we still don’t even have hard proof that there truly is a Benny. Until we do. And then, the whole macabre affair ends in abrupt tragedy.

(Video) The Untold Truth Of Teddy Perkins

Moments before the fraternal murder-suicide, Darius tried to soothe his deeply damaged captor. “Not all great things come from great pain. Sometimes, it’s love,” he said. But it was too little, too late. Ultimately, all he could do was bear witness to the dysfunctional brothers’ bloody end.

In the final scene, a Stevie track plays — this time, fittingly forlorn — as Darius watches the police wheel out one body-bag, then another and lastly, the prized piano.

If it wasn’t clear before this week, by now it should be crystal: “Atlanta” isn’t here to give you the kind of sitcom you might want. Donald Glover is here to deliver the kind of genre-defying vignettes he wants.

Frozen Moments in a Nightmare

• The writers love to reference “Get Out.” This week, when Teddy takes a surprise snapshot of Darius, he jumps and says, “I’m not a big photo person,” calling to mind the movie scene in which a camera flash causes Lakeith Stanfield’s sunken place character to freak out.

• Darius’s lock screen image proved divisive when we first saw it in February. Malcolm X, M.L.K. and Allen Iverson shooting dice while the Obamas, Oprah and others look on? That’s just the kind of defiant art you’d expect to appeal to a guy who altered his new “Southern Made” stars-and-bars trucker hat to read “U Mad.”

• There was no shortage of celebrity shade this episode: “I find it never quite grew out of its adolescence,” Teddy said of rap. “I wouldn’t say that,” Darius replied. “We got Jay-Z. He’s like 65.”

• There’s nothing shady here, though: It truly is jarring what you can find if you take Darius’s suggestion and type “Sammy Sosa hat” into a search engine.


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What was the point of Season 2 episode 6 of Atlanta? ›

The episode reaches its boiling point when Teddy reveals to Darius that he is going to kill him as a sacrifice. There Darius sits, shackled, waiting for his life to be taken, when “Benny” arrives and kills Teddy and himself instead. The murder-suicide symbolizes the inherent fact that the past is just that.

Who played Teddy Perkins in Atlanta Season 2 episode 6? ›

Donald Glover plays Teddy. It is said that he remained in character during the entire filming process. Many on set found it creepy and others had little to no clue it was in fact Donald Glover; he was even addressed as "Teddy" by the director and crew.

What happens in the Teddy Perkins episode? ›

Surprisingly, Benny makes his way to the lobby to not only shoot Teddy dead, but also kill himself, leaving Darius shaken (and without that piano because it's now police evidence).

Who was Teddy Perkins based on? ›

The character Teddy Perkins, while not entirely, is reportedly heavily based on Michael Jackson. Hiro Murai was nominated for the 2018 Emmy Award in the Outstanding Directing For A Comedy Series category for Atlanta: Teddy Perkins (2018), but lost to Amy Sherman-Palladino for The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel: Pilot (2017).

Who was the guy in the picture at the end of Atlanta? ›

It's a photo of actor Tobias Segal, who played the white guy telling the story of the flood at the beginning of the Season Three opener "Three Slaps." In that unnerving opening scene, he more or less turned into a demon after delivering his monologue about whiteness.

Is Teddy Perkins based on a real person? ›

Also I should say, Teddy Perkins is a fictional character, from an episode of the FX comedy series Atlanta. He was played by Donald Glover, the real-life musician, comedian, actor, etc, wearing a white mask.

Did childish gambino played Teddy Perkins? ›

Childish Gambino shocked fans when he transformed himself into an eccentric white man called Teddy Perkins in his hit TV series 'Atlanta'. The actor who played Teddy's brother Benny Hope (Derrick Haywood) later revealed that Gambino stayed in character even when the cameras weren't rolling.

Who is Teddy Perkins Michael Jackson? ›

The titular character is from the most talked about, most bizarre episode of the Donald Glover-created show. The actor played Perkins, a Michael Jackson-esque abused child all grown up who now spends his time locked up in his house.

Why did Donald Glover stop Atlanta? ›

He's choosing to end his Emmy- and Peabody-winning series simply because he's told the story he wanted to tell, and it's time for the show to end, Glover said during a virtual Television Critics Association session on Thursday..

Was Jay Pharoah Teddy Perkins? ›

A bunch of people assumed that Glover was able to quickly change out of his costume midway through the night, but it turns out, this Teddy Perkins was an entirely different person. Sources confirmed to Entertainment Tonight that comedian Jay Pharoah was the man dressed as Teddy Perkins throughout the Emmy Awards.

Who showed up as Teddy Perkins at the Emmys? ›

UPDATED: Teddy Perkins crashed the Emmys on Monday night. Donald Glover's bizarre “Atlanta” character appeared in the crowd throughout the show, raising speculation that Glover showed up to the ceremony dressed in costume.

What happens in the big payback episode? ›

The episode focuses on a dream being had by Earn of a man named Marshall Johnson, portrayed by Justin Bartha, whose life changes when a woman sues him for reparations for slavery. None of the main cast appears in the episode, with Bartha serving as the protagonist of the episode.

Did Donald Glover do white face? ›

Donald Glover Stayed in Whiteface the Entire Time on Set During the Filming of Latest 'Atlanta' Episode. Actor Derrick Haywood, who played Benny Hope in 'Atlanta,' confirmed to 'Vulture' that the outlandish Teddy Perkins character from the latest episode was indeed portrayed in whiteface by Donald…

What is an owl casket? ›

Darius's initial meeting with Teddy has, as its centerpiece, an enormous ostrich egg that Teddy says is also called “an owl's casket.” Ostriches are native to Africa; the owl is a symbol of prophecy, learning, and higher wisdom in many cultures, and the pairing of that bird with the word “casket” implies a death of ...

What does Darius represent in Atlanta? ›

Darius' heightened intellect and unusual humor can sometimes present as someone on the autism spectrum. With his sensory disorders and coping mechanisms, fidgeting, self medicating and existential outlook on life. Darius redefines the borders between insanity and genius.

Who is the villain in Atlanta? ›

In the TV series Atlanta, the main antagonist is Teddy Perkins, played by Donald Glover, aka Childish Gambino.

How are Earn and Alfred related? ›

Alfred was close with his cousin Earn when they were young, offering him helpful advice and protecting him whenever possible. By Robbin' Season, however, their relationship has begun to wane due to Earn's poor choices as a manager.

Who is Lottie in Atlanta? ›

Atlanta (TV Series 2016–2022) - Mia Atehortua as Lottie - IMDb.

Did Lakeith Stanfield know Teddy Perkins was Donald Glover? ›

Glover starred as Teddy Perkins under layers of makeup and prosthetics and was so unrecognizable that Stanfield didn't know he was acting opposite his co-star and creator. “I was like, 'Wow, this is a very interesting fellow,'” Stanfield said to THR this week while reflecting on Teddy Perkins.

Where was Atlanta filmed in London? ›

The borough of Islington was chosen for certain scenes, with Amwell Street serving as a unit base for the production. North Road provided the parking area for the costume artic to unload at the production office and Clerkenwell Green also served as a parking zone for ten days during shooting in the area.

How many seasons of Atlanta will there be? ›

The groundbreaking comedy series 'Atlanta' is ending after four seasons : NPR. The groundbreaking comedy series 'Atlanta' is ending after four seasons FX's comedy-drama series "Atlanta" is ending Thursday after four seasons.

Does Donald Glover still use Childish Gambino? ›

Donald Glover has revealed that he is not retiring his musical alias Childish Gambino as he had previously suggested. When asked by E!'s Laverne Cox at the Golden Globes if he was still making music, the Atlanta television show creator replied: “I'm making music right now, I love it.

Did Childish Gambino shave his head? ›

A man of many talents (he's an actor, writer, comedian, director, and producer and a singer/rapper also known as Childish Gambino), he has made many a red carpet appearance over the years. But it was only late last month that Donald Glover's shaved head made its public debut.

Who is Childish Gambino's favorite artist? ›

but azealia is the best,” he wrote. 21, tierra, steve g lover, and keem r my favorites right now. but azealia is the best.

Who raised Blanket after Michael Jackson died? ›

Following Michael Jackson's sudden death, Prince, Paris and Blanket were raised by Jackson's mother, Katherine Jackson as well as their co-guardian, Jackson's 43-year-old nephew TJ Jackson.

Who is the head of Michael Jackson's estate? ›

John Gregory Branca (born December 11, 1950, in Bronxville, New York), is an entertainment lawyer and manager who specializes in representing rock and roll acts. He is also co-executor of the Michael Jackson Estate.

Who was Michael Jackson personal bodyguard? ›

For a decade, Matt Fiddes had a ringside seat to watch Michael Jackson's financial decline and fall. Fiddes was a bodyguard and close friend of Jackson, right up to the time of the star's death in 2009.

How did Theodore become Teddy? ›

Since that time, stuffed toy bears have been called Teddy Bears. This children's icon was named because of a hunt President Theodore Roosevelt attended in the Mississippi Delta in 1902 where he refused to kill a black bear.

What happened to Benny in Atlanta? ›

In the next moment, Benny rolls into the room in his wheelchair; Teddy spins around, gobsmacked to see his brother still alive, and the episode erupts into violence. Benny grabs the gun, killing Teddy and then himself. The episode is riddled with Stevie Wonder references, with his music used to open and close the show.

Is Benny Teddy's dad? ›

As a coping mechanism Benny created the identity of Theodore 'Teddy' Perkins, Benny's brother while he began to call his father Benny whom he dressed up in similar clothes as him. He also build a small shrine to his father in a closet, even having a mannequin wear one of he's father's suits.

Why did Donald Glover quit? ›

Donald Glover decided to leave 'Community' because he was ready to move on with his life. By his Season 5 exit, which is filled with emotion through a schoolwide game of “Hot Lava” in which Abed (Danny Pudi) faces letting go of his best friend, Donald knew it was time for him to go.

Was the Disney episode of Atlanta real? ›

Of course, the episode is complete fiction and a far cry from the real story behind A Goofy Movie, which was documented in a 1995 “Making Of” special on Disney Channel but which is nowhere near as entertaining.

What is Donald Glover doing now? ›

While attending the 2023 Golden Globe Awards, Donald Glover confirmed that he's back in the studio, making new music as 'Childish Gambino. ' The saga of Childish Gambino continues, according to Donald Glover.

Where did Jay Pharoah get his start? ›

Early life. Pharoah was born and raised in Chesapeake, Virginia. He began performing impersonations at age six and cites Gilbert Gottfried's character Iago in Aladdin as his first voice, explaining, "My father put me in a talent competition a couple of months later, and out of the whole thing I got fifth place."

Who is the Atlanta episode about? ›

Atlanta is an American comedy-drama television series created by Donald Glover. The series follows college dropout and music manager Earnest "Earn" Marks (Glover) and rapper Alfred "Paper Boi" Miles (Brian Tyree Henry) as they navigate a strange, seemingly otherworldly, Atlanta hip hop scene.

Did Teddy Perkins win any awards? ›

An Investigation. Viewers were thrilled and/or horrified to see Donald Glover's eerie Atlanta character Teddy Perkins in the audience at the 2018 Emmys. People were quick to applaud Glover for committing to stiflingly hot prosthetics, especially because he sadly did not win any of the three awards he was nominated for.

Who won the most Emmys actor? ›

One actor who has received a record-breaking number of Emmy award wins is Ed Asner, known for his performance as Lou Grant in The Mary Tyler Moore Show and Carl Frederickson in the Pixar masterpiece Up. Asner is currently the most honoured male performer in the history of the Primetime Emmy Awards.

Who is the man in the white dress on the Emmys tonight? ›

Andrew Garfield Wows in White Suit at 2022 Emmy Awards | Entertainment Tonight.

Which Atlanta season is best? ›

'Atlanta': Every Season Ranked by Rotten Tomatoes Score
  1. 1 Season 2 ('Robbin' Season'): 98% score on Rotten Tomatoes.
  2. 2 Season 1: 97% ...
  3. 3 Season 3: 97% score on Rotten Tomatoes. Image via FX. ...
  4. 4 Season 4: 96% After spending the previous season overseas in Europe, the show goes back to where it all started, in Atlanta. ...
Nov 20, 2022

What is the highest rated season of RHOA? ›

Season 6. The best season of RHOA was without question season 6. The season kicked off with Porsha's divorce, before diving headfirst into the craziness of Mama Joyce as she tried to break up Kandi and Todd.

Are Atlanta episodes based on true stories? ›

Season 3 Atlanta opener “Three Slaps” alluded to two real-life stories, the Hart Family murders and the underwater Georgia town Lake Lanier.

What is the meaning of The Big Payback? ›

Songfacts®: In this song, Brown vows revenge on the man who stole his money and his girl, insisting that the "big payback" is on the way. He's not very specific in his threats, but it's clear that he means business.

What song plays at the end of Atlanta The Big Payback? ›

Make It Last Forever (with Jacci McGhee)

What episode is payback? ›

"Payback" is the thirteenth episode of the second season of the American television police sitcom series Brooklyn Nine-Nine.

What is the point of the big payback Atlanta? ›

The episode focuses on a dream being had by Earn of a man named Marshall Johnson, portrayed by Justin Bartha, whose life changes when a woman sues him for reparations for slavery. None of the main cast appears in the episode, with Bartha serving as the protagonist of the episode.

What is the meaning of Atlanta Teddy Perkins? ›

Then, Theodore Perkins emerges from the shadows and Darius should've fled the scene on sight. The creepy figure who goes by “Teddy” is an unapologetic spoof of pale, post-surgery Michael Jackson (judging by the voice, that seems to be Donald Glover beneath the unsettling prosthetic makeup and blue contact lenses).

Who was Teddy Perkins at the Emmys? ›

Also I should say, Teddy Perkins is a fictional character, from an episode of the FX comedy series Atlanta. He was played by Donald Glover, the real-life musician, comedian, actor, etc, wearing a white mask.

What is the message of The Big Payback? ›

"Big Payback" imagines a moral reckoning with American slavery that is less moral than fundamentally capitalist. Work was done, and now salaries must be paid. The interest will get you. Youngblood has great moments as Sheniqua.

Where is Atlanta filmed? ›

The series was produced by RBA, 343 Incorporated, MGMT. Entertainment, and FXP and is primarily set and filmed in Atlanta and the surrounding Georgia area; the third season features international filming locations.

What was the meaning of Three Slaps Atlanta? ›

Season 3 Atlanta opener “Three Slaps” alluded to two real-life stories, the Hart Family murders and the underwater Georgia town Lake Lanier.

Is Darius also Cyrus? ›

Darius was a member of the royal bodyguard of Cambyses II, the son and heir of Cyrus the Great who ruled for several years before dying mysteriously in 522. Later that same year, Darius took the throne after killing an alleged usurper he claimed had only pretended to be Cambyses' brother Bardiya.

What did Lorraine do to Paper Boi? ›

Having brought Al into the club at nighttime, Lorraine drags him out of the club during daylight before he's set to perform on stage, chastising him about his decisions and the people surrounding him.

Who did Darius want revenge against? ›

The Eretrian and Athenian force had succeeded in capturing and burning Sardis (the regional capital of Persia), but was then forced to retreat with heavy losses. In response to this raid, the Persian king Darius I swore to have revenge on Athens and Eretria.

Could Teddy Perkins be Michael Jackson? ›

But the “omelets” scene is also important because it establishes that Teddy isn't supposed to be Michael Jackson. Teddy lists his own father and Joe Jackson among the great show-business dads, which means their offspring co-existed in the same world.

Who is the person with the most Emmys? ›

As of July 2022, at the top of the ranking of male performers with the most Emmy Award wins ever is Edward Asner with seven wins in total. He twice won the award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series for his portrayal of the eponymous character in "Lou Grant."

Who wore a bathing cap to the Emmys? ›

At the Emmys, Corrin's cap, which covered their ears and fastened under their chin, sparked mixed reactions from viewers. Most people agreed that it looked like a swimming cap.


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