As a collection of work that tells the story of ‘The Boy’, Donald Glover explores the impact of wealth on a person who dislikes his friends, and merely travels through the non-existence of what he has around him. At least this is what I take from this.
CLAPPING FOR ALL THE WRONG REASONS is directed by long-time contributor, Hiro Murai (who works with Donald Glover on the FX series ATLANTA). Taken on its own the short film does not show anything of note, except for when ‘The Boy’ pulls out a gold tooth out of his nose. Out of context, away from the screenplay and album, this is merely a strange event. However when pulled together, it can be interpreted as the privilege and world he has around him falling away from him. We also see a girl wander through the house, whom ‘The Boy’ does not know. This is carried through into the screenplay, becoming so wrapped up in his own world, he ends up unaware of the people that he has surrounded himself with.
The 73 page screenplay expands on the themes of the short film. Meant to be played with the album (there are directions as to when each song plays), each song adds to the mood of the scene, it’s the soundtrack to the movie. The screenplay reveals the environment and background behind ‘The Boy’. We learn of his father, who is asked for in CLAPPING…, and his frankly immature attempt at making something of himself. He only decides this after losing something close to him, as though this is a catalyst for him to try to make something of himself. Although as we learn, ‘The Boy’ is not equipped for his attempt at an adult life. His permanent adolescence that we see in the short film shows that he will fail.
This article is well thought out, the author arguing that Childish Gambino is merely playing with the medium he has, through the music videos and that each is an improvement on the screenplay itself.
I disagree. I don’t see the music videos for each of the songs as an expansion on the screenplay, more of an expansion on the themes and emotions that ‘The Boy’ experiences. Mood plays an important part in ‘Because the Internet’.
As an album on its own ‘Because The Internet’ is a fantastic collection of music, lyrics and meaning. When worked with the short film and screenplay, Donald Glover proves that his talent is able to look at the bigger picture.