With Donald Glover’s “Atlanta” finally returning for its long-awaited Season 3, it feels like everyone is taking a long walk down memory lane and indulging in some of their favorite “Atlanta” moments. And there’s plenty for a TV show with so few episodes, with its tone and style ranging from subversive to surreal, high anxiety to high comedy. But if I had to guess LaKeith Stanfield’s favorite part of “Atlanta” peach pie, I could confidently sum it up in two words.
If that name doesn’t fill your heart with… A truly indescribable feeling, let me take you back to the halcyon days of 2018. Teddy Perkins’ character is the subject of an entire episode of the show’s second season ( the episode is also named after him), in which Darius (Stanfield) meets Teddy when he shows up at his mansion to pick up a free piano that Teddy was advertising online. Teddy, who has very pale skin, an incredibly high-pitched voice, and a generally unsettling demeanor, manages to keep Darius in the mansion for a while, but things get much stranger and more sinister from there. The episode has a clear lean towards horror, which makes it a standout episode, both IRL and in your nightmares.
Most people know by now that Glover himself donned those weird valley prosthetics to play Teddy, but when they were filming the episode, Glover deliberately made sure to hide that fact from Stanfield. Like he said The Hollywood Reporter in a 2020 interview:
“I was like, ‘Wow, that’s a very interesting guy.’ I wanted to know more about [the actor], so I started asking him questions. And Donald had a whole story prepared. He said he had been playing for a long time. And I was like, ‘It’s funny, because it’s a very small business…I wouldn’t miss your face.'”
“Who the fuck is this guy?”
And according to what Stanfield said in other interviews, it was not a casual prank. Glover made sure to be in character as Teddy at all times, not just when he was on camera:
“…And they called ‘cut’ and it was Teddy, and when I saw him having his makeup done, it was Teddy. I didn’t see any prosthetics, so I didn’t know. I didn’t had no idea who it was and I still don’t know, so it was very weird for me.”
Sure, the secret could not be kept forevereventually Stanfield was able to unmask Teddy’s identity as if he was an old “Scooby Doo” villain:
“So I started asking around on set, ‘Who the fuck is this guy?’ And then someone finally spilled the wick, which I’m a little crazy about now, because I wish the illusion had lasted a little longer.”
Teddy Perkins may collectively haunt all of our nightmares (and make for a truly unforgettable TV episode), but Stanfield’s story is also a fun reminder that pranks between friends are rad and the truth is usually a letdown. Tell your loved ones harmless lies! Attach prostheses to your face and piss off the people you care about! Learn to keep a secret! And above all, have fun there.