Donald Glover's Atlanta Gets Response From Disney Director Over Wild A Goofy Movie Episode

Donald Glover and Max and Goofy
(Image credit: FX/Disney)

When it came to the final season of FX’s Atlanta, Donald Glover promised something that would rival The Sopranos’, and it didn’t disappoint. Season 4 delivered some of the acclaimed dramedy’s sharpest installments yet, including that dream-like series finale. One of those last episodes really broke from the show’s traditional format by presenting a faux documentary focused on the making of Disney’s A Goofy Movie. It’s a wild piece of storytelling, to say the least, but is also pretty ingenious. The show caught the attention of quite a few people, including the movie’s real-life director, Kevin Lima, who’s now shared his response to it.

Directed by Donald Glover, “The Goof Who Sat By the Door” presents a documentary of the same name aired by the fictional B.A.N. (Black American Network). The doc tells the fictional account of Thomas Washington, a Black animator from Atlanta who unexpectedly gets named the CEO of the Walt Disney Company in the ‘90s. Washington then aims to produce “the Blackest movie of all time” à la A Goofy Movie though, as he continues to do so, he gradually loses his sanity. The episode cleverly plays on the long-running Internet debate regarding the ways in which the 1995 film speaks to African-American culture and also mirrors Sam Greenlee’s 1969 novel, The Spook Who Sat by the Door.

I was personally floored by what writers Francesca Sloane and Karen Joseph Adcock accomplished with this. Of course, I was also somewhat surprised that the show actually tackled the topic. Kevin Lima was apparently shocked to hear about it as well, and it sounds like that feeling only increased when he actually watched the episode: 

My social media all just blew up," he told me. "I was like, 'What the hell is this?' I sat down and watched it with wide eyes and my jaw on the floor. Like, 'I can't believe they got away with this.'

While it didn’t make much noise at the box office or receive strong reviews when it was released, A Goofy Movie remains popular over 25 years later. Many laud it for its characters, humor and incredibly catchy tunes. And at the same time, various people have opined about its significance to Black people. Many argue that the Goof film channels the culture and in many ways, provides metaphors for the African-American experience. During his interview with /Film, Kevin Lima acknowledged that the movie is “so entrenched in our culture and in Black culture in that way” and for him, Atlanta’s decision to discuss it “is so confirming that it touches people.” Lima, who wasn’t contacted by the show about the episode, talked more about the love his animated classic has received: 

I'm guessing that [Donald] loved it when he was a kid. I'm just guessing — and I'm supposed to talk to him. I have a friend of a friend. There have been a couple of videos online that people have made calling it like 'The Blackest Disney Film Ever Made.' I've watched a couple of those things just to get a sense. The Black community just adores the movie and takes ownership of it in a big way. So I'm sure it's the perfect storm of all of those things. And then I figured FX is owned by Disney. So there's that little connection there.

It’s somewhat hard to believe that Disney was fine with one of its subsidiaries poking fun at its corporate structure and creative process. But I suppose it’s as they say, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Kudos to Donald Glover and his crew for pulling off such a smart episode just before signing off, and good on Kevin Lima for showing support. 

All four seasons of Atlanta are available to stream using a Hulu subscription and, if you’re still reflecting on its storied run, read up on the things I’ll miss most about the FX show. Those who want to give A Goofy Movie a watch can also access that with a Disney+ subscription.

Erik Swann
Senior Content Producer

Erik Swann is a Senior Content Producer at CinemaBlend. He began working with the publication in 2020 when he was hired as Weekend Editor. Today, he continues to write, edit and handle social media responsibilities over the weekend. On weekdays, he also writes TV and movie-related news and helps out with editing and social media as needed. He graduated from the University of Maryland, where he received a degree in Broadcast Journalism. After shifting into multi-platform journalism, he started working as a freelance writer and editor before joining CB. Covers superheroes, sci-fi, comedy, and almost anything else in film and TV. He eats more pizza than the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.