In a simpler time before the “Nepo Baby” discourse began, Donald Glover and Janine Nabers made headlines in 2022 when they hired former First Daughter Malia Obama as a writer for their FX series “Swarm.” It seemed like a natural fit, considering that the show dealt with the experiences of people who achieve fame at a young age, something that Obama was forced to become familiar with whether she liked it or not. It was an intriguing hire from the moment it was announced, and now we’re starting to see the results.
Television is an inherently collaborative medium, and it’s always difficult to gauge the impact that any individual staff writer can have on a show. But it sounds like the experiment is working quite well thus far. In a new interview with Entertainment Tonight, Nabers said that the writing staff is thrilled with the impact that Obama has made so far.
“Some of her pitches were wild as hell, and they were just so good and so funny,” Nabers said of Obama. “She’s an incredible writer. She brought a lot to the table. She’s really, really dedicated to her craft.”
Nabers added that Obama is credited with writing the episode “Girl, Bye,” which could end up being one of the most unique episodes of Season 1.
“[‘Girl, Bye’] is probably one of the wildest episodes,” Nabers said. “I think it’s going to surprise a lot of people. It’s pretty dope. I’m really proud of it.”
Ever since “Swarm” premiered at SXSW, critics have praised it as a unique exploration of the increasingly toxic nature of online fandom in 2023.
“Created by ‘Atlanta’ veterans Donald Glover and Janine Nabers, the horror-satire focuses on Dre (Dominque Fishback), a fan obsessed with global pop superstar Ni’Jah. Dre spends her days ‘defending’ the artist on social media and her nights listening to Ni’jah’s music, dancing to Ni’Jah’s music, or otherwise letting Ni’Jah’s music take her away from life’s hardships. Dre’s fandom defines her because she wants it to define her; she’s not interested in healthy debate or exploring other avenues. Much like religious acolytes or anyone who went to Harvard, Dre’s sense of self is completely defined by one thing,” IndieWire’s Ben Travers wrote in his review of the show. “Glover and Nabers’ series never excuses Dre’s actions, but it does refuse to put them in a neat little box. Dre never becomes the kind of serial killer who’s so disconnected from reality she’s easy to write off as a work of complete fiction, even as the show pushes back on the use of simple “sob stories” to explain how people become ‘monsters.’ (There’s no trauma porn here!)”