I just want to begin by saying: I love Issa Rae. I’ve been a fan of hers since ‘Awkward Black Girl’ was only a web series on YouTube. I watched another one of her other shows she produced on Pharrell Williams’ ‘i Am Other’ channel, and her segments of Ratchetpiece Theatre were too few and far between, in my opinion — I always wanted more.
Anyway, despite how that started, there’s no catch: it’s pretty much a no-brainer that I loved her new HBO show, ‘Insecure.’ I’m not the only one either, as in this moment in time, her and her team are not only currently in the writer’s room, prepping for season two, but they’re likely also celebrating multiple nominations at the NAACP Image Awards — as well as a Golden Globe nomination for Issa herself.
I even bonded with a girl in my French class last semester when she turned to me towards the end of term and asked, “Have you ever heard of a show called ‘Insecure’?” We hadn’t talked much up until that point, but every class afterwards, we did — and that’s the impact of this show. It should be celebrated when a show that features some long-awaited, well-deserved diversity, brings two people together who might have never related to one another without it.
I should probably elaborate on what the show is actually about — two black women, Issa and Molly, navigate life with the same sort of insecurities we all have. There’s no shortage of awkward, uncomfortable moments; life is just as merciless on them as it is on the rest of us. We watch as they struggle with their love lives, their professional lives, even their friendship — and there aren’t any rose-colored filters, there aren’t any neatly tied bows, the show is just real.
It’s a comedy, but its characters aren’t caricatures. They’re not stereotypes. They don’t feel empty or indulgent, they feel human. They thrive, they make mistakes, then they get back up again — all while maintaining actual personalities. All too often, I feel some shows forget that while these are fictional characters, those of us watching are humans. We know the difference between a well-rounded, human character and fan service, thank you very much. Too often, shows give in to calls for diversity from people who still view the casting of minorities as ‘good enough,’ regardless of how well their characters are written or how they’re even featured at all — like they deserve a pat on the back for filling some visual quota.
The best part about ‘Insecure’ is that it doesn’t actually set out to break any ceilings, it just is. By finally writing and portraying genuine experiences (because the writers have actually experienced some of them, for starters, which is always a help), breaking ceilings becomes effortless because we see you and we know. We can tell.
I highly recommend this show; it’s funny in the way that you nudge your friend and say, ‘that’s definitely you’ or in the way you can’t help laughing to yourself because it’s just so relatable. I can honestly say this show helped me during a mentally tough semester, giving me something to look forward to every weekend. You might not support every character’s decisions full stop — trust me, I didn’t — but that’s exactly why the drama is so good. You can’t help but get invested, and the stakes get higher, and when you reach the end (spoiler alert: there’s a bit of a cliffhanger), you don’t want to hear that season two is still in the works. You won’t want to wait.
(It also helps that the soundtrack is actually amazing, and that Solange Knowles was the music consultant. No but seriously, I heard someone playing ‘Broken Pussy’ at a New Year’s Eve party, where everyone was dancing. Amazing.)
Therefore, on a scale from 1 to 10, I give Insecure…
Until then, the web series it was based off of, ‘Awkward Black Girl,’ should tide you over — whether you’ve seen it or not, we could all stand for a rewatch — until you finish that, that is, and then you’ll be in the same boat as the rest of us.
Here’s the trailer for ‘Insecure,’ in case you’ve read this far and have had no idea what I’ve been talking about! In which case, props to you, thank you.
Featured image courtesy of HBO.