Below is a spoiler-free review of ‘Insecure’ Season One.
Alright, you got me. This is a show from 2016. But I’m still catching up. Cut me some slack.
Insecure is created by and stars Issa Rae, as well, Issa. She works with black school kids at a non-profit and is in a rocky long-term relationship. Her best friend, Molly, played by Yvonne Orji , works at a law firm, and has trouble moving from dating to a long-term relationship. It’s one of those half hours that are part comedy, part drama.
Issa Rae rose to fame with her YouTube series Awkward Black Girl which Insecure is partially based on. As in her web-series Issa can be seen composing profane but hilarious rap lyrics. It’s a small part of Insecure, but does drive an early-on storyline.
As a white man I know I’m not qualified, but I think it’s important to cover these diverse shows even if they’re not made for me. Isn’t that the whole point of TV? To see from other people’s perspectives, to see stories you might not otherwise see?
It’s like Girls at a stretch, but about black women. Okay, I’m regretting that comparison already, but Insecure has characters you love and want to see succeed but despite everything, they always manage to screw things up.
Issa’s relationship with her partner Lawrence (Jay Ellis) has its ups and downs throughout this first season. Issa gets curious when she hears from an old flame and all downhill from there. It’s your standard rocky relationship fare, and as much as you yell at your screen for her not to do it, she’s probably gonna go and do it, and feel horrible afterwards. Rinse and repeat. Same goes for Molly who also makes awful decisions in her dating life. But I guess watching two people live their lives right isn’t interesting?
Issa’s outreach programme for black school kids is run mostly by white folks, and their understanding of black culture is well, how to put it… lacking? Issa is the token black person on the team and is having to field racist questions, unintentional racism (racism all the same), but even in this decade you can’t help but laugh awkwardly and grimace knowing that this still happens.
My one drawback with Insecure is that it can feel suffocating following only two characters (and Lawrence). When they have relationship breakdowns it’s kind of hard to escape. You’re in there with them, along for their crazy rides and the car door’s locked. And it can be intense. Season two has been green-lit, and I’m hoping they expand on two of Issa and Molly’s friends who appear in some of the episodes, but haven’t been shown on their own. It might just relieve some of that tension. Tension is good but so is breathing room.
Joanne is one of the friends, and her character is so vibrant and always telling jokes, much to the chagrin of her friends. Joanne is played by Natasha Rothwell and she has been promoted to series regular for season two, thank the Lord. Amanda Seales plays Tiffany DuBois as a character I love to hate, obsessed with image and lives up to the valley girl stereotype.
Verdict: It’s not life changing television, but it’s important to tell everyday black stories, that can sometimes be about race, but more often that not, just spending time with interesting characters.