Show You Should Be Watching If You Aren’t Already: Insecure

A fun thing to do if you’re sane is to pretend you’re just going to watch one episode of a TV show and then just stop cold turkey.

This is exactly what happened to me a couple Sundays ago when I casually decided to watch the pilot of Insecure. My friend suggested it to me a while ago, and of course it’s received all these accolades (hello Emmys), but I finally sat down and watched it. And then I watched the second episode. Then the third… next thing I know it’s four hours later and I’m at the season one finale. Which was perfect because the season two premiere aired that night. Which I also watched.

Obviously I liked it enough to binge watch it in one Sunday night, so I’m here to add to the praise it’s been getting and tell you that if I can (accidentally) set aside 4 hours of my life to watch Insecure, so can you.

Basic Plot

Follows the awkward experiences and racy tribulations of a modern-day African-American woman.

That African-American woman is Issa Rae, the co-creator, writer and star of the show. Insecure follows her life in Los Angeles and the people that surround her on the daily.

Watch This If You Like

Atlanta, Girls, Sex and the City, Dear White People

Started From The Bottom

Not to say “the bottom” is the internet, but Issa first gained acclaimed with her popular webseries Awkward Black Girl, and that award-winning series was the reason and basis for Insecure. Like Insecure, Issa wore multiple hats for her webseries, including starring as J, the titular Awkward Black Girl. While a few changes were made for the TV series (she works at a non-profit and not a weight-loss pill company in ABG), the one holdover, and what made the show unique, is how J talks out her thoughts and problems through raps.

Issa’s Raps

These “freestyle” raps are, to put it simply, brilliant. They never come off corny, but rather necessary for how Issa deals with her problems. These are usually performed in some type of mirror, which is super effective because it’s as if she’s hyping herself up or building confidence by looking the problem in the eye (the problem is herself). Plus, it’s a great way to get into Issa’s thoughts without extra dialogue or having a narrator tell us what she’s thinking. It’s modern, usually involves some type of pop culture reference, and always entertaining.

The BFFs

Molly, Tiffany and Kelli, make up the core of Issa’s squad, and their dynamic is what reminds me of a Sex and the City vibe. As seen in the video above, they’re always open with each other and the tribulations in their love lives, giving advice just like your friends would IRL. They’re also constantly supporting each other in their individual endeavors – in the above clip, they’re all on hand to support Kelli’s cousin’s horrible Jesus/gangsta play. Ultimate friend goals right here.

The BFs

In the pilot, we learn that Issa’s been in a long-term relationship with Lawrence, who seems to be unmotivated and unemployed. But good LORD is he a smokeshow. Jay Ellis isn’t new to acting (he was on The Game for years), but new to me. I’m so sorry I had no idea who you were before this, Jay Ellis. You deserve more. You deserve everything. God bless you. Plus the other gentleman callers on this show like Daniel (Y’lan Noel) and Jared (Langston Kerman) are super easy on the eyes and there may or may not be naked bums. Of the male species. God bless Issa Rae.

The Music

At least once every episode, I found speaking into my phone, saying, “Siri, what song is this?”. The soundtrack is spot on and perfectly matches the mood and vibe of the show. Lo and behold, they got a heavyweight to serve as the music supervisor on the first season, enlisting Raphael Saadiq to take charge of every track on the show. Plus, Solange was a music consultant, which makes sense why it was so easy for them to get the rights to Cranes in the Sky. For a song breakdown per episode, go here!

The Realness

One of the most unique qualities of this show is that it isn’t afraid to put real talk into its scripts. The dialogue feels normal and familiar in a way you might think you’ve had the conversation with the characters before, but really, you’ve had it with your friends IRL. Moreover, every character, from Issa to recurring ones, feels real too, from their clothes to their jobs and everything in between. For example, Issa works at a non-profit for disadvantaged youth, while her boyfriend is a struggling tech genius who ends up working at Best Buy. Her BFF Molly is a successful lawyer, and she ends up dating a non-college educated guy who works at Enterprise. AND there’s even a literal Blood. Like member of the Bloods gang (who has a v cute daughter) who lives in Issa’s building. A wide range of people are featured on the show, reflecting not only a lot of people’s friend groups, but shows that a variety of people are represented on screen as well.

The first season of Insecure is OnDemand and streaming on HBOGo. Season 2 is now airing on Sundays at 10:30pm.

Advertisements

What I Think Happens In Game Of Thrones (I Don’t Watch It)

Are you caught up on Game of Thrones? I’m not. I’m very, very not: I still haven’t seen an episode. Don’t get me wrong, it’s way at the top of my watch list – if only because I hate when everyone else knows about something I don’t. It’s just that it’s in the fifth season (*seventh now – see my update at the bottom!), so now it’s an undertaking. But since it feels like GoT is all anyone talks about, I have some ideas about it.

God willing, this summer I’ll swipe my parents’ HBOGo login info and find out for myself. Until then, I’m pretty sure this is what it’s about:

  • Like, it’s not England, but it IS England, you know?

    Hmm. Ok, p. sure it’s England though.

 

  • And it’s not the Middle Ages, but it IS The middle ages, right?

    No but like, it’s not the “middle ages” but it’s sometime between the fall of Rome and the Renaissance, y/y?

 

  • The blonde one has dragons. They’re sort of like the winged monkeys from The Wizard Of Oz, but they want to be there.

 

  • The blonde one is icy and powerful, like Grace Kelly or Betty Hofstadt Draper Francis.

    + shades of Draco Malfoy and Princess Leia during the Jabba The Hutt era.

 

  • The Little Girl shoots arrows.

 

  • Everyone has names with lots of y’s in them. And, like, w’s? Drawnyfyr. Grwynwyn. Wywywy.

 

  • When something good happens, everyone goes to banquet halls where they eat, presumably, mutton. And drink mead. Then they all get killed.

 

  • French braids.

 

  • The blonde one’s title is kaleesi (sp? Superfluous H somewhere: Khaleesi? Kalheesi?). Her name is something else. And a lot of people act like her name is Kaleesi (sp) because that’s what they call her in the show, but it’s NOT. It’s not that. It’s probably, definitely something with a y or w in it.

 

  • The Little Girl is friends with wolves. Enemies with wolves? I think she mostly rolls with a pack of them.

 

  • I’m fairly sure the Little Girl is named Aria, which is why that’s what everyone is naming their babies now. Maybe Arya, which has a Y in it.

 

  • The Little Girl with the arrows/wolves is the Stephanie, and her older sister is more of a D.J.

 

  • There’s no Michelle; a Michelle would not survive in this world.

    This is her GOT outfit.

 

  • If your name doesn’t contain a Y or a W, it’s a regular name with one or two letters off. Like Blatt or Bobbin or Roybert.

 

  • Peter Dinklage.

 

  • Sometimes, somebody goes into a journey through the forest, runs into an enemy, battles them in the forest, emerges on horseback. But it’s the enemy’s horse.

 

  • Maybe there’s a priest who’s a bad guy?

 

  • More tapestries than a stoner’s sophomore year dorm room.

 

  • Do any of you have an extra row of eyelashes that grow straight down? It has nothing to do with Game of Thrones but I would be interested in someone’s help with that.

 

  • I’m picturing a battle in a field with humans astride creatures that look like they came from the Jim Henson factory.

 

  • All of the American actors use English accents of varying strengths and intensities, even though this is not exactly England.

 

  • Rich people wear jewel-toned silks and velvets; poors: straight-up scratchy bag material.

 

  • At least one dude has labor-intensive facial hair even though it’s the (not-) Middle Ages. One of those deals where he looks more like a topiary than a face.

 

  • Probably a gross childbirth scene at some point.

 

  • Pick a character to love. Any character. Okay, they’re going to die.

 

  • Unlike the real middle ages, people aren’t dying of, like, dysentery. Usually battles, duels, maybe a stray curse or two.

 

  •  Never go to a wedding. Ever. It will end it rape, murder, or both.

 

  • All of the men are sort of Variations On A Theme. The theme is Elijah Wood.

    Meh. Basically the same thing.

 

  • You know how everyone has that one garbage cousin? In 2015 you can just hide him on Facebook, but in Medieval England you will be hiding behind a stone turret while he and a fleet of Jim Henson Workshop Creatures storm across your moat right in the middle of the Hey Nonny Nonny festival or whatever.

 

  • Not that it’s Medieval times, that is. Or England. It isn’t.

 

  • … But it is, right?

 

UPDATE:

It’s July of 2017, two years have passed since this was originally posted, Season 7 has just begun, and I FINALLY started Game of Thrones! I know, you all said it was good and you were absolutely correct.  I started last week and am only on Episode 5 of season 1. I hope at this rate I’ll be caught up to watch the final episodes in real time along with the rest of the internet.  Some stray observations based on this post:

  • I feel like I was right about 90% of everything.
  • I love how they differentiate the culture of the various kingdoms.
  • There are maps of Westeros, but I’m still a tad iffy on the landmass. At first I thought it was some kind of post-Pangea thing where the continents hadn’t shifted to their current spots yet. But then I read some other interpretations and… I’ll just sit this one out until I’m a bit farther into things.
  • People I love: Khaleesi (her dragons are about to hatch! Very exciting); Arya; Jon Snow (particularly how Jon Snow is one of those people you refer to by first and last name; I think we all had a friend like this in high school); basically all of the Starks but my brother informed me things will get “weird with Bran” soon.
  • People I loathe: Khaleesi’s Draco Malfoy-looking brother; the prince Sansa’s supposed to marry; Khaleesi’s husband, maybe, but maybe not?; basically all of the Lannisters except Tyrion.
  • Like I said, the dragon eggs are in that Hatchimals-on-Christmas-morning phase. The sheer innocence of this makes me realize that I’m definitely in the Sorcerer’s Stone era of Game of Thrones, where everything is very young and gentle.

Let’s All Speculate About Lemonade

Beyonce, the Queen of wig snatching, revealed last weekend that she’s releasing something called Lemonade on HBO this coming Saturday.

Beyonce being Beyonce, she’s revealed little to no details besides subconsciously telling us to quit all our plans to watch whatever this is on Saturday. At this point, we shouldn’t be surprised by her unexpected moves. From the iconic pregnancy reveal at the 2011 VMAs to the “Where were you when Beyonce dropped her album in December 2013?” phenomenon to randomly releasing Formation earlier this year, the Queen has made pulling a “Beyonce” a verb.

In fact, this time around, she’s been trolling us for months. MONTHS. Last year, she posted a string of Instagram photos of her with lemons and/or lemonade, but of course with no explanation. No one questioned it at the time because it is BEYONCE SMELLING A FRESH FRUIT WHO ARE WE PLEBEIANS TO QUESTION HER ACTIONS?

A post shared by Beyoncé (@beyonce) on

So while we have three more days until we find out exactly what Lemonade is, let’s speculate based on logical clues (and some not so logical) as to what it could possibly be, because let’s be honest, we have nothing better to do until then.

A new song

This seems like the most reasonable assumption, no? Or rather the most non-disappointing expectation? If she hit us with the music video for her new song Lemonade, we would be fine with it, but just leave us wanting more.

A new album

There have been rumors swirling over the past few weeks that Beyonce is releasing another surprise album later this year, this time around with some special guests, including Adele. Since she’s kicking off her Formation world tour (which she also unexpectedly announced after her Super Bowl cameo this year) next week, a full new album would be the reason she’s going on tour – not like she needs a reason.  But that’s cutting it close for all those Bey Hive members in Miami. An album on Saturday, concert on Wednesday? Hope everyone has a good memory because you’ll need to learn those lyrics real quick.

A new visual album / film

This is my true, honest guess for what her Lemonade HBO special is. It’ll be like all the music videos from Beyonce (2013) but on the TV. In trailer for Lemonade, she’s wearing the same outfit/has the same look as her Formation video, so it could just be a continuation of that theme in the new special.

The name of her next baby

… Because she’s pregnant again. She’s not, BUT what if she was and the HBO special is 30 minutes long and a sonogram video of her unborn child Lemonade (gender TBD).

A new restaurant venture

Bey is becoming a franchise owner of Lemonade, a chain of restaurants in Los Angeles that’s basically healthy cafeteria-style food. They have stuff like vegan Red Quinoa & Fuji Apples with Arugula, Toasted Sunflower Seeds,& Pistachio Vinaigrette or Roasted Chicken with Pomegranate Tzatziki or their famous truffle Mac and Cheese. Of course they have a million kinds of lemonade including Blood Orange and Coconut Apple and maybe even a new flavor flav – BLUEIvyBERRY and HoneyBEY??

A new lemonade cleanse partnership

She’s the new spokesperson for a lemonade cleanse. Ok, on the real, I came up with that idea before I each started searching “Beyonce juice cleanse”, but apparently it’s a thing and she reportedly used this lemon detox diet to lose 20 pounds. I do not suggest doing this. I do suggest Beyonce making a legit juice cleanse that I will regettingly partake in.

Mexican Lemonade

IDEK IT COULD LIT’RALLY BE ANYTHING

Blue Ivy’s got a lemonade stand

She’s Periscope-ing Blue Ivy’s lemonade stand for an entire hour. Her lemonade stand is outside their Bev Hills house and Jay’s just paid a bunch of people to drive by and buy the drinks she’s peddling.

It’s a secret Destiny’s Child project

In the Lemonade teaser, Bey is heard saying,”The past and the present merge to meet us here.” Using that as a hint, one can guess her past (DC3) is meeting the present (HBO) with a special Destiny’s Child project. And by project I don’t mean a new one, I mean it’s a re-airing of Destiny’s Child Live in Atlanta from 2006.

It’s a secret Bey/Jay project

She also says in the clip, “You are the love my life.” Gathering from this line, she and Jay will renew their vows. However, the catch is that only Tidal subscribers can see the actual ceremony. The rest of us HBO folks will have to settle for seeing people sit in their seats and 10 minutes of the reception. For everyone without HBO, you can find all of it in its entirety on that one (illegal) streaming website with a million pop-up ads. Worth it.

A testimonial movie about being vegan

Facts:

“I’ve been drinking, watermelon” Drunk In Love, 2013.

“I can’t wait ’til I get home so you can tear that cherry out
Turn that cherry out, turn that cherry out” Blow, 2013.

“He like to call me peaches when we get this nasty” Partition, 2013.

Lemonade, 2016.

THIS IS A PLOY TO MAKE US ALL TURN VEGAN.

Just Bey

Literally just Bey sipping on lemonade for an hour. And we’d still watch.

Best of C+S 2015: What I Think Happens In Game Of Thrones (I Don’t Watch It)

Game of Thrones is one of the most talked-about shows of 2015 … by everyone except us. We don’t watch it – but we want to! – so in the meantime, here are the things we are pretty sure go down in Medieval Narnia or whatever it is.

______

Are you caught up on Game of Thrones? I’m not. I’m very, very not: I still haven’t seen an episode. Don’t get me wrong, it’s way at the top of my watch list – if only because I hate when everyone else knows about something I don’t. It’s just that it’s in the fifth season, so now it’s an undertaking. But since it feels like GoT is all anyone talks about, I have some ideas about it.

God willing, this summer I’ll swipe my parents’ HBOGo login info and find out for myself. Until then, I’m pretty sure this is what it’s about:

  • Like, it’s not England, but it IS England, you know?

    Hmm. Ok, p. sure it’s England though.

 

  • And it’s not the Middle Ages, but it IS The middle ages, right?

    No but like, it’s not the “middle ages” but it’s sometime between the fall of Rome and the Renaissance, y/y?

 

  • The blonde one has dragons. They’re sort of like the winged monkeys from The Wizard Of Oz, but they want to be there.

 

  • The blonde one is icy and powerful, like Grace Kelly or Betty Hofstadt Draper Francis.

    + shades of Draco Malfoy and Princess Leia during the Jabba The Hutt era.

 

  • The Little Girl shoots arrows.

 

  • Everyone has names with lots of y’s in them. And, like, w’s? Drawnyfyr. Grwynwyn. Wywywy.

 

  • When something good happens, everyone goes to banquet halls where they eat, presumably, mutton. And drink mead. Then they all get killed.

 

  • French braids.

 

  • The blonde one’s title is kaleesi (sp? Superfluous H somewhere: Khaleesi? Kalheesi?). Her name is something else. And a lot of people act like her name is Kaleesi (sp) because that’s what they call her in the show, but it’s NOT. It’s not that. It’s probably, definitely something with a y or w in it.

 

  • The Little Girl is friends with wolves. Enemies with wolves? I think she mostly rolls with a pack of them.

 

  • I’m fairly sure the Little Girl is named Aria, which is why that’s what everyone is naming their babies now. Maybe Arya, which has a Y in it.

 

  • The Little Girl with the arrows/wolves is the Stephanie, and her older sister is more of a D.J.

 

  • There’s no Michelle; a Michelle would not survive in this world.

    This is her GOT outfit.

 

  • If your name doesn’t contain a Y or a W, it’s a regular name with one or two letters off. Like Blatt or Bobbin or Roybert.

 

  • Peter Dinklage.

 

  • Sometimes, somebody goes into a journey through the forest, runs into an enemy, battles them in the forest, emerges on horseback. But it’s the enemy’s horse.

 

  • Maybe there’s a priest who’s a bad guy?

 

  • More tapestries than a stoner’s sophomore year dorm room.

 

  • Do any of you have an extra row of eyelashes that grow straight down? It has nothing to do with Game of Thrones but I would be interested in someone’s help with that.

 

  • I’m picturing a battle in a field with humans astride creatures that look like they came from the Jim Henson factory.

 

  • All of the American actors use English accents of varying strengths and intensities, even though this is not exactly England.

 

  • Rich people wear jewel-toned silks and velvets; poors: straight-up scratchy bag material.

 

  • At least one dude has labor-intensive facial hair even though it’s the (not-) Middle Ages. One of those deals where he looks more like a topiary than a face.

 

  • Probably a gross childbirth scene at some point.

 

  • Pick a character to love. Any character. Okay, they’re going to die.

 

  • Unlike the real middle ages, people aren’t dying of, like, dysentery. Usually battles, duals, maybe a stray curse or two.

 

  •  Never go to a wedding. Ever. It will end it rape, murder, or both.

 

  • All of the men are sort of Variations On A Theme. The theme is Elijah Wood.

    Meh. Basically the same thing.

 

  • You know how everyone has that one garbage cousin? In 2015 you can just hide him on Facebook, but in Medieval England you will be hiding behind a stone turret while he and a fleet of Jim Henson Workshop Creatures storm across your moat right in the middle of the Hey Nonny Nonny festival or whatever.

 

  • Not that it’s Medieval times, that is. Or England. It isn’t.

 

  • … But it is, right?

 

 

Show You Should Be Watching If You Aren’t Already: Veep

There is one main reason you should watch this political comedy and that is Julia Louis-Dreyfus. Don’t get me wrong, the secondary characters are fantastic (like Tony Hale/Buster Bluth and Anna Chlumsky from your VHS copy of My Girl), but the star of the show is clearly JLD.

This bodes well since she plays the Vice President of the United States and this show is clearly called Veep. However, VP Selina Meyer is not exactly what you would call competent. She often needs the guidance of those around her to tell her what to do, how to vote, etc. She’s disregarded even in her high position in office, and is even often forgotten by the President himself (see video below). She’s honest, eager to please, but at the same time a brash woman who swears like a sailor. Take everything you thought you knew about how the White House is run and throw it out the window, because VP Selina Meyers is the exact opposite of how you think government should be run.

Just take a look at some clips of the show, and you’ll know why JLD received an Emmy Award for this role, and why our very own Joe Biden is a fan of the show too. From politician bribing to a pregnancy scare, this show’s entire ensemble of characters is so solid that they’ve never even shown the president once. You still have time to watch all 8 episodes of season 1, before season 2 premieres on Sunday!

Season 1 Trailer

What the Fuck Amy? – Selina’s Chief of Staff is in some hot water

I’m the Vice President!

Did The President Call? – The running joke of the show is that Selina is so unimportant that the President doesn’t even want to talk to his VP

This might be my favorite line in the entire series, as crass and ridiculous as it may be.