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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.