Issa Rae's 'Insecure' is the Best Show of the Summer (Spoilers Included)
By: Steve Hladik
As mentioned in our Emmy roundup, one of the biggest snubs of caused by the Television Academy is that of the first season of HBO’s Insecure. Insecure, created by Issa Rae (who also plays Issa Dee, the main character, and serves as writer on select episodes) and Larry Wilmore, is a modern day look into the black female experience through the eyes of Issa and her best friend Molly, played by Yvonne Orji.
Season two, which debuted last night and will have an 8 episode season and picks up during the aftermath of Issa and her boyfriend Lawrence (played by Jay Ellis) after their falling out due to Issa’s infidelity. The first episode finds them both trying to fill the void left by one another, Issa does so with work, Lawrence with sex. But, Issa is taking it a little bit harder.
Frustrated and desperate, she throws a party at her house in true Great Gatsby fashion, hoping that Lawrence will come by and the two will rekindle their romance. While he doesn’t show up at the party, he does show surprisingly show up later on, where he and Issa hook up but never confirm their relationship dead or alive. The promos for the show hint at Issa venturing into the single life, so we imagine there will be much more back and forth with Lawrence for more of the season. Season two finds Molly trying out therapy and instead of opening up, she starts cycling through therapists the same way she does with men. Another great plot introduced is Molly finding out she is being paid less than a white man in her office, despite being one of the best lawyers in her firm.
It’s storylines like this which show how important a show Insecure really is. It explores the intersections between gender, race, and class better than almost any show on television. Insecure doesn't just feature black women as figures of power or do-ers, like we see in Scandal and How To Get Away with Murder. Instead, we get to see figures of black women who may not have it all together, make shameless mistakes, keep it real, and whole heartedly embrace their sexuality.
The core of the show is the friendship between Issa and Molly, and a depiction of positive black female friendships is another facet of the show that is basically non-existent in this television landscape. With just one episode of it’s new season, Insecure has already expanded on the promise shown in its first season. It’s humor is rapid fire, you have to pay close attention or you might miss a zinger or deadpan murmured from Issa or any of the other characters. It’s cast has grown their roles perfectly, with special notice to Orji, who has created a wholly original character who is simultaneously headstrong and deeply vulnerable, and the soundtrack curated by Solange, of all people, is to die for. With such a short season (only seven episodes left) we’re already sad that Insecure is only here briefly. But based on the first episode of the newest batch, it’ll be the best we’ve seen thus far from Rae & company.