Insecure (HBO) is a great watch for the pandemic!
For one thing, the episodes are short, and I don’t know about you, but I love a 30-minute dramedy. People over on the Twitter are always clamoring for longer episodes, but I don’t need longer episodes. What I want are longer seasons. The first three seasons are eight episodes and the fourth is ten, and I don’t know about you, but I would love a solid thirteen. However, I am here to tell you that Issa Rae and co. do manage to pack a lot into those short episodes and seasons, which is why the people are clamoring for more.
The show follows two best friends, Issa and Molly, who are on the cusp of thirty and trying to figure out what to do with their personal and professional lives. Issa is in an unhappy and unfulfilling relationship with her longtime boyfriend Lawrence as well as in the dregs at her job at a nonprofit run by white people that is aimed at supporting youth of color, which means she’s spending a lot of time in a middle school (aka one of the nine circles of hell). Molly is thriving professionally as a lawyer but, though she has lots of dalliances, hasn’t found a man to partner with long term, though she is trying really, really hard.
The best thing about Insecure is that it’s real. No, like real-real. Like I know people who have said they can’t watch the show because it hits too close to home at portraying their relationships or fears or maybe even choices they have made in their lives. But that’s what I like about it. Issa and Molly (and their friends) really do feel like people I could know in real life, which makes following their exploits both fascinating and, at times, frustrating (but in a good way!). The frustration comes from wanting them to be happy and healthy but seeing all the ways they can and do self-sabotage. It’s wanting either or both of them to go to therapy or talk it out or pick the right guy or apologize instead of doubling down. It’s seeing myself and the people I love in the characters and wanting more for them the way I do for us.
I am making the show sound very serious, which it is not. It’s a dramedy with a heavy dose of comedy. Issa and her friends get into some SHENANIGANS. I honestly cannot think of the Coachella episode without laughing at the ridiculousness of it all. Whenever Issa consults with Mirror Bitch (her own reflection), it’s always a good time.
Also Natasha Rothwell who plays Kelli (and is a writer for the show) is a revelation. Whenever she’s on screen, I just know I’m going to laugh.
The drama and comedy are very well balanced, just like a really good and effective episode of Grey’s Anatomy. And because the show is so deeply rooted in reality, so is the humor. These situations are believable, not outrageous, and so they feel like they could happen to any of us at basically any moment.
The pilot of the show was a little rough for me, but by the third episode, I was hooked. This is an HBO show, so be prepared for nudity and ~language~ but also know that you’ll be watching a real honest look at what some women and men experience as they navigate their late 20s and early 30s.
And I don’t know about you, but during a time when half of the Senate and a large number of members of the House of Representatives are still lying to us, it’s nice to know that when I sit down to watch Insecure I’m going to get something emotionally honest, and that gives me comfort.
(In the interest of full disclosure: I almost didn’t pick Insecure because the season four finale ended on a cliffhanger THAT I DID NOT LIKE and I have ~opinions~. So let me just say up front that I cannot be held responsible for your reactions to the S4 finale. However, I will say that season five [the final season 😢] is now filming, so my opinion on the cliffhanger may change once the new season is released and resolves everything.)
For this year’s A to Z Challenge, I have decided that I’m going to focus on comfort reads/watches as we enter our second (!) April in the pandemic. Tune in Monday to see what I choose for J!