Insecure Cover: Issa sits on a milk crate on the street with the rest of the cast behind her.


Title: Insecure (Seasons #1-4)
Released: 2016

Fix: Dark Comedies, Female Showrunners, Complex Characters, Secondhand Cringe, Female Friendships, Adrift In Your Twenty-Somethings
Platforms: HBOMax

HBOMax Summary:

Created by and starring Issa Rae, this comedy series looks at the friendship of two modern-day black women, as well as all of their uncomfortable experiences and racy tribulations. As they navigate the tricky professional and personal terrain of Los Angeles, best friends Issa and Molly face the challenges of being black women who defy all stereotypes.

FYA Summary:

“Uncomfortable experiences and racy tribulations” makes me giggle-snort, but damn if it’s not accurate. The first season spends a lot of time on twenty-nine-year-old Issa’s dead-end relationship with her loveable-but-unmotivated boyfriend of five years, Lawrence; her stagnant job at a non-profit for inner-city kids called We Got Y’all (where she is the token black employee); and, her crush on poseur Daniel, the crush from high-school/college she never quite got over.

As seasons go on, the show expands beyond Issa and Molly to include a bevy of complex and hilarious side characters. You will be intrigued, you will laugh and cry, you WILL cover your face in secondhand embarrassment at the ridiculous shit Issa gets herself into.

Familiar Faces:

Issa Rae as Issa Dee

Issa is the defacto main character, especially since she’s the only one in which we get random internal monologues and mirror-raps. What are mirror-raps, you ask? Well, Issa uses her bathroom alone-time to spit some verses to psyche herself up or say those perfect comebacks that you never think of in the moment. I have noticed this doesn’t happen as often as the series goes on (probably because she’s learning to be more honest and forthright with others) but it is so fun in those early episodes.

Yvonne Orji as Molly Carter

Molly is probably my favorite person on Insecure. She’s a smart-as-hell lawyer who can charm anyone and all she wants is to be in love and settle down, but she can be a perfectionist and quick to judge. Molly makes different kinds of dumb decisions compared to Issa’s issues, but luckily they always have each other. (Also, Yvonne has one of the best smiles! She is gorgeous!)

Jay Ellis as Lawrence Walker

Lawrence is one of those characters that goes through SO many changes over the seasons. My feelings change towards him constantly, and I think that is a testament to how real the writing feels. He is neither 100% villain nor hero during the tumultuous relationship drama he and Issa share. I want good things for Lawrence, and it doesn’t hurt that Jay is also a total cutie. (Really, everyone on this show is beautiful. It’s a feast for the eyes as much as the brain.)

Natasha Rothwell as Kelli and Amanda Seales as Tiffany Dubois

I’d be remiss if I did not include the other two BFFs in the friendship foursome. Tiffany is that bougie friend that you constantly have to just roll your eyes at else you wonder too long about why you ever hang out with her, and Kelli is that no-holds-barred, tells-it-like-she-thinks-it-is friend that makes you pee in your pants laughing (there is an excellent peeing-your-pants moment by Kelli in the third season at Coachella—you’ll know it when you see it—that had me in stitches when I first saw it).

Couch-Sharing Capability: High

OMG, be warned you will need someone to discuss this show with. My coworker and I would eagerly dissect each episode as it came out over the last few seasons, and since we’ve been working from home while the fourth season aired we have been giving our unlimited texting a workout.

A word of warning—this is an HBO show, so there will be cussing, there will be nudity, there will be at times casual drug use or things you do not want your mama to see. Those who have a low tolerance for cursing or (at times) vulgar humor should definitely skip this show (if you need an example of the level of vulgarity to judge what friends you should or shouldn’t have around you as you watch this, in the very first episode Issa gets up at an open mic and does a silly rap she calls “Broken Pussy”. It is absolutely hilarious (to me) but I know it won’t be for all.).

Recommended Level of Inebriation: Shots, Shots, Shots, Shots!

Honestly I usually end up watching this show after 11 p.m., so I’m not ingesting anything but water and maybe a snack, but if you’re so inclined, I think a nice mixed shot is the way to go for when Issa opens her mouth and inserts her foot.

Use of Your Streaming Subscription: Excellent

Insecure just aired its fourth season and is the perfect thing to put on when you need a pick-me-up. Each season only has around eight half-hour(ish) episodes, so it’s a quick binge that will leave you begging for more, more, more.

Stephanie (she/her) is an avid reader who moonlights at a college and calls Orlando home. Stephanie loves watching television, reading DIY blogs, planning awesome parties, Halloween decorating, and playing live-action escape games.