“Insecure” review: The end of an era


Courtesy of HBO

Brooklyn Joyner, Staff Writer

After getting sick with COVID-19 at the start of the year and being stuck at home for two weeks, I felt I had no choice but to binge watch all five seasons of HBO’s “Insecure.” The final season finished airing December 26, 2021 and let me tell you: creators Issa Rae and Larry Wilmore did an amazing job with the show.

“Insecure” is loosely based on a Youtube series called “Awkward Black Girl” created by Rae. We follow the career, lovelife, and emotional development of 29-year-old Los Angeles native Issa Dee, who Rae portrays. We also get snippets of the lives of Issa’s best friend Molly Carter (Yvonne Orji) and Issa’s first love Lawrence Wilmore (Jay Ellis). The journeys of these characters are also paired with a fire-ass playlist that introduces you to up and coming Black artists as well as their best sense of fashion.

This comedy-drama is revolutionary to me because it shows normal Black people living their everyday lives with a dark-skinned female lead. If I’m being honest, I’m tired of seeing shows about Black people that only center around race or slavery. It’s also sickening that most Black shows have Black female leads who are light-skinned (i.e. “Grown-ish” or “Euphoria”). The representation in “Insecure” shows dark-skinned women making their own choices, enjoying themselves, and having control over their own narratives.

Issa Dee is the most relatable character I have ever watched on screen. She is perfectly imperfect with so many layers. To start her day, for example, she literally talks to herself in the mirror and imagines that her reflection is responding to her thoughts. Issa and her reflection rap, cry, laugh, and console each other as well as make decisions together.

As you may have already guessed from the show’s title, Issa does not have her life together. She’s not secure in her career or love life, which is something society expects you to have locked down by your mid-20s when in fact Issa is about to turn 30. At first, watching this show was scary for me because I am 20 years old with no sense of organization in my life. I always expected this weight of uncertainty and doubt in myself to go away sooner, but “Insecure” taught me that it’s okay to have uncertainty or lingering curiosity because it can then lead to self-discovery.

I’m not going to lie, watching Issa figure herself out was super frustrating. In one scene, for example, she was all into the idea of being with her love interest Nathan (Kendrick Sampson). She tells him that she loved him and that she wanted to start a life with him, when in reality, she was having sexual fantasies about her first love Lawrence. It actually sucked because Nathan is fine as hell and he is a great dude, but that’s Issa for you *shrugs shoulders*.

The show also highlights how it is okay for you to make the wrong choice or make a mistake. As a Black woman, it’s rare to see coming-of-age stories about people like me. Issa cheated on her boyfriend, quit her job and became an Uber driver. She got robbed, got into a car accident, went broke and that’s not even half of it. Things like this can seem like the end of the world, but all you can do is move on and keep going. Throughout this relatable struggle Issa was going through, the writer’s room kept me laughing. Issa has this awkward sense of humor that’s so cringey that you can’t do anything but cackle.

In comparison to Issa who has a type-B personality, Yvonne Orji’s Molly has a very type-A personality. She has a constantly elevating career as a lawyer and is very confident in her abilities. But her romantic relationships are iffy. Let’s just say that when she has an idea of how something should be, she has a very difficult time accepting anything else.

Watching her as a character was also frustrating because you would think since you have your career together that life would be simpler, but it’s not. Molly represents the people that have to learn to accept imperfection and compromise. For instance, Molly unexpectedly falls for a childhood friend who is in an open marriage. Molly expected him to center their relationship over his wife but that was something he was not willing to do. This left Molly in a spiral that was hard to stop herself from spinning from.

Everyone should definitely give this show a look because of its vulnerability, realness, and Blackness. Any interested viewer can binge watch it all the way until the end with no worries of when the next episode will come out. Enjoy!

Click here to stream “Insecure” on HBO Max.

Illustration by Ariel Landry
Illustration by Ariel Landry