Honest, intelligent, and witty, HBO’s Insecure, created by Issa Rae and Larry Wilmore, brings a much needed fresh voice to premium television, and has just been renewed for 10 episodes.
Adapted from Rae’s 2011 web series “Awkward Black Girl,” which she created and starred in, the show adds a nice splash of color to the otherwise mostly white premium television channels. Insecure is about Rae’s 29-year-old character, also named Issa, trying to figure out what she wants while living in Los Angeles with her underemployed app developer boyfriend Lawrence (Jay Ellis) and seeking advice from her lawyer best friend Molly (Yvonne Orji).
As a coming-of-age story, of sorts, about a young metropolitan woman trying to weave her way through her professional and personal lives, some may be inclined to compare Insecure to Lena Dunham’s Girls. Except, the greatest similarity between these two series is their stars are two talented writers who just so happen to have shows on HBO.
Maybe it’s because of the slight age difference between their characters, but there’s something more mature and thoughtful about Insecure. There’s no whining and each character is accountable for themselves, rather than blaming outside forces for their problems.
There’s a distinctiveness about the show, and yet its characters’ experiences are so common at the same time. I think that’s the greatness about the series: it sheds light on the “modern black experience,” while also remaining universal. Its characters aren’t limited by the stereotypical ideas of what it means to be black and have the black experience, because in many ways the black experience means having a normal, boring life that you’re oftentimes insecure about.
It’s refreshing to see a show starring black actors, where their characters aren’t pushing drugs or running from the ghetto by way of sport. One where the black girl doesn’t have to be hard or too proud or overly confident, but can just be another girl who’s allowed to be flawed and unsure of herself.