HBO has released a whole new slate of shows this fall that are generating a lot of buzz. Among them is Insecure, which follows Issa Dee, an awkward 29-year-old African-American woman, dealing with her love life and career fumbles. Issa is the kind of person that has conversations with herself in the mirror and accidentally waves to the wrong person in a bar, but she owns who she is.
What stands out about the show is how down to earth it is. It doesn’t rely on plot twists, classic TV villains, or a complex storyline like most television programs today. Instead the characters are allowed to shine and take center stage with relatable issues like having a crappy job or trying to leave a relationship you’ve outgrown.
The subtle humor in the dialogue and the situations Issa and her best friend, Molly, find themselves in is also a draw. In one part of the first episode, Issa breaks up with her boyfriend of five years. When she tells Molly exactly what she said to end the relationship Molly tells her that her wording wasn’t clear enough. Who hasn’t helped their best friend analyze a conversation? The way they talk to each other, in an insulting yet encouraging way, is exactly how you would expect two best friends to interact.
The fact that both lead characters are black is also an encouraging thing to see. Although there are several TV shows that have black lead characters like Scandal or Black-ish, most of those shows are either extremely dramatic or are sitcoms about families. Insecure doesn’t shy away from showing racial microaggressions that people of color deal with every day. Issa works at a non-profit organization that focuses on helping low-income black children get a good education, but all of her co-workers are white and ask her ignorant questions like if she knows what “on fleek” means.
While it’s important to have representation anywhere in Hollywood, Insecure manages to fill a void that was missing. It’s a show about two real black women dealing with day-to-day issues that most people in their life have had to deal with at one point or another. There is racial representation and real-life representation all rolled into one.
The roster of people working behind the scenes to bring Insecure to the small screen is as impressive as the premise. Insecure was created and co-written by lead actress Issa Rae, who also wrote and starred in Awkward Black Girl, a popular webseries that debuted in 2011. In 2015, she released a New York Times bestselling memoir titled The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl. Melina Matsoukas, the show’s director, is someone you might not have heard of. However, she has a hefty resume, having directed music videos like Beyonce’s “Formation” and Rihanna’s “We Found Love,” which won a Grammy for Best Music Video, among others. This scenario is two awesome black women working on a show about two awesome black women, what’s not to love about that?
The first season of Insecure is slated to have eight episodes and each one can be found on HBO Go. The next one will be available online this Sunday, October 16.