Insecure—Season 1

insecure season 1 poster issa rae episode guide
8.0 Overall Score
Story: 8/10
Acting: 8/10
Visuals: 8/10

Issa feels real and original

Short seasons

insecure season 1 title card episode guide

Insecure or Self-Destructive?

Issa Dee (Issa Rae) feels she is at a crossroads.  She has been with her boyfriend Lawrence (Jay Ellis) for years and their relationship seems dead and she doesn’t love her job at an outreach program called We Got Y’all.  Issa’s friend Molly (Yvonne Orji) has her own problems.  She wants a relationship but all the men she seems to date can’t live up to her standards.  When Issa and Molly go to a club for Issa’s birthday, Issa reconnects with a childhood friend named Daniel (Y’lan Noel) who could

Insecure—Season 1 aired from October 9, 2016 to November 27, 2016 on HBO.  The show was developed Issa Rae who based it off her Awkward Black Girl web series.  The series was released to positive reviews and was nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series—Musical or Comedy.

I decided to check out Insecure after listening to an interview by Issa Rae on NPR.  I liked her honesty and unapologetic opinions on things (while she also worked to explain them).  Insecure feels like an extension of Issa Rae and though the stories are fictionalized, the spirit and ideas are still there.

insecure season 1 episode 1 insecure as fuck classroom issa rae

Always good when a bunch of little kids manage to get the best of an adult…

You could argue that something like Insecure owes a lot to shows like Sex in the City.  While Sex in the City was a romanticized look at being single in New York City (who could afford to live like that?), Insecure feels like a much more real look at being single in the Los Angeles area.  I also like that in addition to her love life problems (and that of her friend Molly who presents another set of problems), Issa struggles with her career and job choices and what it is like to do it as a single African-American educated woman…it is not a voice you hear a lot in television.

I think a lot of people going into the series will probably either like or dislike Issa’s style.  I find the character likeable and realistic in her fallacies, but I can understand how some would find her and Molly annoying (they both keep making the same mistakes over and over again).  Issa’s acting style isn’t very polished and it sometimes does feel very “stand-up”, but other times (like her attempts to ease tensions with Lawrence when he confronts her about Daniel) feel very real.  I do like both Daniel and Lawrence (and the performances by Jay Ellis and Y’lan Noel) which is essential because it makes Issa more of the bad guy.

insecure season 1 episode 8 broken as fuck girls night issa rae yvonne orji natasha rothwell amanda seales

Girls’ night…I’m sure Issa can destroy these relationships if she tries hard enough…

The show also oozes Los Angeles which is fun.  Other than the beach and Malibu, it is the Los Angeles that you don’t always see, normal people, normal jobs, and normal views.  It isn’t Hollywood or Beverly Hills (though they do go to some great restaurants in the show).

Insecure is a show that is enjoyable even if you aren’t necessarily the target audience because it gives you one different perspective that you might not encounter, and it does it with humor and drama.  The show is full of real people who make real mistakes and you have to judge if that makes them bad people or if some mistakes can be forgiven.  It will be interesting to see where the series goes from here and how Issa’s life (and those in it) evolve.

Insecure—Season 1 Complete Episode Guide:

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“Insecure as Fuck”

1.1       Insecure as Fuck Airdate:  10/09/16

Issa Dee (Issa Rae) is celebrating her 29th birthday.  She’s the only African-American working at a community outreach program called We Got Y’all, her relationship with her boyfriend Lawrence (Jay Ellis) seems to have hit a dead end, and her girlfriend Molly Carter (Yvonne Orji) has found business success but not romantic success.  When Issa gets a message from her old “dream” guy Daniel (Y’lan Noel), Issa thinks this could be the opportunity she needs to turn her life around.

insecure season 1 episode 2 messy as fuck issa rae jay ellis

“Messy as Fuck”

1.2       Messy as Fuck Airdate:  10/16/16

Issa tries to decide what to do about her relationship with Lawrence as she stays with Molly.  Molly continues to try online dating with little success but a run-in with Jared (Langston Kerman) from the club could show promise.  Issa finds her job in trouble when she fails at her first big presentation.

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“Racist as Fuck”

1.3       Racist as Fuck Airdate:  10/23/16

It is beach day, and Issa finds that her coworkers might be undermining her.  Molly sees Jared but changes her tune when she leans he didn’t go to college…and she gets into the elusive dating circle called The League.  Issa and Lawrence question where to go next in their relationship.

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“Thirsty as Fuck”

1.4       Thirsty as Fuck Airdate:  10/30/16

Molly finds herself in a tough spot when the higher-ups at work ask her to talk to a new intern because she’s black.  Issa and Lawrence find they are back on path but Issa finds Daniel showing up at her work.  When Issa brings in Daniel for career day, the children learn about Issa’s rapping…and a video of her rap could get her in trouble.

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“Shady as Fuck”

1.5       Shady as Fuck Airdate:  11/16/16

Lawrence takes a job at Best Buy and questions if he is going anywhere.  Molly’s new boyfriend from The League seems like a good match, but Molly’s coworker Diane Nakamura (Maya Erskine) engagement party might show her error in judgment.  Issa’s attempt to get her rap off of the internet leads her to go to Daniel for help…and Issa makes a big mistake.

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“Guilty as Fuck”

1.6       Guilty as Fuck Airdate:  11/13/16

Issa debates telling Lawrence about being with Daniel and learns that Lawrence is getting serious about their relationship.  Molly’s reunion with Jared could be short lived when Molly learns about an encounter in his past.

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“Real as Fuck”

1.7       Real as Fuck Airdate:  11/20/16

We Got Y’all’s big fundraiser is happening, and Issa is taking the lead.  Lawrence gets good news on his job opportunities but questions who Daniel is after seeing a text message to Issa.  Molly runs into a former friend who tells her about therapy and learns Issa thinks it could help.  When Daniel shows up at Issa’s benefit, there could be trouble.

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“Broken as Fuck”

1.8       Broken as Fuck Airdate:  11/27/16

Issa, Molly, Kelli (Natasha Rothwell), and Tiffany (Amanda Seales) head to Malibu for Kelli’s birthday, and Issa finds Molly is still refusing to speak to her.  Lawrence has shut Issa out for sleeping with Daniel, but a weekend with his friends could be the make-or-break moment for their relationship.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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