I like to watch certain shows alongside social media because it gives me the chance to see what other people are thinking without being burdened by the sound of their voices interrupting the dialogue. This has long been true for me when it comes to reality shows like Love & Hip Hop and The Real Housewives of Atlanta, melodramas such as Scandal and white-on-white-crime fantasy works like Game of Thrones. However, no show is able to match the same level of amusement and utter confusion I get from watching alongside the Twitter as Insecure.
Debates about Insecure remind me of the continual debates straight people have about topics such as $200 dates and ass eating. For me, I’ve never quite grasped why these topics are such stalwarts of online conservation among black millennials. Like, if you don’t want to spend that much on a date, you shouldn’t, and if you like ass that much and find a nice clean one in front of you, munch away. Well, with consent, obviously.
What I’ve come to realize is that straight people love arguing about shit and almost have a crackhead-like itch for it. Because Insecure is themed around young black folks constantly fucking and fucking up, constant debates and criticism abound. It’s like waving a pussy in front of that punk-ass, gross charlatan the whites and the clueless fools who want to be down with them call president.
All season long, I’ve watched debates about Insecure the same way I view the other aforementioned debates: like I’m at a zoo. No, heterosexuals, I’m not calling y’all animals. Just noting that I find myself sometimes feeling out of my environment, wondering if I am watching some kind of mating ritual themed around needless bickering. In any event, now that the second-season finale has concluded, I’ve decided to tip my toe in the wild with the anticipation that I’ll likely be mauled not long after.
Issa Rae is very gracious because for the life of me, I did not understand why so many folks acted as if her fantastic show were propaganda by the raw-dogging movement. As a black man who happens to be a practicing homosexual, I’m abundantly clear about the dangers that come with pleasure. Moreover, it is fair to argue that collectively, sex is everywhere, but sex education—including condom usage—not so much. Still, it felt peculiar to have Rae and her fictitious vehicle bear the burden of a problem—especially when she pinpointed that betcha by golly wow, bitches, there are condoms visibly shown on the show.
That said, even if there weren’t, the reality is, a lot of folks are not using condoms regularly. It is something we all have to contend with, but wagging fingers at Issa Rae often felt misguided. Besides, I’m more upset that Issa’s character didn’t have car insurance. Anyone who looks at dick pics while driving needs that—particularly if they live in Los Angeles, a bad driver’s paradise.
It’s also curious that no one really seemed to talk more about Issa’s job and how it tackled tensions between black and Latino communities. As a Houston native who’s attended primarily black and Latino schools, it was interesting to see so many folks gloss over a subject not a lot of shows bring up. Or maybe folks just want Issa to apply to grad school. Or I don’t know, CONDOMS. Y’all got it.
Then there was the “everyone on the show is so unlikable” argument.
First of all, this isn’t true; Kelli is incredibly likable, and Derek DuBois is lovable because he’s fine. Bonus: Thanks to Google, I just realized he’s Creole, so we’re engaged in my mind. I’ll soon update this to let you know where we’re registered.
What I genuinely love about this show is that most of the characters are frustrating. Molly, who is basically Toni Childs II, shouldn’t be fucking Jidenna Jr. Issa should have dumped Lawrence before she cheated on him. Lawrence should have gotten on an antidepressant at least one year into allowing his girlfriend to monetarily support the both of them because he just seemed to stop trying.
They all make pretty shitty life decisions, but more often than not, those decisions are grounded in character. I feel like some miss that, when everyone’s choices are exposed as they navigate life and learn themselves, of course they come across as unlikable at times. Most of us wouldn’t be deemed likable, either, if our mistakes were put on full display. I’m writing a book about my life now, and I’ve called myself a stupid thot in my head at least 17 1/2 times already.
I’m not sure what this line of critique is rooted in. Perhaps it’s not seeing a character like Issa be the driving force of a show. Maybe it’s some viewers being used to seeking out some morally redeeming quality when we watch TV—a feature largely absent on Insecure. To wit, I saw a critique in which someone asked if we would ever have a show starring a “happy Black girl.”
What does happiness look like, exactly? Issa and, by extension, everyone on the show are a bunch of, what? Twenty-somethings and 30-somethings trying to figure out life? In doing so, fuckups will abound. Issa’s life could be a bit more together, but the same can be said of most of us. Is that not part of the journey of life? It appears that some confuse projecting perfection with happiness. You can still be happy as you try to sort things out.
Meanwhile, conflict is the basis of a television show, so if Issa were skipping around Los Angeles because everything was so awesome in her life, she’d probably be dismissed as an unrealistic bore not reflecting the struggles many of us have, which the show is supposed to be shedding light on.
Me, myself, personally, I love watching these people screw up so much because it’s escapism from my own brand of nonsense.
One line of critique that I don’t completely disagree with is that Insecure may sometimes do things that purposely try to elicit shock and awe from its Twitter-savvy viewership. That’s ingenious in terms of making sure the show stays on our feeds, but in some cases, it comes at the expense of character development.
For instance, in one of the final scenes of the season finale, we finally saw Lawrence and Issa have the sort of intimate moment that makes you care about the dissolution of their relationship. It’s time for something new for both of them, Issa in particular, because with all due respect to #LawrenceHive, outside of a man being cheated on triggering male egos all over, what has been his purpose? Nice to look at, but he can leave.
Again, I applaud Issa’s graciousness. I don’t think any show is above criticism, but you know, a lot of niggas can be draining with their shit. I was actually impressed with the growth of the second season. I hope to see more of that in the third.
And God almighty, may the conversations about Insecure grow along with it. In the meantime, enjoy the latest cycles of the other Twitter staple debates, y’all. Also, shoutout to each of us with a Molly in our lives who at this very moment is texting us about some dude we’ve already declared 10 times over is no good.