Posts tagged Insecure
Insecure S3E8 - I See You Issa! *Lawrence Voice*

Ghost Like, the season finale of Insecure, directed by Regina King, kicks off with Issa (Issa Rae) struggling to plan her block party. Abandoning the idea for now, Issa shares with Molly (Yvonne Orji) that she blocked Nathan (Kendrick Sampson), shifting her energy to celebrating her 30th birthday and focusing on beginning a new career. Issa finally gathered the confidence to apply for work at The Beat Crew, seeks new professional acquaintances and steps into her own light.

“I just want to be drama free and happy”
— Issa

Issa’s longing to be drama free will be a little difficult considering her best friend is Molly.

With ever growing work problems, Molly tries her best to remain resilient. After going behind Taurean’s (Leonard Robinson) back and presenting their work on her own, the energy between them has been off. She attributes her professional struggles to being a woman, which can account for some of the double standards, placing Molly in less than happy situations. Yet in typical Molly fashion, she has yet to own up to her own gripes.

Although Taurean was not so impressed with Molly’s takeover, the partners at the law firm were. The two were named co-leads on the important case and Taurean claims Molly’s aggressiveness will suit them well, a description in which she visually disapproves. Later on, Taurean leaves Molly to lead on her own. During a movie screening where the ladies celebrate Issa’s 30th birthday, Molly runs into Jared, and wrongfully assuming his sexuality, ending up looking shamefully embarrassed in front of his new girlfriend, Issa and Kelli. Molly’s only saving grace is apologizing to Andrew (Alexander Hodge) after an episode of shenanigans and being read for filth by Issa.

Nathan finally comes back after going full Danny Phantom for a month, but to his surprise, Molly stepped up and blocked his seemingly swift return. Showing up with flowers hoping to speak with Issa, Molly let’s him know that “nah, it’s her birthday and she happy. You not ‘bout to fuck it up.”

A move that many on Twitter disagreed with, Molly had her friend’s best wishes at heart. Knowing Issa wanted a fun, drama-free celebration of thirty years of life, Molly made the executive decision to not allow Nathan to pop up and ultimately turn the party upside down. Issa literally lost her mind while he disappeared, so why should he be allowed to surprise visit on a landmark birthday?

Lawrence continues to infiltrate season three as we meet his father, who drops some gems on his young and dumb son. Lawrence tries to convince his father that although he and Issa are talking, they are “done done” but follows it up with stories of failed dates. His father, Marcus Walker, an elder who is true to the game takes the time to explain why no successful relationship is as easy as meeting, falling in love and walking down the aisle.

“Your mama and me had matching luggage then. We put in work.” says Mr. Walker, referring to Lawrence’s unrealistic request of a woman without baggage. The encouraging speech of creating your own happy ending hopefully did not fall on deaf ears.

For Issa’s birthday, Molly and Kelli (Natasha Rothwell) orchestrate a day together, meeting at the graveyard for a screening of The Last Dragon. Lawrence, Chad and the gang are also at the very public event. With her typical punch lines, Kelli shares that Tiffany decided to have her be the godmother of her light-skinned baby. High on good news, with the clink of champagne flutes, Issa’s thirtieth birthday officially begins, with her gazing at Lawrence from a distance.

“Look at us. Thirty. Single. Black. Out here thriving. Looking like all three Jennifer Hudson’s”
— Kelli

Lawrence meets up with the guys and sees Chad, caressing a Balmain purse, learning that his fiance took him back despite the cheating. Once again, hearing how much work it took to resolve and maintain a happy relationship, the gears in Lawrence’s brain continue to shift. Could he be having second thoughts about forgiving Issa? As the night passes, Lawrence makes his way to join Issa on bringing her a box of raisinets to wish her a happy birthday so maybe, but then again maybe not.

After the event, Issa speaks with the event planner, an acquaintance of Tiffany’s she met at the baby shower. Getting the encouragement she needs to take another shot at planning her block party. Excited to share this information with Molly following the movie night, her best friend is not as supportive as she may have thought. Despite the blowback from Molly, Issa meets with her new colleague, aiming to bring her block party dreams to fruition. After an afternoon of planning Issa leaves to talk to Nathan while her new friend rushes out to her date with…..Lawrence.

*PLOT TWIST*

All of the messages Lawrence received about dating and relationships, despite foreshadowing a reconciliation, pushed him towards hopefully officially closing the Issa chapter.

Team Issa

Issa meets up at Nathan for an unnecessary but deserved explanation for his disappearance. Sharing with Issa that he went back to Houston, Nathan appeals to everyone who is also dealing with a lot of shit. Nathan describes how every so often, he enters a prolonged, down state of mind and not wanting to put Issa through his negativity, he decided its best to shut her, and the world, off.

“So you ghosted me and left LA ‘cuz you were in a bad mood?”
— Issa

After his apology, Issa decides she needs some time to figure out what she wants; a glimmer of hope that Ms. Dee is finally reaching her full form. She rolls up her sleeves and begins to unpack her new apartment, although residing there for a month. Unsettled in her discomfort, Issa finally makes strides to satisfy herself. Adding the final touches to her new home, Issa sits by herself, on her own couch, on her own place, gleaming with gratitude, a 180 from how she began this season.

Season three as a whole felt anti-climatic. Although enjoyable, somehow everything happened and yet nothing happened simultaneously. However we did get to learn more about the characters, and introduced (and dropped) some key names. The series explored workplace microaggressions, mental health, ghosting, relocating and just about every other issue millennials face today. Hopefully season four continues the glow-up. While I expect more Lawrence and Nathan, I hope we also get more happy Issa, conquering her thirties.

Insecure S3E6 - Sorry To Call You Like This

Episode six of this season’s Insecure, Ready Like, continues to explore the monumental shifts experienced by many during early adulthood. Last week’s episode of Insecure had viewers shook as Lawrence (Jay Ellis), Issa’s (Issa Rae) ex-boyfriend weaseled his way back on the screen.  Just as Issa seemed to be moving on, Lawrence somehow magically appears. Bouncing back from a SUPER LIT weekend at Coachella, the girl gang calms it down and prepares for Tiffany’s (Amanda Seales) baby shower. This episode focuses on many aspects of life changes as adulthood really sets in.  

Beginning where last week’s cliffhanger left off, Issa and Lawrence cross paths at the 7-Eleven and briefly catch up. While Issa has experienced a few hardships, Lawrence has been working hard professionally and at home. Viewers learn that since their breakup, Lawrence put his good looks to use to sleep with just about every woman who crosses his path.

When season one of Insecure kicked off, a portion of viewers questioned the lack of protection all of the intimate black and sexy scenes and it looks like “Lawrence Hive” gets to learn the lesson. A very real result of his casual sex spree: chlamydia. We then see Lawrence go through his phone and call all of his sexual partners and inform them to get tested, an applaudable move for someone who clearly makes questionable decisions.

During these dozens of phone calls, Lawrence even calls a woman who he has not yet slept with. He literally cannot keep up with who he has sex with. The chlamydia seems to be sort of a wake-up call for Lawrence as he realizes “it’s gotta be more to my life than goin’ to work and fuckin.”

Lawrence claims he wouldn’t take Issa back after cheating but he’s frozen when he sees her at the baby shower. Issa breaks the tension or builds it by speaking first. They catch up and he offers to help with her block party business plan because he’s trying to get back in her life.

Run sis.

Just because he has community dick does not mean he can help with Issa’s community event. As the ex-lovers mix and mingle, they look happy. (I hate to admit that they look good together)

Although Issa and Lawrence may look like Blavity Barbie and Ken, Issa’s new man Nathan (Kendrick Sampson) still fits perfectly in her awkward puzzle. While working on planning her block party and launching a business, Issa questions if she is in over her head. Being discouraged from Inglewood desk clerk, the support from Nathan comes immediately. His ability to comfort Issa puts a smile on her face. Laying in bed, the two have a moment where they both say “I really like you” to each other. Initially shocked by hearing those words, Issa realizes she is allowed to vocalize her feelings, a huge step in her love life.  

Everything with Nathan is seemingly going but there is one catch to the mystery man: Issa texts and calls Nathan, often with no response. The fight in the party Lyft from episode one leads to an open investigation through the ride-share company. After calling Issa and leaving a message to get her side of the story, the Lyft associate eventually gets in contact with Nathan, even though Issa has not heard from “her man” in two days.

If communication is lacking with Nathan, Issa can depend on Molly (Yvonne Orji) and Kelli (Natasha Rothwell) to deliver their honest and loving opinions. During their Coachella adventure, Molly left her jacket with Andrew (Alexander Hodge), Nathan’s Asian friend who wants to get to know her more.

Why can’t I be Orthodox black?
— Molly




Molly claims to not want to give Andrew a chance because she wants to marry a Black man, however there are underlying nerves keeping her from trying something new. With encouragement to venture out and date from Issa and Kelli, Molly finally texts Andrew after a tense interaction with Dro (Sarunas Jackson), her married lover, and an internal realization during Tiffany and Derek’s (Wade Allain-Marcus) baby shower.

Team KelliMollyIssaTiffany

This week, I am on the team of all the women, not in regards to their relationships, but the glue holding together their girl gang. Issa and Molly have each other, so Kelli - realizing she’s losing her best friend to a baby - is overwhelmed with emotion at the semi-glam baby shower after Tiffany left her out of the planning process. It would seem that Tiffany would have her best bitches' plan her event but she reveals that none of them stepped up and offered. Tiffany admits she waited till last minute to let Blair (Briana Henry) do it yet Kelli steps up, sharing that she did offer to plan.

Tiffany says she went with Blair as the head of her “crazy crew” shower because she’s a mother and it changes the entire dynamic. Tiffany, the only wife of the group, is soon to be the only mother as well. Watching friends hit life milestones and realizing that relationships change is real AF and it is easy to feel left out and left behind.

We’re always gon’ have life shit!
— Tiffany



Overall, the importance of sisterhood through friendship - made evident in all three seasons of Insecure - shines through in this episode, and while the ladies may be branching out, they’ll hopefully always have common roots. The next episode gets into Molly and Andrew (who I lowkey ship) and hopefully we get the 411 on Nathan.

2018 Emmy Predictions: The Handmaid's & Westeros Face Off
by Darius Gordon

by Darius Gordon

It's that time of the year again friends and I couldn't be thirstier: it's award SZN! The 70th annual Primetime Emmy Awards is tonight, and I'm coming at with that same energy we had for this year's Oscars. Last year, one of the best dramas to ever touch the small screen, The Handmaid's Tale, came through and dominated the Emmy’s, becoming the first streaming series to win Best Drama. If you aren't watching, get in tune.

Donald Glover also became the first African-American to win Outstanding Directing for a Comedy Series when he took home the award for Atlanta, while Chicago's own Lena Waithe became the first African-American woman to win Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series alongside Aziz Ansari for Master of None and Issa Rae gave us the iconic quote that stands true to this day…

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Both Atlanta and Handmaid's Tale have notched an impressive eight nominations, as did Saturday Night Live, but the biggest threat this year is the returning Game of Thrones and FX’s The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story, both leading all shows with nine nominations. Netflix leads the networks with an impressive 36 nominations, HBO with 35, and FX with 24.

A quick shout out to some winners from the Creative Arts Emmys this past week: Samira Wiley for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama series (Handmaid's Tale), Katt Williams for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series (Atlanta), and Tiffany Haddish for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series (SNL).

Anyway, let's get to my predictions the 70th Primetime Emmy Awards.

(winners in bold)

Outstanding Drama Series

  • The Handmaid’s Tale (Hulu)

  • Game of Thrones (HBO)

  • This Is Us (NBC)

  • The Crown (Netflix)

  • The Americans (FX)

  • Stranger Things (Netflix)

  • Westworld (HBO)

The big face-off this year is between The Handmaid's Tale and Game of Thrones. Thrones usually dominates the Emmy's with 38 wins to date, last year’s break gave The Handmaid's Tale a pretty easy path to the finish line. While the seventh season of Game of Thrones was by far some of the best television I've ever seen, Handmaid's Tale was that much better.

via FX

via FX

Outstanding Comedy Series

  • Atlanta (FX)

  • Barry (HBO)

  • Black-ish (ABC)

  • Curb Your Enthusiasm (HBO)

  • GLOW (Netflix)

  • The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (Amazon)

  • Silicon Valley (HBO)

  • The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (Netflix)

Outstanding Limited Series

  • The Alienist (TNT)

  • The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story (FX)

  • Genius: Picasso (Nat Geo)

  • Godless (Netflix)

  • Patrick Melrose (Showtime)

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series

  • Jason Bateman (“Ozark”)

  • Sterling K. Brown (“This Is Us”)

  • Ed Harris (“Westworld”)

  • Matthew Rhys (“The Americans”)

  • Milo Ventimiglia (“This Is Us”)

  • Jeffrey Wright (“Westworld”)

This category will be a tight one. Naturally, I'm rooting for Jeffrey Wright and Sterling K. Brown, but out of the two, Wright delivered such a compelling performance in this year's season of Westworld. However, Jason Bateman was spectacular and calculated in every scene of Ozark. There's a good chance that Brown could go for back-to-back wins after snagging his second Emmy win in last year.

via Hulu

via Hulu

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series

  • Claire Foy (“The Crown”)

  • Tatiana Maslany (“Orphan Black”)

  • Elisabeth Moss (“The Handmaid’s Tale”)

  • Sandra Oh (“Killing Eve”)

  • Keri Russell (“The Americans”)

  • Evan Rachel Wood (“Westworld”)

Sandra Oh is the first Asian woman nominated for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series. She’s locked in a battle with the favorite and last year's winner, Elisabeth Moss. As happy as I am for Oh, Moss really commanded every single scene she had in season 2 of The Handmaid's Tale.

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series (they won this and best directing last yr)

  • Donald Glover (“Atlanta”)

  • Bill Hader (“Barry”)

  • Anthony Anderson (“Black-ish”)

  • William H. Macy (“Shameless”)

  • Larry David (“Curb Your Enthusiasm”)

  • Ted Danson (“The Good Place”)

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series

  • Pamela Adlon (“Better Things”)

  • Rachel Brosnahan (“The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”)

  • Tracee Ellis Ross (“Black-ish”)

  • Allison Janney (“Mom”)

  • Lily Tomlin (“Grace and Frankie”)

  • Issa Rae (“Insecure”)

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series or Movie

  • Antonio Banderas (“Genius: Picasso”)

  • Darren Criss (“The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story”)

  • Benedict Cumberbatch (“Patrick Melrose”)

  • Jeff Daniels (“The Looming Tower”)

  • John Legend (“Jesus Christ Superstar”)

  • Jesse Plemons (“USS Callister”/Black Mirror)

via Netflix

via Netflix

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited Series or Movie

  • Laura Dern (“The Tale”)

  • Jessica Biel (“The Sinner”)

  • Michelle Dockery (“Godless”)

  • Edie Falco (“The Menendez Murders”)

  • Regina King (“Seven Seconds”)

  • Sarah Paulson (“American Horror Story: Cult”)

I might be a Sarah Paulson stan, and her work in American Horror Story: Cult was incredible (the arc of her character was unlike anything we've seen from her), but miss Regina King had me damn near crying, screaming and cursing the TV out with her performance in Netflix's Seven Seconds.

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series

  • Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (“Game of Thrones”)

  • Peter Dinklage (“Game of Thrones”)

  • Joseph Fiennes (“The Handmaid’s Tale”)

  • David Harbour (“Stranger Things”)

  • Mandy Patinkin (“Homeland”)

  • Matt Smith (“The Crown”)

via Hulu

via Hulu

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series

  • Alexis Bledel (“The Handmaid’s Tale”)

  • Millie Bobby Brown (“Stranger Things”)

  • Ann Dowd (“The Handmaid’s Tale”)

  • Lena Headey (“Game of Thrones”)

  • Vanessa Kirby (“The Crown”)

  • Thandie Newton (“Westworld”)

  • Yvonne Strahovski (“The Handmaid’s Tale”)

This is probably the tightest race in any category this year. Thandie is by far my favorite actress on this list and her role in Westworld's second season was phenomenal, but in terms of performance, Yvonne Strahovski went crazy in this season of The Handmaid's Tale. She'll be going against last year's winner, Ann Dowd, and the biggest threat on this list in Lena Headey. It's a close one, but Strahovski's performance was compelling in every single scene.

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series

  • Louie Anderson (“Baskets”)

  • Alec Baldwin (“Saturday Night Live”)

  • Tituss Burgess (“Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt”)

  • Brian Tyree Henry (“Atlanta”)

  • Tony Shalhoub (“The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”)

  • Kenan Thompson (“Saturday Night Live”)

  • Henry Winkler (“Barry”)

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series

  • Zazie Beetz (“Atlanta”)

  • Alex Borstein (“The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”)

  • Aidy Bryant (“Saturday Night Live”)

  • Betty Gilpin (“GLOW”)

  • Leslie Jones (“Saturday Night Live”)

  • Kate McKinnon (“Saturday Night Live”)

  • Laurie Metcalf (“Roseanne”)

  • Megan Mullally (“Will & Grace”)

via FX

via FX

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Limited Series or Movie

  • Jeff Daniels (“Godless”)

  • Brandon Victor Dixon (“Jesus Christ Superstar”)

  • John Leguizamo (“Waco”)

  • Ricky Martin (“The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story”)

  • Edgar Ramirez (“The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story”)

  • Michael Stuhlbarg (“The Looming Tower”)

  • Finn Wittrock (“The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story”)

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Limited Series or Movie

  • Sara Bareilles (“Jesus Christ Superstar Live In Concert”)

  • Penelope Cruz (“The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story”)

  • Judith Light (“The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story”)

  • Adina Porter (“American Horror Story: Cult”)

  • Merritt Wever (“Godless”)

  • Letitia Wright (“Black Museum” (Black Mirror))

Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series

  • F. Murray Abraham (“Homeland”)

  • Cameron Britton (“Mindhunter”)

  • Matthew Goode (“The Crown”)

  • Ron Cephas Jones (“This Is Us”)

  • Gerald McRaney (“This Is Us”)

  • Jimmi Simpson (“Westworld”)

Outstanding Reality Competition Program

  • “The Amazing Race” (CBS)

  • “American Ninja Warrior” (NBC)

  • “Project Runway” (Lifetime)

  • “RuPaul’s Drag Race” (VH1)

  • “Top Chef” (Bravo)

  • “The Voice” (NBC)

Outstanding Variety Sketch Series

  • At Home with Amy Sedaris (truTV)

  • Drunk History (Comedy Central)

  • I Love You, America with Sarah Silverman (Hulu)

  • Portlandia (IFC)

  • Saturday Night Live (NBC)

  • Tracey Ullman's Show (HBO)

Outstanding Variety Talk Show Series

  • The Daily Show with Trevor Noah (Comedy Central)

  • Full Frontal with Samantha Bee (TBS)

  • Jimmy Kimmel Live! (ABC)

  • Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO)

  • The Late Late Show with James Corden (CBS)

  • The Late Show with Stephen Colbert (CBS)

Outstanding Directing for a Comedy Series

  • Atlanta (Episode: "FUBU"), directed by Donald Glover (FX)

  • Atlanta (Episode: "Teddy Perkins"), directed by Hiro Murai (FX)

  • Barry (Episode: "Chapter One: Make Your Mark"), directed by Bill Hader (HBO)

  • The Big Bang Theory (Episode: "The Bow Tie Asymmetry"), directed by Mark Cendrowski (CBS)

  • GLOW (Episode: "Pilot"), directed by Jesse Peretz (Netflix)

  • The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (Episode: "Pilot"), directed by Amy Sherman-Palladino (Amazon)

  • Silicon Valley (Episode: "Initial Coin Offering"), directed by Mike Judge(HBO)

While "FUBU" was an incredible episode of Atlanta, "Teddy Perkins" delivered on all fronts; the acting, score, cinematography, and overall tone of the episode was on point.

ice-dragon-1-970.jpg

Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series

  • The Crown (Episode: "Paterfamilias"), directed by Stephen Daldry (Netflix)

  • Game of Thrones (Episode: "Beyond the Wall"), directed by Alan Taylor(HBO)

  • Game of Thrones (Episode: "The Dragon and the Wolf"), directed by Jeremy Podeswa (HBO)

  • The Handmaid's Tale (Episode: "After"), directed by Kari Skogland(Hulu)

  • Ozark (Episode: "The Toll"), directed by Jason Bateman (Netflix)

  • Ozark (Episode: "Tonight We Improvise"), directed by Daniel Sackheim(Netflix)

  • Stranger Things (Episode: "Chapter Nine: The Gate"), directed by the Duffer Brothers (Netflix)

Here Game of Thrones finally bests The Handmaid's Tale. "The Dragon and the Wolf" was the season finale and man oh man, the moment that ice dragon melted the wall is when the Emmy win was secured here. The episode kept you on the edge of your seat the entire time; Podeswa's work does not go unnoticed here.

Outstanding Directing for a Limited Series, Movie, or Dramatic Special

  • The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story (Episode: "The Man Who Would Be Vogue"), directed by Ryan Murphy (FX)

  • Godless, directed by Scott Frank (Netflix)

  • Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert, directed by David Leveaux and Alex Rudzinski (NBC)

  • The Looming Tower (Episode: "9/11"), directed by Craig Zisk (Hulu)

  • Paterno, directed by Barry Levinson (HBO)

  • Patrick Melrose, directed by Edward Berger (Showtime)

  • Twin Peaks, directed by David Lynch (Showtime)

Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series

  • Atlanta (Episode: "Alligator Man"), written by Donald Glover (FX)

  • Atlanta (Episode: "Barbershop"), written by Stefani Robinson (FX)

  • Barry (Episode: "Chapter One: Make Your Mark"), written by Alec Bergand Bill Hader (HBO)

  • Barry (Episode: "Chapter Seven: Loud, Fast and Keep Going"), written by Liz Sarnoff (HBO)

  • The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (Episode: "Pilot"), written by Amy Sherman-Palladino (Amazon)

  • Silicon Valley (Episode: "Fifty-One Percent"), written by Alec Berg (HBO)

Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series

  • The Americans (Episode: "START"), written by Joel Fields and Joe Weisberg (FX)

  • The Crown (Episode: "Mystery Man"), written by Peter Morgan (Netflix)

  • Game of Thrones (Episode: "The Dragon and the Wolf"), written by David Benioff and D. B. Weiss (HBO)

  • The Handmaid's Tale (Episode: "June"), written by Bruce Miller (Hulu)

  • Killing Eve (Episode: "Nice Face"), written by Phoebe Waller-Bridge(BBC America)

  • Stranger Things (Episode: "Chapter Nine: The Gate"), written by the Duffer Brothers (Netflix)

Outstanding Writing for a Limited Series, Movie, or Dramatic Special

  • American Vandal (Episode: "Clean Up"), written by Kevin McManus and Matthew McManus (Netflix)

  • The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story (Episode: "House by the Lake"), written by Tom Rob Smith (FX)

  • Black Mirror: USS Callister, written by William Bridges and Charlie Brooker (Netflix)

  • Godless, written by Scott Frank (Netflix)

  • Patrick Melrose, written by David Nicholls (Showtime)

  • Twin Peaks, written by Mark Frost and David Lynch (Showtime)

Tune into the Emmys on Monday, September 17th and join me for a recap.  Check out more of my work here & shoutout to the homie, Darius Gordon, yet again for the dope thumbnail.

Nearly Canceled: Power EP 508 - This is Not a Power pod
Insecure S3E3 Backwards Like: Business Casual Casualties

The momentum of HBO’s Insecure starts to pick up in season 3 episode 3, Backwards Like. Issa (Issa Rae), Molly (Yvonne Orji) and even Daniel (Y’lan Noel) seem to have reverted to making bad decisions and only bad decisions which leads fans to wonder “what’s next?”

Issa, fantasizing about receiving oral sex from Daniel (yes the two still platonically sleep in the same bed) while devouring Hot Cheetos remains bound by her determination to move out on her own.  Issa and Daniel’s ups and downs are still results of their bad decisions yet Molly, Issa and Daniel shoot professional shots in the style of Plaxico Burress.

Insecure has always chronicled the entirety of Issa and Molly’s lives, not just the hook-ups and party Lyft fights. The intrapersonal and interpersonal struggles and strides faced in various professional industries by black millenials has been a secondary storyline of the series.

Molly’s struggle with her own self identity as a black woman in a predominantly white industry met with her professional insecurities have finally come to surface. Her new job at an all-Black law firm is seemingly a dream but due to Molly’s own self-sabotage it quickly turns into a nightmare.

They probably got shea butter dispensers in the bathroom and shit
— Molly

Her judgmental vibe of her new office and co-workers is only met with awkward laughter.

Molly’s never had all black co-workers before and as foreshadowed by this (PAINFULLY CORNY) joke, the culture shock hits head on.  Molly’s not so warm welcome to her new firm comes from her own unprofessional attitude. Feeling free from the whiteness of her last law firm, Molly did not realize the privileges were non-transferable. On her first day, Molly makes cringe worthy joke after cringe worthy joke, christened with “at my old firm” as she floats around her new office catching side-eyes from every angle.

Aye what you know about these mandolins, cuz
— Daniel

Daniel’s plight to upgrade from unknown soundcloud beats to platinum plaque producer hits a self-built brick wall. 

Daniel, who took Issa’s advice and reached out to their former classmate Khalil (Aaron Jennings), hoping to have his talents used by Spyder (Roshon Fegan), a rapper on the rise.  When he played the beat, sampling an Icelandic rock group, Khalil gives him some advice and tweaks it to something more Spyder’s speed.

Daniel let’s his ego get in the way, taking Khalil’s edit’s personal and when it’s time to play the track in front of the buzzing rapper, Daniel plays his version, potentially damaging his strongest professional relationship.   

#TeamIssa

We’ve given white people enough time.
— Frieda

Issa’s own professional struggles are also highlighted as We Got Yall’ continues to worsen by the day.  Attending a recruitment fair with other organizations advocating for increased quality of life for underprivileged youth, Issa is met with the opportunity to inquire about a position with a new company who’s flavorful advocacy is more her speed.

Introduced by a live performance featuring children sporting cultural face art, playing instruments and dancing, Issa finds The Beat Crew, a foundation offering musical and artistic support for children in the neighborhood, the recruiter on scene asks her if she’s on a job search. Instead of learning more, Issa says no and her coworker Frieda (Lisa Joyce) rushes her away.  Issa later attends an interview for an apartment manager position which is both part-time and on-call, resulting in her accepting the role, maybe the only semi-good decision of the episode.

Issa is slowly but surely sliding back into my good graces. Not only did she take a new job, that may not be ideal but will help her get back on her own, she stops herself from having sex with Daniel.  The Issa and Daniel situationship was beginning to work as a friendship and although dirty Daniel continues to make sexual advances, Issa is FINALLY becoming clear that it may not be the right thing to do.

Insecure S3E2: The Book Of Daniel

Lara been Croft and Daniel been... well Daniel. From viewer's first introduction to Daniel we see a confident, brash man with the world at his fingertips. As a professional music producer, Issa Dee’s natural ear for music align with his desire to create. Since insert time we are shown a Daniel who commands attention, yet his manhood took a blow. Daniel’s character on Insecure has evolved from the man Issa cheated with to insert yet his demeanor rang mysterious. “Familiar Like” explored the makings of Daniel, exposing the insecurities  beneath his (fine ass) surface.

 

An episode nuanced with references to viral memes and videos, "Familiar Like" took a different approach than we normally see from Insecure. We learn more about the insecurities haunting Daniel’s (Y'lan Noel) ego through social, familial and flirty interactions. Still playing it cool as roommates, Issa and Daniel continue to platonically exist under Daniel’s roof. Exchanging nonchalant text messages, viewers learn that Daniel has spent the past three nights with a social media-absorbed fling and lover of “light skin love”.

Issa, dealing with her own professional and personal struggles, plays keen to Daniel, pretending not to be bothered by his physical and mental absence. Their dedication to not exploring their mutual romantic feelings for each other holds strong. While the two toy with each other's (and their own) emotions, we learn that Daniel is just as awkward and insecure as Issa, and watch how her charisma and his passion balance them out. 

Daniel, invited to a club to check out an artist by his sketchy friend Seven, ultimately changed his mind. Seven, not able to attend anymore, discouraged Daniel, placing his drive on the bench. Issa convinces Daniel to go out by joining him. At the club, we would think that Daniel, a music producer (and we now know a former drug dealer) would have all of the juice yet that cup runs dry. 

Before the two enter the club, there's trouble at the door. Daniel, assuming they would gain entry on Seven's word, was denied, thus beginning his downward spiral. Issa, reconnecting with one of their childhood friends Khalil (Aaron Jennings) at the door ,got them into the club.  Inside, Daniel's solid swagger began to disintegrate. From getting approached by women only to get curved when they learn he is no longer in the weed game, and fumbling through conversation with Spyder, (Roshon Fegan) the artist he attended to see, I thought the episode would end with Daniel crying in the car. 

My pessimistic vision came partially true. After the club is shut down by gun fire, Issa and Daniel go for a late night meal where things get real. We see what makes Daniel and Issa friends beyond sex and physical attraction. Daniel reveals his professional frustrations with being an unknown Soundcloud producer. 

I ain’t trynna hate or nothing, but it’s like I got good and Khalil got famous
— Daniel

His insecurities on the table, Issa not only offers encouragement and sympathy but also solutions. Daniel's vulnerability to Issa shows his true passion for his music and the amount of weight her word means. Every step of the way, Issa had Daniel's back emotionally while he looked out for her physical well being. Issa's advice did not fall on dead ears. Daniel puts his pride on hold and reaches out to Kahlil for professional advice and possible collaboration. Shots rang out at the club, Daniel immediately scooped Issa, complaints about neck pain, he gives her a massage and offers his bed. 

Sharing multiple intimate moments this episode, the two never actually have sex. By the time it is over, viewers are just as confused by their situation as the characters themselves. Having watched Issa and Lawrence's relationship fail, the hope for Issa and Daniel is a slippery slope. In ways, Daniel is everything Issa hated about Lawrence, but now homeless and working two terrible jobs, Issa too shares these personal and professional gripes. As Issa continues to stay on Daniel's couch, will their relationship blossom? 

Elsewhere, episode two continues to explore the dangers of We Got Yall as Issa seems to be near breaking point as the token black women at work. Called on to call-out the companies problematic ways by her non-black co-workers, Issa explains how awkward it is to be expected to perform "angry black woman" on cue. 

Hopefully episode three involves professional growth for Issa, clear and precise communication between Daniel and Issa and of course, more Kelli. 

#TeamKelli

Kelli (Natasha Rothwell) is Issa's "tell it like it is friend" who never holds back. A financial advisor, Issa seeks Kelli's advice and guidance as she continues her search for a place to live.  Kelli, who is not only good at her job but a good friend, advises Issa to halt frivolous spending and ultimately pushes her to ask Daniel to stay longer.  Kelli keeps Issa in necessary check. Her aggressive demeanor is cloaked with kindness and humor, leaving Issa with some serious advice. 

Kelli: Don’t look a gift horse in the dick.
Issa: That’s not a saying.
Kelli: It is. My grandmother said it to me.
Insecure S3E1: Who’s Couch Is It Anyway?

Insecure season three kicked off "Better-Like" in a manner only main character Issa (Issa Rae) and her antics could. By exploring the ups and downs of adulthood, Insecure shares situations that many have been in but few will speak on; the multidimensional, all around flawed nature of characters allows the audience to engage honestly, often times exposing ourselves through the messy lives being played out on screen. The season picks up where season two left off, giving viewers a glimpse of the continuing saga of Issa's love life, along with a deeper look at the toxic nature of white saviors through the exposure of her non-profit gig We Got Y'all, and we're also introduced to the show within a show, KEV-YN - a modern reboot of a 90s sitcom.

The situationships between Issa and Daniel (Y'lan Noel), along with Molly (Y'vonne Orji) and Dro (Sarunas J. Jackson) attempt to stride towards growth by setting boundaries, yet unclear communication paired with controlling, manipulative behavior creates chaos for all four parties. While a common theme seems to be controlling your own narrative and setting boundaries, Issa, Molly, Dro and Daniel all struggle to fully take charge.

Residing on the couch of her former fling Daniel, Issa’s continues to pile up L's. The season opens with Daniel having sex with a brown skin woman presumed to be Issa until it's made aware that our favorite awkward Black girl was only listening from the living room sofa. As the sex gets even louder we learn Issa is now a Lyft driver as she leaves the house to earn money on the side. Her status at We Got Yall has downgraded from in the field to on the phone. While Issa is both romantically and professionally spiraling downward, BFF Molly has everything in order, from the outside looking in.

Getting wined and dined by vacation bae, and multiple men in triple text territory, Molly’s hoetation is unphased. While she seems to enjoy dick on-demand and professional achievements, her mask is removed and the result is not dewy skin. Both Issa and Molly refuse to acknowledge the feelings they harbor for the men in their life.

“I just think we know better” mutters Issa after refusing a kiss from Daniel. An intimate conversation left Issa facing questions from Daniel and no amount of deflection could save her. Confronted with the fact that she could have stayed elsewhere yet found refuge in his living room, Issa retorts to simply stating she needed a place to stay.  Instead of discussing why she felt his space was where she needed to be (beyond being close to work) Issa creates a reason to leave the room. While Issa shies away from verbally expressing what she really wants from Daniel, Molly is clear with her intentions with Dro but, do their results differ?

Back in California from a tropical vacation, Molly returns on some self-proclaimed, “know better, do better shit”, yet when it comes to Dro, the tables turn. Molly attempts to establish clear boundaries with Dro, who still in his “open marriage” and takes the top spot in her hoetation.

After a long night of steamy sex, Molly’s “bloop, blip, blap, blam” mindset seems to kick in. An offer to cook breakfast interrupted by a phone call from his wife Candace, Dro (who acknowledges Molly to his wife, seemingly confirming the open relationship) continues with his proposal of a pancake breakfast.

We need to decide whether we are friends who don’t have sex or acquaintances who just have sex. - Molly

The lightbulb in Molly’s head went off as the decision was made to continue to have sex and cease other interaction; she immediately put Dro out. While this power move in reclaiming her vagina monologue seems to have boosted Molly’s confidence, those words were not followed with action. Despite laying down rules of no texts, no calls, no dates, Molly doesn't hesitate to communicate with Dro. Her desire to exist as a carefree sexual being is drowned by a flood of sensitivity.

Issa and Molly navigate themselves on opposite sides of the same road accompanied by dim street lights and echoes of silence.  They both vocalize what they think they should want only to be haunted by their inner desires and it shows. Molly believes she has developed the fortitude to break the emotional ties of a “fuck-buddy" while Issa thinks pretending feelings do not exist will actually cause them to fade away.

The flawed existence of Issa and Molly do not excuse the trash demeanor of their male counterparts. Both men exploit the feelings Issa and Molly with shrewd behavior.

Daniel is taking the Future route, adding to his collection, parading his sex life in front of Issa instead of clarifying his sentiments. Getting the heads up from her roommate Daniel about his company, Issa decides to command a “Party Lyft” with Molly riding shotgun. Armed with Capri-Suns and a playlist featuring City Girls and Cardi B, the two meet some of Los Angeles’s most interesting characters.

Like most good parties all vibes come to an end often violently. While Issa and Molly text men they claim not to care about, a fight breaks out in the back of Issa’s sedan between her ride-share passengers. As the night passes, Issa finds her way back to Daniel’s couch where still confused by Issa’s unclear motives again challenges her to just be real.

You said you that you came because you wanted to be close to your job now you’re telling me that you got feelings n’shit so like what is it?...I’m confused.” - Daniel

”Both N*gga I don’t know - Issa

Although admitting she still has romantic feelings for Daniel, Issa again refuses to fully unpack her emotional baggage, relying on the strength of their former platonic friendship to carry them to peace.

Molly’s attempts of keeping their relationship to bedroom meetings only struggles to succeed when faced with Dro’s manipulative behavior.  Undeterred by new rules, Dro uses his own key to Molly’s place to let himself in, claiming she was not answering. A surprised Molly emerges from the bathroom, flirting with Dro, even kissing him, however a sign of hope prevails as she demands he return her key.  In a perfect world, the key would have been handed over, yet Dro reaches into his contriving card deck and flips over a jester. With Molly standing firm in her decision, he returns the key after advocating against it, even telling Molly he and his wife are not her business, and hesitantly leaves.

#TeamNathan

All of the characters need to not only decide what they want, but learn how to be honest with themselves and others. After week one, I’m not #TeamIssa, #TeamMolly or even #Team Lawrence.  My allegiance lies with Nathan (Kendrick Sampson). A transplant to Los Angeles with a southern accent, Nathan allows both Molly and Issa to change his destination, sparking a genuine sense of curiosity. Laughing about how the girls picked him up because he was fine, Nathan became the life of the “Party Lyft.” The next customer however had a different night planned.

Entering the car, he complained about the flavor of Capri-Sun offered by Issa and began to roll a blunt and proceed to smoke. When told by both Molly and Issa that the Party Lyft was a smoke-free occasion, the confrontational rider continued his anti behavior. Nathan decided to take the blunt and throw it out the window. This bold behavior lead to the aforementioned fight where Nathan left the guy in pretty bad shape. We later learn that Nathan tipped $50 for the Lyft ride. Hopefully his mysterious charm makes more appearances this season.

Twitter is helping to shape the conversations revolving around our favorite TV shows

Since the introduction of Twitter we have been blessed with an efficient platform for expressing our thoughts, emotions, and funny quips until our hearts are content. And quite often we come together and take in pop culture events like a family. We live tweet our praises or criticisms, observations, and sometimes how we relate to the material.

With shows like Insecure, Atlanta, and Master of None in which a romantic relationship aspect is a large part of the shows’ designs the thought of tweeting out how we relate to the material is very compelling. We choose sides like #TeamLawrence or #TeamIssa, and we rationalize the behavior and decisions of each character. Women can be found rationalizing how Issa had the right to infidelity because Lawrence wasn’t living up to his responsibilities. You can find men rationalizing Dev’s decision in Master of None to proudly, boldly break up an engaged couple.

We all have different experiences and when these shows strike a cord with us it’s hard not engage with others who relate to us or see what people who engage in the material shows as we do have to say. I find myself re-watching these shows often because of the genius of them and I personally do connect with some of the stories. I tweet about them, text my friends about who is right or wrong, and I become fully invested.

These shows also expose the psychology and insecurities many of us have. Themes like infidelity and dishonesty being acted out in the shows can mirror situations we’ve been through and cause certain traumas to resurface. We broadcast all of these emotions on Twitter and it becomes a group therapy session or a week long argument. Memorandums on relationships are being sent out constantly. Men pretending to be devoid of emotion for women are acting out through 280 characters. Women being anecdotal and applying their experiences and those of the television show to all relationships to confirm the “men ain’t shit” mantra. A lot of times these conversations can be draining and no really productivity arises out of them, but the show creators must be ecstatic.

Creating shows that are reflective to the millennial dating experience and being able to connect with the audience in such a way is phenomenal. Episodes such as Master of None’s “First Date” in which Dev is on rollercoaster of date, scenes in Atlanta where Van and Earn are fleshing out their expectations of their relationship in painful fashion, or Issa confessing to Lawrence on Insecure, these shows have all of us reexamining our past romantic escapades. And we bring these experiences to the internet, whether to just to share or to engage with others the creators of the show and show-runners have done their job of getting us invested.