In Defence Of Molly Carter
To any true fan of HBO’s Insecure, it is clear that Molly (played by the wildly talented and now Emmy nominated Yvonne Orji) runs a fine line between being both Issa’s (Issa Rae) best friend, and biggest opp. While this may sound difficult to digest, surprisingly enough, Molly seems to be good at doing both. The writer’s room has done a tremendous job of making it easy to dislike Molly. This I need to admit before I begin making the case on her behalf.
Issa is hard to be friends with. Period. She’s unreliable and can be flippant with how she deals with or says things to Molly, even if they are hard truths she needs to hear. I sometimes wonder how Issa and Molly became friends, especially considering how dependable Molly is. Through it all, even a major fight, Issa has always been able to lean a shoulder on Molly when she needs to. The major point of contention with her and Molly is the difference in their approaches. Issa is able to sweep things under the rug and move on as though nothing happened, whereas Molly does well with closure from tackling things head on. This isn’t solely reserved to their friendship, but keeps coming up, even as recently as the past-ended season of the show. Remember the Thanksgiving when Molly and Issa were meant to meet to discuss the growing tension in their friendship? Aside from setting a place at the table for Issa, Molly was prepared to talk through their issues before they got too big to control, an approach that she would’ve appreciated in working to keep their friendship alive.
Thus far in her character’s trajectory, her most memorable storyline has been her reaction to finding out her father once cheated on her mother. For a lot of us, the concept of our parents being normal people just doesn’t make sense. It’s nice to think of them as people who are happy with the lives they’ve created. Thinking of them as people with emotions, who once had their own hopes, dreams and disappointments makes it difficult for us to remain the centre of their worlds in our minds and therefore it’s not something we consider often. But this was the card Molly was dealt with, and it’s been interesting seeing her go through the motions with regard to how that affects her relationship with her family. It made us realise how much of an idealist Molly truly is, giving depth to a character that was verging on tropey.
If we’re all being honest with ourselves, Issa does seem unconsciously drawn towards ‘mess’. Though it seemed like a jab when Molly first said it, Issa’s track record backs this up. From involving Daniel in ‘We Got Y’all’, to staying at his pIace as well as becoming friends with Condola. Either Issa is a really optimistic person or she secretly relishes in watching things come apart. Molly tries time and time again to make her see reason, and comes off looking like the bad guy for it.
Issa’s disdain for boundaries is a recurring theme on Insecure, and she’s rarely called out for it. Take for instance her request that Molly ask Andrew for help signing a headliner for her block party. At first glance, it was a simple ask, which wasn’t the problem. The problem was that after Molly said no, she found a way around this in asking Nathan to speak to Andrew on her behalf. While she technically adhered to Molly’s request, Issa could’ve let Molly know instead of going behind her back. Whether we like it or not, people are entitled to their boundaries. We can question or try to make sense of them, but part of respecting a friend is accepting the boundaries they set for themselves. The block party situation also highlighted just how little Issa thinks of people other than herself. She seems to be suffering from a strong case of “main character” syndrome, which is ironic considering she is the show’s main character.
This was well covered in the season 4 episode: Lowkey Done, in which Issa came to question her intentions as well as the motives behind them. It seems hard for her to consider a world outside of herself and to be fair, Molly wasn’t wrong in calling her selfish during their fight. Issa is focused on herself and her own problems, to the point that she fails her friends in multiple ways, like in not planning Tiffany a baby shower. It makes me feel bad for Molly, in that she has learnt to accept the little moments Issa ‘allows’ Molly to have, that aren’t about herself.
Given the choice between her best friend and boyfriend, Molly picked her relationship. However we may feel about this, Issa and Molly just weren’t in a good space. Things were not looking good for them, and neither of them were willing to do the work to make a bad situation better. AlthoughI’m not saying the choice was justified, I believe there’s reasoning behind Molly’s logic. For the first time since our introduction to the two, Molly’s love life was thriving. She had finally found a loving partner who didn’t hold her commitment to work against her. He was everything she’d been looking for, and she’d let herself fall for him with a sense of vulnerability she rarely allows her romantic interests. The relationship seemed to null the mistakes Molly had made in relationships past, which was refreshing to see. Try as I can, I can’t fault sis for wanting to see it work out.
So I pose the question, why can’t she have it all? Molly’s professional life seems to be on the right track. She can’t be asking for too much in wanting the rest of her life to follow suit. Things seemed promising with Andrew, but true to Issa’s foreboding, it just didn’t work out. From my point of view, it’s beginning to look as though Molly is feeling the pressure to conform to societal expectations and have a man in her life. As Dr Rhonda aptly points out, Molly believes her life should look a certain way, as opposed to actually wanting that for herself. The show runner, Prentice Prenny has promised we’ll finally address the root of Molly’s unhappiness, as well as getting a main LGBT character, aside from Issa’s brother. If rumours are to be listened to, Molly potentially dipping into the lady pond would really not come as a surprise to the die-hard Insecure fan. Sis stays turning the men away for no good reason. But if we’re all having our Insecure wishes come true, I’d just love to get to see Molly interacting with her mirror bitch. Because in my eyes, the only person who can get Molly together, is Molly.