Insecure Review: S4 E1 'Lowkey Feelin Myself'
The much-anticipated HBO comedy, Insecure is back, albeit not with a happy start, with a hint fairly early in the episode that Molly (Yvonne Orji) and Issa’s (Issa Rae) friendship is in jeopardy. We see Issa on the phone saying “[she] don’t fuck with Molly anymore,” in what looks like a flash-forward and as the episode unfolds, we start to get a glimpse of what might have triggered this fallout. It’s hard to tell whether the tension between the two BFFs is a truly reliable foreshadowing of the rest of the season but the episode seems to be pushing us towards that. With that said, here are my hopes and predictions.
After three seasons of heavily centering their romantic relationships, I am ecstatic at the likelihood of a season with friendship as the main theme; and possibly a friendship breakup. Sure, romantic breakups suck but friendship breakups can be incredibly devastating and their exploration deserves just as much screen-time. Issa and Molly’s friendship has mostly revolved around whom they are dating (or not dating) and far too many of their decisions are fueled by this fact, its getting a little boring at this point.
I want to see a slow unfolding exploration of the little ways in which they fail each other; bad timing, wrong tone, projections, all the seemingly minor things that slowly corrode friendships. If there is any justice in the Insecure writer’s room, the main cause of conflict this season will not be a man...again.
“That missionary really be hitting though.” “I mean church is always the answer”
Now, I’m not calling for a total erasure of romantic encounters with men in the show. And even if I were, HBO’s unspoken ‘at least 2 sex scenes per episode’ policy wouldn’t let me.
Is 3 sex scenes a new record for Insecure? I think it might be.
The show loves a naked man’s butt, and one that we got a generous viewing of this episode belonged to Issa’s friends with benefits: Gabe a.k.a TSA bae (Paul Mabon). Hopefully, this is a season-long addition to the show as well as in Issa’s life. He makes her feel comfortable, the henny and weed “courtesy of TSA confiscations” was a sweet gesture, he wholeheartedly shows up for her during the mixer, and “welcome to a full size nigga”? *chef’s kiss* Gabe genuinely seems to be a great friend as well as, you know…beneficial. And a casual romantic relationship is also probably the best thing for an Issa trying to grow beyond her romantic life.
On growth beyond romance, the previous seasons offered glimpses into interesting storylines that haven’t been addressed since and I can’t help but wonder if abandoning these is depriving us of crucial insight into some of the characters. Molly’s parents and Tiffany’s (Amanda Seales) marriage are some examples but the biggest one for me is Kelli (Natasha Rothwell). We are now four seasons in and the show has offered us barely anything beyond a load of sexual innuendos when it comes to her character. Scripting a plus size black woman as mere comedic relief, when literally no other female character (even the peripheral ones) gets the same treatment, is edging onto trope territory. I sincerely hope they do better this season.
I don’t know that I thought this was as strong season opener but it did leave me hopeful and curious enough to save my judgment until more of the show unfolds. In the mean time, here are some random parting questions: who are Issa and Molly without each other? Will Molly let her fear of vulnerability get in the way of her and fine ass Andrew (Alexander Hodge)? Is Issa and Condola’s (Christina Elmore) friendship actually sustainable? Which other male butt are we going to see? Are they going to bring back Chad (Neil Brown Jr.)? That better be the last Nigerian joke they try to make.
The last one was not a question but felt necessary to mention nonetheless.
Here is episode one's soundtrack, enjoy!