*Spoilers ahead, language, and my first time writing about sex – which shouldn’t even be a thing to be nervous about but hey…*
After two lonngggggg years, Issa Rae’s hit HBO show, Insecure, is finally back. And this season, Issa blessed us with 10 episodes. I. AM. READY. Do you hear me? What a perfect time for it to be back during the quarantine none of us were expecting.
I was ready for the bomb fashion each character possesses, the beautiful way the camera captures every character’s shade of Black skin, THE SOUNDTRACK, and the laughs and emotions that the show always brings me. I relate to many of the characters on the show. I see the Issa, Molly, Kelly, Tiffany, Chad, and Lawrence in me on very different occasions. I told my best friend a couple weeks ago that Insecure is the only show on TV (it used to be Insecure and Power until Power wrapped up) that is truly for the culture. It is so unapologetically, millennial Black…probably the reason I like it so much. Many of the scenarios that play out on the show are adaptations of some of our real lives. The show highlights friendships, career, emotional and sexual relationships, and if you watch with a close eye, it’s also political in some ways.
The season 4 premiere this past Sunday night covered a plethora of topics. I had to rewatch it to really set the basis for this blog post. Many of the topics intrigued me but I see it best to talk about two of them in this post and how they connect with me or others.
As a semi-thriving, 30-year-old woman, I value the deep connections I have with each of my best friends and my extended friends (extended friends – my real friends outside of my best friends). Friendship is what sustains me daily and what has gotten me through a number of good and bad times in my life. So, of course, the friendship stories in Insecure are ones that resonate with me the most [the second is the character’s relationships with men]. But, yes, as I was saying, if there’s one thing Insecure does well, it’s the friendship storyline among all of the main female identifying characters.
In every season, we’ve seen conflict and overtly petty things happen between each of the women characters. Season one, we saw just how deep into the “petty bitch” abyss each character could go. For example, Molly told Issa about her experiences with men and sex. Issa goes to an open mic at a bar and sings “Broken Pussy” in honor of Molly, humiliating her in the middle of the bar. AND someone recorded Issa and put it on the internet. Let’s not forget about the hot tub scene when Issa, Molly, Tiffany, and Kelly all go on a weekend getaway and all four of the women threw all the shade they were born with at each other. It was wild as hell.
From then on we would see small jabs they all would throw at each other.
[My favorite one was during the coachella episode when Issa was talking about how something didn’t make sense. Mind you, Issa didn’t have a job at the time. And Kelly says to Issa “You know what else don’t make sense (cents)?….or dollars?…..You”. ]
I say all that to say that we’ve seen many instances where these women should probably stop hanging around each other or they need to just not be friends anymore. They’re lowkey kind of toxic. Molly and Issa are absolutely toxic for each other. When one of them goes low, the other one can cut even lower. We saw no different in this last season. Before season 3 ended, Molly and Issa got into it after Issa’s “situationship” with Nathan came to a halt after he ghosted her. He showed up on Issa’s 30th birthday and Molly stopped him from going to see Issa. When Issa got mad, she started saying some hurtful things to Molly which made Molly fire right back.
The season 4 premiere opened with Issa on the phone with someone. Issa said to the person “I just don’t fuck with Molly no more” but then the show moves on to I think a few months prior to that. It shows Molly going to Issa’s apartment for Yoga. They were seemingly back to their old selves after the blow up on the season 3 finale. but you could see a bit of the awkwardness when they were in the clothing store together. After Molly found out that Issa was going to try to stay friends/work with Condola after finding out Condola was dating Lawrence, Molly immediately told Issa that her life “don’t have to be this messy” and that she’s “beginning to think she likes that shit”. Molly has a way of taking her frustrations out [in a negative way] on Issa when she is upset about something going on with her. Before this conversation, Molly just found out that guy she was dating, was dating other people.
I think that Molly and Issa need to call it quits. I think their friendship is at a good enough stopping point to where they won’t have any ill feelings towards the other because they mutually know they need to let each other go. I tried to think about how my friends would have communicated their disappointment in me. I know for sure they would never approach me the way Molly and Issa approach each other. My friends don’t sugar coat their feedback but they know how to deliver it in a way that doesn’t cut you down as a person. Molly and Issa seem to continue to cut into each other all of the time. I’m rooting for their Black woman friendship, but I also know when it’s time to let a friend go. I’ve had to let many friends go over the years. Most of it was due to the fact that we were on completely different life paths. Maybe Molly and Issa need to go down that “Road Not Taken” (shout out to Robert Frost for this poem) and see what else is out there outside of their friendship.
Another point I’d like to make is that it is absolutely okay for you to be friends with your exes new boo in certain situations. For Issa and Condola, they had a prior relationship with each other before Lawrence came into Condola’s life. I think they both made it awkward by letting the situation be awkward. Clearly Issa and Lawrence are done. I don’t see Issa trying to get back with Lawrence either. There are healthy friendships and relationships out there. If everyone has a mutual understanding and can conduct themselves as adults, I think it’s fine. Condola was a huge part of Issa’s new success and it would suck it see it fully wither away because Molly doesn’t think they should be friends or because both Issa and Condola aren’t mature enough to not let Lawrence get in between them.
Plus Sized Men:
“Welcome to a full sized nigga”. – TSA agent on Insecure (I feel bad for forgetting his name).
As I mentioned earlier, the writers of Insecure perfectly shape the relationships between the men and the women on the show be it sexually, romantically, or friendly. Last season, Issa was distraught that the connection between her and Nathan had suddenly stopped when he ghosted her for over a month. When he returned, he told Issa about his mental health issues. At the start of season 4, Nathan is nowhere to be found.
We do, however, see a scene where Issa is having sex with a plus sized man, who we later find out is a TSA agent. Now, I haven’t seen many shows that truly showcase a sex scene of that capacity with a plus sized man. I’m sure there are some out there but what I’m saying is, I haven’t seen many. The one I recall is the movie Notorious. And again, Notorious is a movie, not a show. Anyway, the scene begins with Issa and Mr. TSA having sex from the back and Issa is clearly not enjoying herself. She expresses her displeasure and they try something else. She again expressed her displeasure and they then moved to the missionary position where Issa was no longer experiencing displeasure. The scene changes to TSA getting dressed and he and Issa were having a very funny exchange.
I bring up the man’s body size for a few reasons. The first, as I mentioned before, we don’t see many bigger men in mainstream media be centered in that way. Society has a way of feeding us images of men and women who are seemingly “in shape” and it gets ingrained into our subconscious. Once we see those images over and over, anything outside of that is kinda like wtf? Not going to lie, when I saw Issa and him, I definitely said “wtf” for a quick second and then I checked my bias and said “I’m glad Insecure is being body inclusive”. The diversity advocate in me was rooting for the representation. We need to start normalizing all body types in these types of sex scenes because plus sized people also have sex and enjoy having sex. And there’s people out there who enjoy sex with them. Our society desexualizes (is this a word?) plus sized people too much.
The second reason why I mentioned his body size is because Issa absolutely looked very uncomfortable while they were having sex. I’ve had conversations with women who prefer bigger men and women who do not and their thought processes are on two different ends of the spectrum. Issa didn’t seem to enjoy it until he was on top of her. I thought about the times I was uncomfortable during sex with a plus sized man. My one of my exes is plus sized and my other ex gained a lot of weight while we were together. I remembered how sometimes I felt uncomfortable during sex from the sweat, or the other restrictions that came up, and their unwillingness to try to eat right or workout. It got to the point where towards the end of one of those relationships, I wasn’t sexually attracted to him anymore and we weren’t really having sex (probably why he cheated lol). But, how do you express that nicely? Especially because I used to be way bigger than I am now so I know what it’s like to not be seen as desirable. But I also saw my health at risk and needed to do something about it. So, while I am all about representation and ensuring all people have a right to feel loved and beautiful, I also recognize people have preferences and that’s okay.
Next, Issa and TSA guy seem to have a mutual understanding that their relationship is strictly based on sex. However, when Issa had him working the door at her block party, I started to question if Issa was using him. It’s one thing to just have someone slide over for a quick little razzle dazzle, but then to have him working the door at your event…and then did not ask him to come into the event and mingle. A little shady to me, Issa. But go off! If he was Nathan or someone else, I’m sure he would not have been working the door. Don’t try to hide the fact that you are sleeping with a plus sized person. Don’t keep them in the dark on the back burner. It’s not right to do.
The last thing that doesn’t have to do with body size but I believe is relevant here, was Issa being able to express her displeasure. Often times, women are afraid to tell a man during sex that she isn’t feeling it. I’m one of those women. I’ve never told anyone I’ve been with that I wasn’t enjoying what we were doing. I never wanted to hurt anyone’s feelings because the male ego is so fragile. So, when Issa was telling him she didn’t like it, I was sitting on the couch talking to the TV like, “Issa, I’m so proud of you for standing up for yourself”. Lol. Seriously, though. I’ve told a couple of my girls this before and they all told me “girl, you better say something”. It’s also like, I don’t think I’ve been with anyone actually interested in satisfying me or a woman in general. It’s always been about them. I’m to the point now that if I do have sex with someone, there has to be conversation beforehand and a mutual understanding that this just aint about you.
Insecure is my favorite show on TV at the moment and I am excited to see how the rest of this season plays out. I encourage you to watch closely to the characters and see how they relate to parts of your life.
❤ Queen T