REVIEW: Age 30, sort of happily single, and Insecure

Season three sheds light on the psychological helplessness of hitting your thirties without a game plan. Picture: Supplied
Season three sheds light on the psychological helplessness of hitting your thirties without a game plan. Picture: Supplied


1Magic (DStv channel 103)

Monday, 9.30pm

. . . . -

Season three of Insecure is out, and it might just be the most relatable season yet, this time focusing on the psychological helplessness of hitting your thirties without a game plan.

We met Issa Dee (played by co-creator Issa Rae) in the Insecure pilot, when she was turning 29 and feeling stuck in her relationship with long-time boyfriend Lawrence (Jay Ellis.)

In season three, Issa is phasing into her 30s. Her career hits a wall when she is reduced to a desk job at her workplace, We Got Y’All, a non-profit that serves underprivileged children who are mostly black and Latino, and she decides to become a part-time Lyft driver.

Issa also finds her romantic life boring. Now that ex-boyfriend Lawrence is nowhere in sight (thank goodness), she is couch-crashing with Daniel (Y’lan Noel) – with whom she cheated on Lawrence – and has to listen to him having loud sex while she tries to sleep in the living room. Her life is a full-on struggle.

This is what Insecure does so well. It takes the moments of real life and magnifies them to get at the themes the sharp comedy wants to address. One of the show’s most steady themes is the difficulty finding a place where one can feel secure and be your best self – something that’s particularly challenging when you’re a black woman like Issa or her best friend, the continuously and superbly overconfident Molly (Yvonne Orji).

Conversations about Insecure often focus on the show’s sexual and romantic relationships, but it is just as skilful at capturing the unsettling nuances of workplace politics.

This season the show places Molly and Issa on separate yet parallel bumpy roads that demonstrate how easy it is to feel marginalised in any professional space.

Molly joins a new black law firm, expecting any feelings of “otherness” – which she had at her previous primarily white working environment – to dissolve. It’s a shock to discover that she’s just as likely to be left out and get hazed at her new job.

For Issa, as the only black staff member in an organisation that mostly works with children of colour, she continues to feel singled out among her allegedly woke white colleagues.

During a staff meeting about whether the We Got Y’All logo – a white hand reaching out to support black students – is racist, several white colleagues make the case that it is and should be updated. Eventually, someone points out that the only person in the room whose opinion is of real value is Issa’s – a rich irony considering she had previously flagged this issue with Joanne (Catherine Curtin), the head of We Got Y’All, but was ignored. She quietly agrees with everyone, while silently resenting the fact that her opinion only becomes valuable on other people’s terms and timelines. The scene brilliantly demonstrates the extent to which Issa has to assume a dual identity just to keep surviving in this world. Along with that, every major character at some point asks: “How did I get here? And what am I willing to do to blow up my life?”

While Insecure is currently mid-way through its third season, HBO has announced it is being renewed for a fourth season.

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