Ever since the onset of season one, which premiered on October 9th, 2016, almost an entire four years ago, it isn’t baffling how or why this show’s flame has persisted to spark since its humble beginnings.
Since the initial premiere, the show has gracefully blossomed as one of the premier shows to come out of HBO in recent years. After comfortably nestling itself as one of America’s top-tier “dramedy” series and developing an almost a cult-like following under the creative helm of the creator and leading star Issa Rae, Insecure has solidified itself as a unique gem that seeks to explore the complex nuances of being “young, gifted and Black” within contemporary American culture and “figuring it out” during the twentysomething years.
For young Black millennials, this show plugs a stark void as it enlivens realistic, close-to-home storylines, shrewd twists and turns, and provocative plot points that capture their essence in the most candid and genuine manner possible. In fact, if Insecure were to be likened to a rapper, it would have to be Lauryn Hill. Its originality deviates from the pack and quite frankly, its caliber is once-in-a-generation. For all the pleasantries and sensations that accompany this show, there are four key reasons why fans of this show continue to come back. Let’s dissect and further understand why this hit series has and continues to be a hit. (BTW, if you’ve never watched the show, it would behoove you to do so before reading this. #spoileralert)
1. Its “messiness”
Comparable to the hyper attachment and love fans feel for reality shows like Love & Hip-Hop and Hell’s Kitchen, the same sentiment can be expressed for lovers of Insecure. The goodly acting and racy nature of the plots are what bring individuals to the table. But what keeps them there is the show’s retention rate when it comes to upholding “major drama” from season to season. Whether it’s when Issa cheated on Lawrence with Daniel or when Molly decided to have an affair with Dro, there is always some sizzling source of disarray that keeps fans reeled in and thirsty for more. In a major way, this portion of the show is what entices many of its viewers among other things.
Comparable to the sensation of riding a roller coaster, watching Insecure will ignite your adrenaline and stimulate your dopamine levels. All the stomach rumbling, inner pondering about what’s about to happen next, and the astonishment felt after putting it all together is an entire experience alone. Despite being somewhat dramatized, the mix-up that tends to manifest on this series time and time again is realistic and has a special knack of mirroring the sticky, awkward situations that sometimes occur in reality, especially among the lives of Black millennials. It’s a recipe that the show writers have honed and seemingly been able to perfect. Given how disheveled the finale of season four concluded, the drama seems like it will persist and is here to stay.
2. “Its relatable nature”
When getting acclimated to a show or series, we typically expect its components to veer away from the realm of familiarity, taking us into a new world or at least a semblance of something we have never seen. On the contrary, this common motif cannot exactly be said for Insecure. The characters exist in their own little world and usually maneuver a bit different from how individuals would in reality. However, Insecure is special because instead of crafting some fanciful society with phony characters that somehow find a way to subvert the rules and logic of living in an actual world, the show is adamant about imitating the fin, meticulous details of contemporary life as a Black person simply trying to make something of themselves in this world. Whether it’s test driving a gazillion partners before you finally find someone you vibe with like Molly or being/having an outlandish, unorthodox friend like Kellie or Chad, these sorts of archetypes are ostensibly flawed and for that reason, resonate with the everyday individual. But especially strike a chord with Black people.
The imperfections that exist among characters, whether they’re subtle or overt, are what make them so relatable. From the chicest, up-to-date fashion and music to the prominent L.A. locations and low-key contours of its culture, these features show keen attention to detail and demonstrate what level of beauty can be achieved once tapped into the potentially elusive details of modern Black life. Without a doubt, Insecure has set a major precedent for highlighting authentic features of the Black experience, as they manage to encompass so much depth into a single series. It is only right that they continue to feed this energy next season.
3. “Its depiction of Black people”
Contrary to how many shows/series of the past featuring a predominantly Black cast have portrayed Black people in a myopic, and sometimes, belittling light, the showrunners of Insecure have been resolute about doing quite the opposite. In fact, the last four seasons illustrate its penchant for subverting stereotypes, introducing its audience to different forms of Blackness, and highlighting individuals in a natural manner. Taking a play out of the premier playbook of the golden age of earlier Black sitcoms such as Living Single, Girlfriends, and A Different World, Insecure portrays a sprawling array of individuals with a new-age twist.
For a wide range of Black people, there’s an archetype on this show that most can connect in some shape or form. Whether it’s Nathan, the charming, southern-bred playboy who suffers from Bipolar disorder or Daniel, the aspiring music producer working to build his career from the ground up, these are versions of Blackness that exist and can be pinpointed in real life today. The show embraces a vast spectrum of physical Black complexions, which is a major stride in today’s present moving towards the future. Also, instead of presenting Black individuals who are burdened down by hardship and struggle similar to the narrative of shows in the past that have revolved around the Black experience, this series shines a conscious light on the Black come-up and all the opulence and splendor that accompanies it. Overall, they’ve achieved a level of Black representation that is beyond exemplary and can be considered to be an active manifestation of what the next wave of Black television and cinema will look like. It’s fearless, candid, and progressive. Just as they rock in real life, Insecure does a fine job of illustrating all the magnificence that comes with Blackness in a pristine, HBO-endorsed package.
4. “The Music”
Even though the show is great, the music is just as phenomenal. I mean, what’s an outstanding series without is an exceptional music soundtrack. On top of its lasting popularity and cultural impact, it has become an inconspicuous source for some of the hottest music out today. From the deftly crafted soundtrack to the snippets heard throughout episodes, it’s jam-packed with high quality, supersonic sounds. Primarily curated by the dynamic duo of former Music executive for Sony Pictures Entertainment Kier Lehman (Music Supervisor) and legendary R&B savant Raphael Saadiq and consulted by Issa Rae and two-time Grammy Award-winning music video director and an executive producer for the show Melina Matsoukas, they all collaborate to coalesce a rich, contemporary set of tracks that fit the vibe of each episode, as well as, craft the soundtrack for each season. What makes this feat even more impressive is the fact that they’ve been able to upkeep this flow of fresh and unique sounds for almost four years now.
Most of the tracks they highlight are R&B, Soul, Hip-Hop, and, Funk influenced with a tinge of L.A. inspiration as well. Instead of sticking to the classic, more well-known tracks, they exclusively enjoy extolling music from a balance of “up and coming” indie artists and the “latest and greatest” in modern music. Another very cool motif they tend to frequent is their knack for highlighting undiscovered/underground artists or artists who have a decent following but have yet to be heard on a wider scale. The list is interminable but some of the artists to garner the Insecure spotlight include GoldLink, Blood Orange, Thundercat, Buddy, Ravyn Lenae, Yung Baby Tate, Jidenna, The Internet, Anderson .Paak, SiR, Dreezy, Kamaiyah, Kendrick Lamar, SZA, Alex Isley, Bryson Tiller, Jorja Smith, LION BABE, Rico Nasty, and much more. This has been a win-win for all parties involved, as most of these artists have become more prominent since their features on this series. If you would like to check out some of the show’s music, they have a playlist on Spotify of all the music from season one — season four. Enjoy!
On the recap tip, there are a vast plethora of reasons why someone would love HBO’s Insecure. In fact, the reasons listed above merely scratch the surface. However, that’s the unmistakable allure of the hit series. There’s something in it for everyone. If you’re an avid fan of comedy, there’s that. If you revel in drama, there’s more than enough of that. The list proceeds. Anyhow, Insecure has established the golden standard on multiple fronts for what exceptional television looks like, in the Black sphere and otherwise. From the acute screenwriting to the riveting cinematography to the up-to-the-minute cultural allusions, Insecure has become a Black cultural staple and whether we are blessed with more seasons after this upcoming season or not, its legacy will stand the test of time. Salute to everyone involved in the creation and production of this groundbreaking series.