"There is Insecure the art work, and Insecure the phenomenon," says Doreen St. Felix. "The show benefitted from the chatter in the late twenty-tens about television undergoing a 'Black Renaissance.' It was true, for a time, that (Issa) Rae was the only Black woman with a premium-cable series. But that statistical fact obscured what made Insecure compelling: its sense of history and community and genre. The series has always been a sitcom about sitcoms, television about television. It was not radical; it liked tradition. There’s no Insecure without Girlfriends. Rae employed a retinue of primarily Black writers and directors who gave the show a house style. And every season, except for this last one, contained a satirical show within a show. References were made to Living Single, Martin, Scandal. These gags clarified the ambition of this suave experiment: to gussy up the familiar with the aesthetics of the new. At the end of the fourth season, there was a 'twist' that many viewers found intolerable. It was soapy, critics argued, to tease another reunion of Issa and Lawrence, and then to introduce an unplanned pregnancy. Fair, but Insecure never promised realism. It was a risk, and an admirable one, to refurbish the tropes of romantic comedy. Still, Insecure could surprise. Some of the best episodes were references to Richard Linklater’s Before trilogy: long, meandering dates, with L.A. glittering behind the lovers. Insecure” filled the hunger we had for a low-key Black comedy of errors. It could have remained comfort food, but as the seasons went along the storytelling matured. The characters changed; aspirations to Black excellence were refreshingly disavowed. The shenanigans alternately vexed or tantalized you. Were you Team Nathan (Kendrick Sampson) or Team Lawrence? Was Molly ridiculous for shunning a lover because he had once hooked up with a man? (She was.) You became dedicated to Insecure as you might become attached to a sport. The theme of this final season is growth. The episodes I’ve seen are funny, melancholic, and not too ambitious plot-wise. The gentle momentum suggests that the series will give us an old-school, satisfying closure."
TOPICS: Insecure, HBO, Ava Berkofsky, Issa Rae, Lisa Joyce, Yvonne Orji, Cinematography