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Insecure's Season 4 finale was uneven, but the series has been a balm that lingers on the joys of blackness

  • Issa Rae's HBO series gives "us a succor that is often missing in depictions of black life," says Angelica Jade Bastién. "There’s something moving about being able to escape into a vibrant series populated by beautiful and beautifully rendered black and brown folks that allows them to just be. The problems these characters are mired in lack the urgency and heartbreak of the current state of the world, for which I am thankful. It’s the kind of show you slip into like a warm bath, as its aesthetic, narrative, and sonic prowess work to create a series that is wildly engaging even when it frustrates occasionally. This season felt more mature than its predecessors, adding a heaviness to its typically gossamer-light proceedings through its exploration of the love stories at its center, especially the friendship between Issa (co-creator and star Issa Rae) and Molly (Yvonne Orji). Insecure has never been a wholly perfect series — it’s touched by a classism that can be frustrating and the finale has a markedly odd moment with cops — but season four felt like solace, bristling with mature storytelling and beguiling aesthetic dimensions. Even in an uneven finale that doubled down on the show’s worst impulses, there’s enough wondrous about the series, particularly in its aesthetic beauty, to keep me intrigued." This season, Bastién adds, "the grace of Insecure’s aesthetics finally matched the maturity of its storytelling," noting that "Insecure’s greatest strength since its very beginning has been the vibrant aesthetic and sonic dimensions that are essential to its portrayal of black life."


    • Insecure's finale was amazing after a risk-taking season: "That Prentice Penny chose to use the very fan theories that have dominated Twitter to force us to accept Issa and Lawrence’s new reality is brilliant storytelling," says Ashley Ray-Harris. "It’s also the perfect end to a season that gave Insecure more time and space to tell the story it wanted to tell. Even though Twitter fans called these possibilities out, they still didn’t feel like things Insecure would actually do. Penny’s script doesn’t just call our bluff, it makes sense of everything too.
    • Season 4 finale circled back to Insecure's true love story
    • Insecure took great pains to demonstrate just how emotionally damaging it can be when you fall out with your friends
    • Insecure ended the season by setting up the worst kind of plot device
    • Showrunner Prentice Penny on where things stand between Issa and Molly in the finale: "They’re going to be forever changed by this, forever humbled by this, and hopefully, forever close by this. I don’t think it’s about getting them back to where they were. I think we’re always going to have a version of them having fun together because they’re friends, but I think we want to explore what is that road back like and how is that road different."
    • How Insecure created the "realness" of Season 4: “If you were to go back today and watch the pilot of Insecure, you would see that this show looks different from other comedies, but we were also still growing into ourselves,” says producer Amy Aniobi. “I think there were things about it that weren’t always fully artistically consistent — and that’s no fault to who’s creating the show and who’s behind the camera — but it was because we were all learning.”
    • Music supervisor Kier Lehman on putting together the block party episode: "The big challenges were casting the performers and making sure that everybody fit with our storyline about celebrating Inglewood and South L.A. and to make sure that we were presenting artists from that area," he says. "Issa approved all the artists and the songs that they were going to perform." He adds: "It was tough because the deadlines were really tight. We had to make sure all of the music was cleared in advance since we committed to it on camera — there was no way to change it later. Most of the songs we used had never been cleared for film and TV before so the back-office negotiations hadn’t happened yet. They needed to rush to do all of that … and there were other songwriters involved or there were samples involved in some of the songs. It’s always something. So it did get hairy with those clearances but we got everything buttoned up and delivered in time."
    • Natasha Rothwell says she's not Kelly in real life "to a lot of people's disappointment": "But I have Kellies in my life and I think that’s why I love playing her, because she’s so unlike me," she says.
    • Jay Ellis on Issa and Lawrence: "It is one of our great love stories. I do believe that. I hope they make it work," he says. "I hope people don't give up on them because of this, because I think love in general is a bigger thing than that ... so I hope people will at least give them the benefit of the doubt and let them get there and let them figure out what's best for them."

    TOPICS: Insecure, Amy Aniobi, Issa Rae, Jay Ellis, Kier Lehman, Natasha Rothwell, Prentice Penny, Yvonne Orji, Music and TV