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Series / Insecure

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Insecure AF.

Insecure is a 2016 HBO series created by Issa Rae and Larry Wilmore, based (partially) on the former's web series Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl.

Rae stars as Issa, a young woman working for a nonprofit organization whose looming thirtieth birthday prompts her to start rethinking her life choices, including whether or not she should dump her deadbeat boyfriend Lawrence.

Issa's best friend Molly, however, seems to have it all together — except when it comes to romance. Despite her job as a successful lawyer, she can't seem to find a man worth keeping.

Insecure has received lots of acclaim since its debut, thanks in part to its nuanced portrayals of blackness and female friendship, as well as carrying over all the aspects of Awkward Black Girl that made it work with viewers.


Troped As Fuck:

  • Black and Nerdy: Issa qualifies as this.
  • Boastful Rap: Issa makes rhymes as a hobby — not because she wants to become a rapper, but as a confidence-boosting exercise. She performs some in front of a crowd in the pilot episode, per her crush's suggestion.
  • Bratty Half-Pint: The kids in the first episode that Issa was teaching.
  • Experimented in College: Played for Drama. Jared reveals in one episode that he experimented with his male friend (but considers himself straight), which makes Molly uncomfortable. She asks her friends about it, and while Issa tells her that sexuality is a societal construct and she should stay with him, she takes the advice of her other friend, who says that experimenting makes Jared gay, and breaks up with him.
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: Every episode in the first season has the naming structure "___ As Fuck." The second season's episodes are "Hella ___". Season 3 is "____-like".
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  • Instant Humiliation: Just Add YouTube!: Issa's "Broken Pussy" rap becomes an embarrassment, as the kids at the school she volunteers at find the video and start repeating the lyrics.
  • N-Word Privileges: Issa and other black characters casually use the N-word in conversation with one another.
  • Put on a Bus: Lawrence in season 3.
  • Race Fetish: Lawrence has a threesome with two non-black girls who are only with him because he's black (when he can't go a second round, they complain that the previous black guy could).
  • Reality Ensues: When Lawrence's bus comes back, there's a Sex Montage of him hooking up with various women, however, the montage ends with him being diagnosed with chlamydia.
  • Really Gets Around: Molly.
  • Remake Cameo: Sujata Day (Cece in Awkward Black Girl) cameos as one of Issa's coworkers and Tristen J. Winger (Darius aka "Baby Voice") cameos as Issa and Lawrence's gang-member neighbor.
  • Sassy Black Woman: Molly has her moments, but Issa is an aversion of this trope.
  • Show Within a Show: Season 1 had a prison reality show Conjugal Visits, season 2 had Due North, a Soap Within a Show about slavery, and season 3 has Kev'yn, which seems to be Martin meets Living Single (complete with cameo from Erika Alexander) with a Cousin Oliver character.
  • Stereotype Flip: As stated above, Issa defys the stereotype of a put-together Sassy Black Woman who quips constantly and is highly confident. Instead she is awkward, often at a loss of words, and...well...insecure.
  • Suggested by...: Insecure was originally conceived as a spin off of Awkward Black Girl, but it eventually turned into its own thing with new characters.
  • Surrounded by Idiots: How Issa perceives her (predominantly white) coworkers.
  • Your Cheating Heart: Issa with Daniel.


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