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.
- Casting Gag: A major part of Molly's character is that she Really Gets Around (in fact at one point one character asks her, "Can you teach me how to ho?") and uses a lot of profanity. The actress that plays her, Yvonne Orji, is, in fact, a devout Christian, who only does clean comedy, and is saving her virginity for marriage.
- 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". Season 4's episodes are titled "Lowkey ___".
- 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.
- Never My Fault: Issa
- 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.
- "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Issa and Molly give each other these in the episode "Real As Fuck." Issa tells Molly that she is the common denominator in all her failed relationships with men, while Molly calls Issa out on how she complains about her job yet doesnt make any effort to change it (she also talks about how Issa doesnt deserve Lawrence because she cheated on him with her ex, Daniel).
- 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.
- 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. Season 3's show is Looking for Latoya, a True Crime parody.
- 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.