Series Review: 'Insecure' is a clever take on the black dating experience

Girlfriend sitcom 'Insecure' balances gloss with grit and has a killer playlist to boot, writes Bambina Olivares

14 October 2017 - 00:00 By Bambina Olivares
Y'lan Noel as Daniel and Issa Rae star in 'Insecure'.
Y'lan Noel as Daniel and Issa Rae star in 'Insecure'.
Image: Supplied

Insecure is the Goldilocks of girlfriend sitcoms. If Girls was overindulgent banality and Sex and the City was a frothy-with-moments-of-profundity modern Manhattan fairy tale, Broad City is the wayward child of both.

Insecure, on the other hand, is just right - sexy, clever, poignant, with the perfect balance of gloss, grit and a killer playlist to boot.

It's an engaging and sometimes fearless series that focuses exclusively - and refreshingly - on the black dating experience in an urban, upwardly mobile setting.

Thanks to Issa Rae, the talented actress and creator/producer of the series who plays the lead, also named Issa, Insecure feels real, depicting with humour and sympathy the challenges today's women face, whether it's maintaining long-term relationships, bouncing back from infidelity, jumping back into the dating pool or finding closure.

It's also frank and raw in its portrayal of sex, capturing both its urgency and awkwardness, with a lot of male booty on display.

One such awkward coupling involved a blowjob, which was framed as something African-American women didn't want to indulge in. I would have thought that blowjobs would be part of foreplay; isn't any woman whose blowjob game is strong said to be a keeper? And wouldn't a woman want her man to return the favour?

In a nutshell Issa and Lawrence, her boyfriend of five years, have split after she confessed to cheating on him with Daniel, a music producer.

WATCH the trailer for season 2 of Insecure

So begins Issa's "ho phase", in which she hooks up for casual sex. After she and her girlfriends Molly, Tiffany and Kelli attend a fellatio seminar - a sex act all the girls except the married Tiffany do not seem to be enthusiastic about - she decides to test her skills on Daniel, who is very turned on.

Issa, by the way, doesn't consider herself good at blowjobs and confesses to finding them too intimate, but the seminar has given her some confidence, clearly.

Yet strangely, she does not expect him to climax while she's in the act, much less on her face, which happens only because he is, well, climaxing, and she has, um, disengaged.

She considers it something that happens only in "porn". It seems shockingly retrogressive to me, as if a blowjob were a deviant act.

But then again, to each her own "ho phase."