Do You Agree With Him?: Writer says the soundtrack is by far the best thing about ‘Insecure’ this season

[PHOTO: MERIE W. WALLACE/HBO]

Perhaps the most profound flaw of Insecure is the built-in diminishing returns that come from its woefully unaware main characters. The cluelessness of Issa (Issa Rae) and Molly (Yvonne Orji) was cute in season 1, then it got a bit ehhh in season 2. Now, it’s downright grating to see them make the same terrible-ass decisions before registering their potential consequences.

For that reason, “Obsessed-Like” is my least favorite episode this season: the two main characters’ cavalcade of atrocious decision-making – exacerbated by Issa’s apparent resistance to becoming a goddamn adult while on the wrong side of 30 (she’s about to lose that building manager gig as quickly as she got it) – isn’t as fun to watch as it was, mainly because we don’t see either of them move the needle in terms of winning at life.

Maybe that’s the whole point of the series, but I think there’s something to be said about characters eventually redeeming themselves. Hell, even Bubbles made it out of the basement. At any rate, here are a few notes from last night’s episode of Insecure:

1. Did we get all Tyler Perry up in here?
For much of his career, Tyler Perry recycled some iteration of the same conceit ad nauseam: Dirty, Satan-stained Black woman behaves badly over and over again before she’s saved by the sanctified, Jesus-loving Black man. Well, Lawrence (Jay Ellis)  finding his way to church, God and Deniese (Erica Dickerson) feels a lot like he’s finding his post-Chlamydia light as Issa goes further down the hole into darkness. I’m interested to see if the church is ultimately used as a catalyst to bring Lawrence and Issa back together. Serious props for the best (only) good part of the episode: Chad (Neil Brown Jr.) showing his whole Werther’s Original-complected ass in church…he really needs more screen time.

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2. Your internal voice will snatch your soul
Issa has showed us the inside of her head to some degree on Insecure. But this is the first episode in which we get full-blown internal dialogue, letting us know exactly what’s going through her noodle as she deals with the fact that Nathan (Kendrick Sampson) has apparently ghosted her. That sherm-smoking devil on your left shoulder urging you to do a bit of light stalking is exacerbated by the ease of access that social media provides, but Issa really took it to a dark-ass place this episode: orchestrating an awkward meeting at Andrew’s (Alexander Hodge) crib and attempting to break into Nathan’s laptop somewhat undermines that bold quitting of We Got Y’all she executed a few episodes ago.  Kill the voice in your head telling you to do dumb shit like this.

3. How the hell did Molly get this far in life?
I mentioned last week that Molly would only shit the bed if she acquiesced and went out with Andrew. Sure enough, what seemed like a nice vibe went doo-doo-shaped when their light-hearted quips got to the topic of her relationship with Dro (Sarunas J. Jackson). It bugged her enough to cause her to storm out of a date like he grabbed her ass before appetizers. Later, her one-sided war with colleague Taurean (Leonard Robinson) leads her to betray him in order to get props from her boss, which is the most white-woman thing I’ve seen Molly do the whole series. Molly is hands-down the most ridiculous character on Insecure. Mind you, this is a show with Chad. She’s digging a hole so deeply she’s going to draw Marlo Stanfield levels of hatred by the end of the series.

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4. Lawrence and Issa. UGH.
Lawrence and Issa have a somewhat awkward meeting and quickly start vibing with each other again, signaling to the audience with all the subtlety of Cardi B with a camera on her that these two are meant to be with each other. Sound familiar…? It’s because we did this already. We did this on the last week’s episode of Insecure. It would appear that the natural corollary is that they wind up together forever, Carrie-and-Big-style, by the series’ conclusion. If that’s how this thing ends, just tell me now so I can quit the show and start playing video games on my Sunday evenings instead.  

5. The episode is bad, but the new soundtrack is dope
The only consistently good aspect of Insecure across all three seasons not named Chad or Kelli (Natasha Rothwell) is the soundtrack, which has shone a light on quality millennial R&B/soul since the beginning. The season 3 soundtrack dropped Sept. 21, and features material ranging from well-known artists like Miguel (“Banana Clip”) to young New York singer Cautious Clay (“Cold War”). The show’s creators have put on a lot of young and unknown artists, and I expect the eventual conclusion of the series to bring about one of the nicest television playlists ever.

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Dustin J. Seibert is a native Detroiter living in Chicago. Miraculously, people have paid him to be aggressively light-skinned via a computer keyboard for nearly two decades. He loves his own mama slightly more than he loves music and exercises every day only so his French fry intake doesn’t catch up to him. Find him at his own site, wafflecolored.com.

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