***you gone read this recap tonight/you gone get some spoilers***
Season: 1 / Episode: 1/ HBO
Oh? Okay…. You coming out the bag with Kendrick, tho! Yes. This episode opens with the now iconic “We gone be alright!” layered with shots from various spots around south Los Angeles and gets you all up in your Black pride coconut oil feelings, making you wanna march fists up and shit, until…
Issa, the main character is standing in front of a classroom of what looks to be middle schoolers, looking dumb as f*ck. Yeah, I said it and so does every title of every episode in this series. So, basically, if you thought you were about to sneak and watch this 30 minute show on your HBO Go app at work…. Nah, bruh. This is straight up NSFW. Back to these kids, though. Issa is standing in front of these kids who look like various off spring of the cartoon characters from BeBe’s Kids, selling this after school program called “We Got Y’all.” If you’re thinking this sounds like a total train wreck, then you guessed it.
These kids start wailing on her about her hair, her love life and every inappropriate thing a preteen or teen can think of getting away with saying at school. Being the grown up that she is….. Issa tries to play off the whole “why you talk like a White girl bit” with some lame ass “You caught me rockin’ Black face.” Wait. Whuh? Why her White coworker check her on some “that’s racist,” though. On her birthday, too? She should’ve walked out and called off Black right in that very moment. Who-gone-check-me-boo be damned. That’s what insurance is for.
Yeah, that shit went downhill fast after that. The only thing that scares me more than a room full of teenagers are those twins from The Shining. Did that little girl just call her a bitter ass Black woman? YO! They cappin’ on Issa’s hipster attire, too? I see how Issa crumbled. Kids are ruthless AF.
We jump from that to Issa giving us a little background about her life and her job. Wait? Was that white woman wearing a dashiki and asking her what James Baldwin would say is most beneficial for people of color? Like, whuh???? I wanna ask, “Where they do that at?” but I’ve been in that hot seat too many times to count. And Issa is the only Black person at her job that was founded to help kids from the ‘hood” Hold up. Did you peep the logo for “We Got Ya’ll?” Did YOU??? Is that a white hand lifting up Black babies? Tell me it’s not….. How did I miss that on Issa’s shirt when she was getting verbally molly-whopped by them badass kids? Like, did I just get Blind Sided? Man, GTFOH with that. The realest thing about this segment, tho? Issa blocking the staff lounge “ask a Black woman” convo when her coworker tries to gain some knowledge on the definition of “on fleek.” Issa hit them with that smile that Black women give in lieu of a side-eye paired with an “I don’t know what that means” and walks out of there caffeinated like a BOSS!
And like a boss, Issa goes home and vents, because that’s what happens right? Instead of picking up the phone or writing in her journal, this woman starts writing raps, ya’ll. I’m not going to lie here. This is the shit I’ve been waiting on. As a die-hard ABG fan, I needed this to come back. I needed this wack-ass/dope-ass/insecure-ass/beautiful-ass lyrics to give me life. She is straight up in the bathroom mirror with a college ruled notebook and pen rapping. YESSS. First, she all sad and shit; rapping some wack shit like she Kevin Hart on an episode of Real Husbands of Hollywood.
Then she gives the pen a break and hops on Facebook like every other red-blooded person under 40 who’s brain won’t STFU. Oh, look. A birthday message from that hot ass ex-bf and the dude is single, too? Time for more rap lyrics and this shit is going to be sweet. She feeling herself like a 90’s video.
Wait, but did you catch her bf in the bed behind her while she on FB looking at the ex, though? Shit must be rough, but that’s another segment, I guess.
Now we move onto the bestie Molly and a little background on her. Ms. Black Corporate America, with the bomb ass hair and eyeliner, that everybody loves. She selling environmental ratchedness to white folks and playing spades with the custodians, too? I ain’t mad at this sistah. She fly AF, too.
Black women know that success doesn’t come without a price and here is where we find out what it’s costing Molly. Love. Man, shit. If this ain’t it. Molly is chillin’ with her Asian colleague who is in awe over Molly’s latest win, only to jump into a discussion about dude that Molly is texting back and forth and currently dating. That’s how it happens, too. Molly is all up in her feels, daydreaming about future dates with this Arab guy, reading way too far into a “hey” text and then getting knocked down a few pegs after she reads her coworker on how brothers love all types of women (meaning, her colleagues interracial relationship with Jamal ain’t shit) all to get shot down by this dude when she calls and he blocks her. His text came through quick AF, man. All Molly said was that she wanted to hear his voice and dude hit her with the “Sorry. I’m not looking for a relationship right now… sad face emoji.” DAWG!!!! NOOOOO! I felt bad for Molly, for real. But, after that whole spiel she gave ole girl? She just gotta take this L.
Moving into the evening, Molly and Issa sit down for Issa’s birthday dinner and she spills the tea. In true girlfriend mode, Molly shows the unbelieving Issa the text and Issa hit her with the “bisshhhh weeeeetttt?” Issa and her crass ass is cracking jokes and Molly is in her feels once again. This shit got so real, ya’ll. The single life ain’t easy and Molly is trying to figure it all out by venting to her bestie. Issa seems to search herself for a second and comes up with an answer for Molly’s problems. She tells Molly that her hooha don’t work. Yeah, you heard me. This woman sat there and told her that her cat is broken. She said Molly’s cat probably makes the Marge Simpson groan. WHAT?
Molly is a way better woman than me, because I would have come across that table. Like, did you for real tell me that I have a malfunctioning vagina, yo? And you’re laughing about it all loud and shit and folks is looking, yo? Man.
After dinner, the conversation continues but then moves to Issa and her issues with her bf Lawrence. Issa is pretty much over dude and thinking she might break up with him. Molly comes in with the singleness plea, reminding Issa that it’s real in these streets for single women who don’t want to be single and that maybe she should rethink leaving dude. She’s spent the majority of her twenties with this cat and things seem to be going nowhere. Issa looks fed up and says she’s breaking up with ole boy tonight, then catches that swift reality check from Molly that only a bestie can give… “no you not.” And Issa agrees. Not tonight.
Then Issa gets home, on her birthday mind you, to find Lawrence in a t-shirt and basketball shorts curled up on the couch having a pity party. Yeah…. Not tonight, boo. It’s her birthday, he’s bombed another interview and wants to make it a Redbox night? Kudos to Issa for trying to be encouraging, but maybe this is why she’s fed up. Also, what is dude watching? Is this an infomercial? Is this a pectoral infomercial? Like, why are these dudes talking with their muscles at me? They are not Terry Crews.
[cue Issa responding to that inbox from her ex].
The next day we see Issa at work again giving a presentation with that co-worker who called her out on her Black face remark. Issa is seemingly in her feels and this white woman is telling the room how those teens lit her ass up. Man… so, Issa starts filling in the blanks (in her mind) with all of these statistics about Black women’s success and marriage rates. Issa has a moment and slightly flips out on ole girl, only to pick up the pieces and turn it around into what seems like a project that could actually be beneficial to the kids they are trying to reach.
Fast forward to Molly getting to work and walking in on her Asian colleague that she tried to read the other day giving the low down on Jamal proposing. Yes, hunty. Ring and all and I promise you…. Molly can’t save face worth shit. Her feelings were written all over her face. So she back steps, whispers some slight congrats and words of disbelief, then Black girl cute runs to the bathroom to call Issa. Issa’s answer, as she trolls her ex’s FB page on the job? First, she shares in the disbelief that this girl is getting wifed up and how brothers are seemingly quick to wife up everyone except a Black woman. Second, Issa tries to assure Molly that the higher powers are not conspiring against her supposedly malfunctioning vagina. Third, she does what a bestie is supposed to do. She’s taking Molly out. Yeah, she’s taking her out alright… so she can catch up with Daniel, the ex-bae at an open mic night.
Ya’ll! This next scene right here???!!! This shit is my jam, ya’ll. Issa in the mirror trying different shades of lipstick and getting all of her lives. You ask any femme who loves a good lip and they will tell you how a color will set your mood, change your life and make you find a side of yourself that you never even knew existed.
After all that, it’s straight up Carmex for the win and Issa steps out of the bathroom serving body-oddy-oddy in a green sequin top and skirt while Lawrence’s ass is in an ill-fitted sweatshirt eating cereal at the dining room table. For real, dude? Do you own real clothes? He starts out trying to be funny, asking Issa if he should be worried with her going out looking as good as she does then starts capping on Molly after Issa explains that she’s taking her out because she’s down about the single life. Lawrence starts trying to read Molly and says the ever-forbidden phrase “her standards are way too high.” Issa hit him with the passive aggressive two-piece-and-a-biscuit on some “yeah, maybe she should’ve lowered them like I did.” YO. I sat up quick, like “Nooooo.” Then Lawrence took a few seconds to process that shit and was like WTF? Yeah, Issa did some slick tongue action about not wanting to waste her time, not wanting to sit on the couch with this cat for the rest of her life and tied up with a ‘maybe it’s over’ type swing type bow on it, said she was staying at the homie’s and bounced. I think Lawrence’s processing skills are a bit delayed, because I don’t even think he knew what hit him until Issa was out the door.
Cut to the club. This shit look straight up New Jersey Drive and Molly looked at Issa like she had lost her Bast damned mind. She said “…Why are we in 1997 Inglewood?” I died. That’s before they even stepped a single foot up in the club. Molly looks pissed. Issa hit her with the let’s-get-out-of-our-comfort-zone spiel, told her she’d get her some dranks “we gone get some drinks tonight, you gone get some f*cked up, ha ha ha” and commenced to clubbing. I can’t begin to count the number of plaid shirts, baseball caps and cornrows that laced this place. Them drinks must have been strong, because Molly wasted no time getting in Issa’s business to find out what the deal is between her and Lawrence. The great deflector that Issa seems to be, that convo was cut short with a reroute to the dance floor to get Molly noticed…. Or maybe to peep out where ex-bae is at.
They’re all booty dancing and stuff when a cutie spots them and starts pushing up on Molly. Issa gets the brush off from dude quite quickly and heads to the bar to finally wind up seeing Daniel aka ex-bae. She plays it pretty cool, too, like she wasn’t checking for him. They share a hug and a laugh and soon a comfy seat and some drinks. Meanwhile, Molly and cutie and chatting it up and then she peeps Issa with ex-bae. Ok. Molly’s putting it all together now but it looks like she’s going to give Issa a pass. Issa and ex-bae are capping on the brothers dressed like Criss Cross while they rap about baby mama’s and reminiscing on what Daniel looked like when they first got together. This is when we find out that ex-bae goes all the way back to high school. Awwww, ex-bae lookin’ more like first love. Then ex-bae does what any first love might do. He brings up something old that he remembers about her, her rapping and throws the gauntlet for her to get on the open mic. What? That’s a tug at the heartstrings right there. Lawrence can’t even get out of sweatpants and this dude is throwing the dare-double-dog-dare at her with a YOLO twist? [cue lipstick scene]
This woman gets on the mic, ya’ll. Not only does she freestyle, she freestyles about her friend’s malfunctioning vagina. OH HELL NO. She did that. She did it and did it well, too. Like, she got folks repeating the chorus and shit. Like, these cats are boppin’ to the beat of “I’m Bossy” by Kelis while talkin’ about her homegirl’s supposed broken punanny. Molly, as she should be, is taken aback when cutie points out that her girl is on the stage. While she’s in her feelings, she reveals that the song is actually about her and cutie kindly dips. My face it the floor ya’ll. I’m laugh-crying and pissed all at the same time, like…. This is your homegirl, your bestie, your ride or die and you put all her business on Front Street. Issa broke so many sisah-codes it ain’t even funny.
Cut to the car ride home and Issa is LIT, fam. She’s all hype and excited and proud and un-freaking-apologetic. Molly molly-whops her ass with the quickness, though. She calls Issa out on her bullshit about taking her out when it was really about ex-bae all the time. Ex-bae starts texting Issa and Issa stops listening to Molly. Ex-bae is texting with the “come through” and now Issa is in her feels and even more hype, while pretending not to be. Molly catches her texting and then calls her out on that and I’m just waiting for someone to catch some hands like…
The scene ends with Molly getting out of the car and Issa heading to see ex-bae.
Issa gets to ex-bae and immediately starts feeling some kinda way. Before she can leave, he taps on the window and gets in the car like he’s about to pop bottles. He’s on some “it ain’t moscata, but it’s something Drake would like.” Whuh? Ok, I guess. Issa gets a laugh out of his “every Black girl that went to college likes Drake” joke. Small laugh. Small pause. Ex-bae leans in and their kissing. OKAY. We saw that coming. Issa pulls back after Molly’s words hit her in her subconscious and she starts that nervous tongue action again. Issa goes on about how she’s not dumb, how she just got out of a relationship (kinda) and how she wants to be this new person… a new person that she can see herself being with him, because ex-bae always been that back up/what-if dude.
She doesn’t want to jump from one relationship to another and then…….ex-bae shuts her down. He does it calmly with the whole “I’m not looking for a relationship” business. Same thing we heard from the Arab dude who was texting Molly earlier. Damn, ya’ll. That shit hurts. The two sit in awkward silence for a bit and then go their separate ways. Next thing you know, Issa is ringing Molly’s doorbell standing there with the MJB “not gone cry” sad face.
At least she came bearing snacks, but who eats Cheetos and ranch dip? Whatever. One of the Blackest things all episode happens right here and I love it. Molly and Issa share a look, their own crass way of apologizing and then they hug while singing the theme song to Girlfriends. All praise to Tracee Ellis Ross. That was some beautiful shit. Molly had that doo-rag on with the fresh wrap for bedtime and episode one ends with Issa checking her on her headscarf. Cute.
The premier may have been a little slow in the beginning with the backstory being laid, but I’m really looking forward to this first season. The show is hitting hard on the struggles that a lot of single Black folks who don’t want to be single go through. It’s pulling all punches with being unapologetically Black and showing us those varied avenues to desired success. Did I mention the soundtrack? This ratchet shit is amazing and Black AF. Insecure has the summer time, bass heavy, I-gives-no-effs soundtrack. I’m here for Insecure and I’ll be on pins and needles waiting for episode two.