Insecure (TV series)

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Insecure title card.png
Created by
Composer(s)Raphael Saadiq
Country of originUnited States
Original language(s)English
No. of seasons3
No. of episodes24 (list of episodes)
Executive producer(s)
  • Issa Rae
  • Prentice Penny
  • Michael Rotenberg
  • Melina Matsoukas
  • Dave Becky
  • Jonathan Berry
Production location(s)Los Angeles, California: primarily View Park–Windsor Hills and Leimert Park
Inglewood, California
Malibu, California
Santa Monica, California[1]
Camera setupSingle-camera
Running time27–41 minutes
Production company(s)HBO Entertainment
Issa Rae Productions
Penny for Your Thoughts Entertainment
3 Arts Entertainment
DistributorHBO Enterprises
Warner Bros. Television Distribution
Original networkHBO
Original releaseOctober 9, 2016 (2016-10-09) –
External links

Insecure is an American comedy-drama television series based partially on Issa Rae's acclaimed web series Awkward Black Girl.[2][3][4] It was created by Rae and Larry Wilmore, and premiered online on September 23, 2016, via HBO Now and HBO Go, before airing weekly on HBO from October 9, 2016.[5][6] On November 14, 2016, HBO renewed the show for a second season[7] which premiered on July 23, 2017.[8] On August 8, 2017, HBO renewed the show for a third season,[9] which premiered on August 12, 2018. On September 6, 2018, HBO renewed the series for a fourth season.[10]

Since its debut, Insecure has received critical acclaim.[11][12] In 2017, the American Film Institute selected it as one of the top 10 Television Programs of the Year.[13] For her performance on the series, Rae has received two Golden Globe Award nominations for Best Actress – Television Series Musical or Comedy, in addition to a Primetime Emmy Award nomination for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series.


In 2013, Rae began working on a comedy series pilot (in which she would star) along with Larry Wilmore. The show was planned to be about the awkward experiences of a contemporary African-American woman; the pair eventually settled on the current title of Insecure.[14] HBO picked up the pilot in early 2015, and it was subsequently greenlit for production.[15]

At HBO's 2016 Television Critics Association session, which featured Rae, showrunner Prentice Penny, and executive producer Melina Matsoukas, Rae explained that the series will examine "the complexities of 'blackness' and the reality that you can’t escape being black." Rae also said, in regard to the potential mainstream reaction to the series:

We’re just trying to convey that people of color are relatable. This is not a hood story. This is about regular people living life.[16]

Raphael Saadiq created original music for the first season. Solange Knowles served as music consultant; she was introduced to Rae by Matsoukas, who directed the music video for Knowles's song "Losing You".[17]


The eight-episode first season explores the black female experience from the perspective of the two female protagonists, Issa (Issa Rae) and Molly (Yvonne Orji) who have been best friends with each other since their college days at Stanford.[18] They are both in their late 20s, career and relationship experiences are explored in Los Angeles, California. Issa works at "We Got Y'all," a non-profit that benefits middle-school aged students of color. She struggles to put the spark back into her relationship with her long-term boyfriend, Lawrence (Jay Ellis), who has been slacking in their relationship since his start-up company failed.[19] Molly is a successful corporate attorney who has career success but difficulty with dating men. The half-hour series explores social and racial issues that relate to the contemporary black experience.[20]

Cast and characters[edit]




SeasonEpisodesOriginally aired
First airedLast aired
18October 9, 2016 (2016-10-09)November 27, 2016 (2016-11-27)
28July 23, 2017 (2017-07-23)September 10, 2017 (2017-09-10)
38August 12, 2018 (2018-08-12)September 30, 2018 (2018-09-30)

Season 1 (2016)[edit]

No. in
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air dateU.S. viewers
11"Insecure as Fuck"Melina MatsoukasIssa Rae & Larry WilmoreOctober 9, 2016 (2016-10-09)[a]0.371[22]
After a disappointing 29th birthday, Issa Dee starts doubting her relationship with her unemployed boyfriend, Lawrence. Her successful best friend, Molly, is struggling with being single. When Issa hears from an old ex, Daniel, she takes Molly with her to an open-mic-night in the hopes of reconnecting with her old flame. Molly meets Jared, whose brother is performing at the open mic-night. Issa performs the rap “Broken Pussy”, based on Molly’s romantic life, to impress Daniel which causes a fight between the friends. After leaving the club, Issa gets a text from Daniel and decides to meet up with him despite Molly’s disapproval. Issa and Daniel kiss but he lets her know that he is not looking for a relationship after she brings the subject up.
22"Messy as Fuck"Cecile EmekeIssa RaeOctober 16, 2016 (2016-10-16)0.458[23]
While Issa decides to become the “No Fucks” version of herself, Molly decides to treat herself to a day of pampering. Lawrence continues to worry about Issa’s absence as she ignores him and even has an awkward encounter with her at Rite Aid while she is buying a pack of underwear. The next day, Issa botches her work presentation that she failed to prepare for but later comes up with a beach clean-up event with her coworker Frieda. Molly later runs into Jared, the cute guy she met at the open mic-night, after a disappointing date and makes a connection with him. Issa returns home and apologizes to Lawrence for ignoring him.
33"Racist as Fuck"Melina MatsoukasDayna Lynne NorthOctober 23, 2016 (2016-10-23)0.469[24]
Lawrence and Issa have a hard time returning to their old ways. Lawrence learns that he might have to take a lower-entry job and Issa overhears her coworkers badmouthing her beach day event behind her back. Molly brings Jared to a party to meet her friends and finds out that he never attended college, unlike her and her group of friends. Jared admits his interest in Molly after the party. Molly later decides to end things with Jared when she gets accepted into “The League”, a highly exclusive dating app. Issa’s beach clean-up event is a huge success and proves her coworkers wrong. When Issa returns home, she finds Lawrence cooking dinner and begins to reminisce about the good times they shared in the apartment. They finally share official apologies to each other.
44"Thirsty as Fuck"Kevin BrayLaura KittrellOctober 30, 2016 (2016-10-30)0.348[25]
Issa and Lawrence are now on good terms which is shown on their shopping trip for a new couch. Molly quickly finds a new date from “The League” after scaring off Michael, her first suitor from the app. Daniel shows up at Issa’s job to apologize for how things left off. She later asks him to present at her Career Day when their speaker for the arts drops out. Molly sparks a connection with her new date by explaining how her bosses asked her to speak to a black intern. Daniel tells Issa’s class about her rapping talent and they find a YouTube video of her rapping “Broken Pussy”.
55"Shady as Fuck"Melina MatsoukasBen DouganNovember 6, 2016 (2016-11-06)0.329[26]
Issa freaks out about the kids discovering her video and enlists help to take it down. Molly is enjoying her new guy, Chris, and invites him to her coworker’s engagement party for the evening. While Molly calls Jared to find out who posted the video, Issa visits Daniel to do the same. Chris arrives at the party but upsets Molly when he admits that he only came because she “needed a win.” Daniel encourages Issa to attempt a freestyle in his studio, professes his feelings for her, and they proceed to have sex. Molly shows up to Jared’s apartment drunk after the party and spends the night on his couch.
66"Guilty as Fuck"Debbie AllenAmy AniobiNovember 13, 2016 (2016-11-13)0.388[27]
Issa is struggling with her guilt for sleeping with Daniel and has flashbacks of being with him while trying to be intimate with Lawrence. Molly mends fences with Chris. Issa overcompensates in her relationship due to the guilt of cheating and works on ignoring Daniel. At work, Issa manages to get her boss to agree to hold a fundraiser in their city instead of Malibu. Molly informs Issa that she and Jared are now back together. While Issa and Lawrence are out for their date night, Lawrence takes her to a jewelry store to try on engagement rings, triggering more flashbacks to her night with Daniel. Jared and Molly take turns sharing stories from their past and he admits that he has been with a man in the past. Molly informs her friends about her concerns about Jared's past and Issa tries to ease Molly's worries. However, Molly is unable to cope with Jared's past and breaks up with him. Issa informs Molly about her and Daniel. Molly advises her to move on. Issa goes home and has sex with Lawrence. On his way to the bathroom, Lawrence discovers Issa's phone and sees a text from Daniel.
77"Real as Fuck"Kevin BrayPrentice PennyNovember 20, 2016 (2016-11-20)0.382[28]
Issa goes out shopping for a fundraiser dress with Molly, and informs her that she is going to be more focused on her work and her relationship. Molly runs into an old friend who discloses that she has been going to therapy and has been working on fixing herself and how she values herself. Lawrence goes on an interview and gets a job offer. Lawrence informs Issa about the job offer but also confides his idea to not take the job in order to continue working on his app "Woot-Woot." Issa tells him to take the job offer and work on programming his app at night. Molly helps Issa set up for her fundraiser and tells her about running into Crystal and the conversation she had with her. Molly knocks therapy, and Issa makes an argument that Molly may benefit from therapy. Issa is successful at her fundraiser, while Molly’s behavior is questionable. Daniel arrives at the fundraiser and is intercepted by Molly. Issa tries to make Daniel leave and is seen by Lawrence. Molly and Issa get in a fight at the fundraiser and Molly leaves. Molly shows up at Jared’s house and tries to mend fences. Lawrence asks Issa about Daniel and leaves after she admits to the affair.
88"Broken as Fuck"Melina MatsoukasIssa RaeNovember 27, 2016 (2016-11-27)0.565[29]
Issa tries to apologize to Lawrence, who rejects her. Molly is still not talking to Issa. The four girls go to Malibu. Lawrence goes out with his friends. Kelli and Tiffany both gang up on Molly about her love life, but Issa defends her. Tiffany outs Issa on her relationship with Lawrence. Lawrence, while at the strip club, finally calls Issa and says they should talk. Molly and Issa mend fences when she drives Issa back home to see Lawrence. Issa arrives home to discover that Lawrence packed his things and left his key behind.
  1. ^ The first episode was released online on September 23, 2016, two weeks before the series premiere.

Season 2 (2017)[edit]

No. in
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air dateU.S. viewers
91"Hella Great"Melina MatsoukasIssa RaeJuly 23, 2017 (2017-07-23)1.118[30]
Picking up a few months after the events of the previous season Issa starts going on dates through different dating apps but daydreams about reconciling with Lawrence. Molly is seeing a therapist. Lawrence is dating Tasha, the bank teller, but only spends weekends with her. During the week, he stays with his friend Chad while he hunts for an apartment. Issa and her coworkers are having a difficult time getting students at a new school assignment interested in their after-school program. Molly accidentally receives her white colleague, Travis' paystub and learns he is paid way more. Molly questions if the partners value her at the law firm. Issa checks the mail and Lawrence has a jury duty notice. She texts him and he responds he will be by after work to get it. Issa plans an impromptu 'wine-down' party so Lawrence can see she is doing good without him. Lawrence takes Tasha out on a real date. He texts Issa to mail the jury notice to him. Kelly invites Issa's neighbors to the party and a fire starts in her kitchen. The next day while Issa and Freida are set up in the library, two students show up and ask questions to distract while other students steal the snacks. Later that night, Lawrence shows up to Issa's apartment to get his mail and they proceed to have sex.
102"Hella Questions"Melina MatsoukasAmy AniobiJuly 30, 2017 (2017-07-30)1.293[31]
Issa tries to make sense of the encounter with Lawrence. Lawrence tells Tasha he slept with Issa. After her therapist gives Molly some harsh truths, Molly attempts to join the office "boys club". Issa and Freida meet with the school's vice principal and while he recruits students to fill the program, Freida has concerns he is racist against the Latino students and only wants the black students to receive help and resources.
113"Hella Open"Marta CunninghamDayna Lynne NorthAugust 6, 2017 (2017-08-06)1.158[32]
Issa becomes sexually frustrated. Molly meets a potential match while on a girls' night out with Issa. Lawrence leaves Tasha's family cookout and chooses to spend all day with his work colleagues.
124"Hella LA"Prentice PennyLaura KittrellAugust 13, 2017 (2017-08-13)1.300[33]
Issa runs into Daniel at a day party. Also, the guy, Felix, she was supposed to meet up with at the day party is not into her at all. Molly's childhood friend, Dro, tells her he has an open marriage and propositions her for sex. Kelly meets a man at the day party and tells Molly and Issa they are meeting back up at a restaurant. Issa sees Daniel at the restaurant but does not speak. While Kelly is being fingered underneath the table, Daniel texts Issa and Issa moves to sit next to him. Lawrence makes an illegal u-turn and is pulled over by the cops. He drops his card while getting out his driver's license so when he checks out at the grocery store, he does not have a card to pay for his groceries. The two women behind him in line offer to pay and take him to their apartment for a threesome. When he can't get hard fast enough for the second woman, they berate him and he leaves. He stops by Issa apartment building but drives off instead of going up to her apartment.
135"Hella Shook"Tina MabryBen DouganAugust 20, 2017 (2017-08-20)1.322[34]
Issa continues to be about her "hoe"tation and dates different men. She butts heads with Freida during their work retreat. Molly finds out her father cheated on her mother at her parents' vow renewal ceremony. Distraught, Molly has sex with Dro. Issa wrecks her car while looking at a 'dick pic' her neighbor sent to her cellphone. Daniel gives Issa a ride home after the accident. She asks if they are cool and on the same page with seeing other people. Lawrence finds out Issa is still hanging out with Daniel and blocks Issa on Facebook.
146"Hella Blows"Kevin BrayRegina Y. Hicks & Ben Corey JonesAugust 27, 2017 (2017-08-27)1.331[35]
Dro calls Molly and she ends the call when her mother calls but declines her mother's call as well. Issa goes to her neighbor Eddie's apartment unannounced to have sex but he is with another woman. Lawrence gets a rude awakening at work after pitching his app when the owners are overly polite but disinterested. His coworker explains tells that his app is outdated and if the owners were interested they would have asked questions but they seem afraid to offend Lawrence. Molly worries sex will ruin her friendship with Dro. Issa gets a $5500 estimate to get her car repaired. Molly has sex with Dro again after telling him their last encounter was a one-time thing. She asks how their arrangement will work and if his wife knows. He tells her it was his wife's idea to see other people. Later, he leaves Molly in the hotel room when his wife texts him that she is locked out of the house. Issa tried to seduce Niko but he wants to get to know her better and she just wants sex. Tiffany teaches the ladies the power in giving blow jobs during the 'Sexplosion' event. Issa gives Daniel a blow job and he comes on her face. Irate, Issa storms out.
157"Hella Disrespectful"Kevin BrayPrentice PennySeptember 3, 2017 (2017-09-03)0.788[36]
Tensions run high when Issa and Lawrence are both invited to Derek's birthday party. Issa accepts Daniel's call and cuts him out of her life when he says they are even and now she knows how he felt. Molly rethinks her future and breaks things off with Dro after he brings his wife to the party. Issa realizes the vice principal is discriminating against the Latino students and makes amends with Frieda. Issa and Lawrence exchange heated words as Issa is waiting for her ride. Issa snaps and flips all her furniture over in her apartment.
168"Hella Perspective"Melina MatsoukasIssa RaeSeptember 10, 2017 (2017-09-10)0.806[37]

Season 3 (2018)[edit]

No. in
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air dateU.S. viewers
171"Better-Like"Prentice PennyIssa RaeAugust 12, 2018 (2018-08-12)0.699[38]
182"Familiar-Like"Pete ChatmonAmy AniobiAugust 19, 2018 (2018-08-19)0.672[39]
193"Backwards-Like"Maurice MarableBen DouganAugust 26, 2018 (2018-08-26)0.783[40]
204"Fresh-Like"Stella MeghieDayna Lynne NorthSeptember 2, 2018 (2018-09-02)[a]0.474[41]
215"High-Like"Millicent SheltonRegina Y. HicksSeptember 9, 2018 (2018-09-09)0.563[42]
The girls go to Coachella, which ends up highlighting their different life paths and priorities. Molly spends the whole time preoccupied with work. Issa brings Molly, Kelli, and Tiffany to a pool party with Nathan and his friends. Everyone ends up on drugs. Later on in the night, everyone heads to Coachella. Issa and Nathan splinter off and hook up on a Ferris wheel. The evening ends abruptly when Molly, Kelli, and Tiffany get kicked out after Kelli starts a fight with a bunch of hippies. Issa gets a call to head come and ends up yelling at everyone to sleep it off. The next day Issa offers to take Tiffany to get water and Tiffany expresses her feelings that everything has changed.
226"Ready-Like"Liesl TommyLaura KittrellSeptember 16, 2018 (2018-09-16)0.665[43]
237"Obsessed-Like"Kevin BrayPrentice PennySeptember 23, 2018 (2018-09-23)0.544[44]
248"Ghost-Like"Regina KingIssa Rae & Natasha RothwellSeptember 30, 2018 (2018-09-30)0.751[45]
  1. ^ "Fresh-Like" was released online on August 31, 2018, two days before its television air date.


Critical response[edit]

Season Critical response
Rotten Tomatoes Metacritic
1 100% (65 reviews) 84 (33 reviews)
2 98% (40 reviews) 90 (13 reviews)
3 94% (25 reviews) 84 (8 reviews)

Season 1[edit]

On Rotten Tomatoes, the season has a rating of 100% based on 65 reviews, with an average rating of 8.6/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "Insecure uses star Issa Rae's breakout web series Awkward Black Girl as the basis for an insightful, raunchy, and hilarious journey through the life of a twentysomething black woman that cuts through stereotypes with sharp wit and an effusive spirit."[11] On Metacritic, the season has a score of 84 out of 100, based on 33 reviews, indicating "universal acclaim".[46]

Eric Deggans of NPR wrote that "Rae has produced a series that feels revolutionary just by poking fun at the life of an average, twentysomething black woman."[47] Greg Braxton of the Los Angeles Times wrote: "The half-hour series explores the friendship between two African American women who deal with their sometimes stormy relationship while also grappling with conflicts inside and outside black culture. Much of the humor has a raw flavor, and does not hold back on sexually frank situations and dialogue."[16]

Season 2[edit]

On Rotten Tomatoes, the season has an approval rating of 98% based on 40 reviews, with an average rating of 8.11/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "Insecure displays title-defying confidence in its second season, upping the comedy and deepening the relationships between its talented ensemble."[12] On Metacritic, the season has a weighted average score of 90 out of 100, based on 13 critics, indicating "universal acclaim".[48]

Season 3[edit]

On Rotten Tomatoes, the season has an approval rating of 94% based on 25 reviews, with an average rating of 7.6/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "Insecure returns for a third season as authentic and exuberant as the star who made it, but with an added layer of growth that keeps it moving forward."[49] On Metacritic, the season has a weighted average score of 84 out of 100, based on 8 critics, indicating "universal acclaim".[50]


Year Award Category Nominee(s) Result Ref.
AAFCA Awards AAFCA Top Ten TV Shows Insecure Won
Golden Globe Awards Best Actress – Television Series Musical or Comedy Issa Rae Nominated [51]
NAACP Image Awards Outstanding Comedy Series Insecure Nominated [52]
Outstanding Actress in a Comedy Series Issa Rae Nominated
Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series Yvonne Orji Nominated
Outstanding Directing in a Comedy Series Melina Matsoukas (for "Insecure as F**k") Nominated
Outstanding Writing in a Comedy Series Issa Rae and Larry Wilmore (for "Insecure as F**k") Nominated
Prentice Penny (for "Real as F**k") Nominated
Dorian Awards TV Comedy of the Year Insecure Nominated
NAMIC Vision Awards Comedy Won
Best Performance - Comedy Issa Rae Won
MTV Movie & TV Awards Show of the Year Insecure Nominated
Next Generation Issa Rae Nominated
TCA Awards Individual Achievement in Comedy Nominated
BET Awards Best Actress Nominated
American Film Institute Awards Top 10 TV Programs of the Year Insecure Won [53]
Golden Globe Awards Best Actress – Television Series Musical or Comedy Issa Rae Nominated
Peabody Award Entertainment honoree Insecure Won [54]
Satellite Awards Best Actress in a Musical or Comedy Series Issa Rae Nominated
NAACP Image Awards Outstanding Comedy Series Insecure Nominated [55]
Outstanding Actress in a Comedy Series Issa Rae Nominated
Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series Jay Ellis Won
Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series Yvonne Orji Nominated
Outstanding Writing in a Comedy Series Issa Rae (for "Hella Great" and "Hella Perspective") Nominated
Guild of Music Supervisors Awards Best Music Supervision in a Television Comedy or Musical Kier Lehman Won [56]
Best Song/Recording Created for Television "Quicksand" Won
Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series Issa Rae (for "Hella Great") Nominated
Outstanding Cinematography for a Single-Camera Series (Half-Hour) Patrick Cady (for "Hella LA") Nominated
Satellite Awards Best Musical or Comedy Series Insecure Nominated [57]
Best Actress in a Musical or Comedy Series Issa Rae Won
Critics' Choice Television Awards Best Actress in a Comedy Series Issa Rae Nominated [citation needed]


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