HTS Moderator , Reviewer
Title: Insecure: The Complete First Season
HTS Overall Score:70
Insecurity can happen to us all. I don’t care if you’re dirt poor in the south side of L.A., or living in a mansion off of the Hamptons. There is a natural human inclination to be insecure in their surroundings. No matter how much we try to put on a brave face MOST people have this fear of not being liked, not being accepted and not really GOOD at life. For some reason, it’s one of the unifying forces in the universe. Human beings of all races, creeds, and status in life can feel a sense of uncertainty in their lives. “Insecure” is a brand new HBO comedy from standup comedian Issa Rae and penned by both herself and comedian/producer/writer Larry Wilmore (a man I can’t stand in real life) about a black woman growing in L.A. and having to deal with the insecurities in life. It’s a rough first season that’s for sure, and while there are some truly funny moments throughout, the show pushes too many clichés about the black community that seem to really appeal more to “white people watching a show about black people” rather than actually appealing to the demographic that’s IN the show.
You’ve all heard the cliché about the strong black woman. The kind who knows exactly what she wants and is confident as all get-out. Well, Issa Dee (Issa Rae) is kind of the opposite of that. She’s lived in L.A. all her life and while she likes to portray that her life is all of that and a box of chocolates, the reality of the situation is that she’s not really as strong as all that. Her life revolves around her job as an outreach to underprivileged kids, her friendship with bff Molly Carter (Yvonne Orji) and her boyfriend. All things which seem deeply dissatisfying as Issa is completely dissatisfied with her life. The show tends to focus on the day to day interactions that Issa has with Molly, Lawrence (an occasional romantic interest for Issa) and all the insecurities that pop up for a girl who is just passing from the rocking 20s into her 30s (a realization that can hit people of all walks of life who realize that their young is leaving them and that maturity is not all that it’s cracked up to be).
“Insecure” deals with race relations and friendships in a tmoohy sort of way. Things get heated real quick as Issa Molly weave their way down the highway that is known as life and find out that things aren’t exactly a bed of roses. Their lives are a roller coaster ride (as it is for many people) and security is something that doesn’t come easy to people, let alone a minority group. Issa’s happy exterior to the kids she instructs is at odds with her internal turmoil and the struggle that she undergoes every day just to survive in a world that seems more and more foreign as she gets older.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=93802[/img]Issa is more than happy to drop F bombs like they’re going out of style and I’m slightly put off by the over the top African American clichés that dominate the show. I know the show is about being insecure, but the idea that every African American person walks around talking about their weave, calling every girl they know “ho’s” and ghetto speak is completely ludicrious. However, I really shouldn’t have expected much from a Larry Wilmore who LOVES to use the tired old clichés to try and make a sardonic point in his shoes. The unfortunate thing is that the point doesn’t seem to have anything to do with the situations that Issa is put in besides to make the show accessible to people who believe that’s how “all black people act”.
With Wilmore and Issa Rae both being the writers for the show, I can’t tell whose influence is bigger, but I do like that Issa portrays herself as incredibly vulnerable despite her brave face. There is a veritable sense of uncertainty and vulnerability expressed in her face throughout, all the while allowing the versatile comedian to switch to her “oh yeah, I got this stuff!” persona in a matter of seconds. It’s what makes her real and down to earth to people of all walks of life.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=93810[/img]“Insecure” comes to Blu-ray with a pleasing, if not fairly average, looking 1080p encode. The show is giving a slightly unique (for an HBO comedy) color grading that employs lots of cool blues and cool shades throughout the show. There’s splashes of brighter primary colors here and there with lipstick and other clothing, but mostly the show has a rathe blue muted tone to it. Scenes inside Molly and Issa’s respective workspaces tends to look more neutral and sterile white and grey, and the nighttime shots tend to look a teensy bit washed out in comparison. Otherwise, the show looks well detailed with strong facial details and good contrast levels. The wider angled shot look a teensy bit soft, but more than serviceable for a modern-day TV show. All around good 1.78:1 avc encoded Blu-ray (on a single BD-50 with only 4 hours of material on the disc it’s pretty much artifact free).
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=93818[/img]Just like the video encode, the 5.1 DTS-HD MA track is about average for your typical HBO comedy. The show is decidedly front heavy with 95% of the work being done in the center channel with some solid support from the two mains. More boisterous activity (such as the club in the first episode) gets lively with some solid surround use and an intense hip hop beat that activates the LFE channel with some weight. It’s fairly simple and straight forward for a comedy, but there is enough changing up of the material to keep the surrounds utilized and the low end active for the most part.
• Insecure: In the Room
• Conjugal Visits
• On the Insecure Set with Issa Rae
“Insecure: The Complete First Season” has a bit of a rocky start, but I am curious to see how the next season works out as HBO usually delivers on the comedic goods. While I had a few problems with the tired cliché of African American culture littered throughout the show like a bad Leslie Jones night at the mic, I did enjoy the sincerity and obvious passion that Issa Rae depicted in her character. If I had to give it a rating on the HBO comedy scale I would say that it a little bit below “Ballers” at the moment, but has the potential to get much better if given the proper effort and growth. Audio and video are on par with your average HBO comedy show but the extras are the weakest part on the disc. Worth a rental.
Starring: Issa Rae, Yvonne Orji, Amanda Seales
Created by: Issa Rae, Larry Wilmore
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 AVC
Audio: English: DTS-HD MA 5.1, French DTS 5.1 Spanish DTS 2.0
Runtime: 250 minutes
Blu-ray Release Date: March 21st, 2017
Buy Insecure: The Complete First Season Blu-ray on Amazon
Recommendation: Worth a Rental
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