Category Archives: This & That

This & That: Insecure Future Predictions

December 2, 2016

Filed Under : Lifestyle - This & That


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Source: HBO

As a fan of Issa Rae, I’ve been following her rise to fame since “Awkward Black Girl” premiered on YOUTUBE back in 2011. So, when word broke out about Insecure, I knew it was going to be an instant success. Based on how the first season ended, it’s safe to say that the show is the closest thing we have to reality on television. So, what can we expect from Season two?
Before I take on that question, let’s discuss the show and where it fits in our current society. So, what the heck is Insecure all about?

“Created by Issa Rae and Larry Wilmore, the comedy series Insecure explores the black female experience. Rae stars as Issa and Yvonne Orji stars as Molly. Over the course of the season, Issa attempts to figure out what she wants out of life and how to take control of it, while fumbling her way through this journey. Molly, a corporate attorney who appears to have everything together professionally, struggles inside as she looks for external ways to fix her life.” -HBO

Two words that accurately describe Insecure in a nutshell, awkward and controversial, hence the show’s large fan base (Think about it, there hasn’t been a television show that authentically depicts African American women in a positive light since Girlfriends, which is ridiculous, to say the least.) For example, most twenty something year olds have awkward tendencies (Whether we care to admit this to ourselves is a completely different story). Plus, we live in a world where controversial discussions are always in rotation. Controversial in a sense that everyone will interpret the show in their own way, based on their own personal experiences.
Now, let’s revisit the original question. What can we expect from Season two?

A full cast, Girlfriends Style

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Source: HBO

Earlier in season one, we were introduced to supporting characters, Tiffany and Kelli, friends of Issa and Molly. From what we know, Tiffany is Molly’s sorority sister and friend, and Kelli is a mutual acquaintance between both Issa and Molli. Both characters bring a different dynamic to the show. Tiffany is the stuffy married friend, and she’s too good for everything, ltierally. She has more in common with Molly than Issa on a surface level. However, Tiffany is far more reserved than her sorority sister. On the flip side, Kelli is the raw, plus-sized acquaintance of both girls. She serves as comedic relief as well, more so than Molly. Although Tiffany falls under the stereotypical “Big Girl Best Friend” archetype, she seems sincere and shows a softer side at times.

In season two, the show should flesh out these two characters more. In one instance, there was a conversation between the girls regarding male on male sexuality. Of course, Tiffany completely glanced over the topic. She was seemed a bit uncomfortable with the thought of her husband having sexual encounters with another man, while everyone else participated in the discussion. What’s that all about? Is there more to the story than meets the eye? If given the opportunity, perhaps her background can be explored further. Maybe Tiffany has noticed some of her husband’s “tendencies” in the past, and is in complete denial. Insecure can go so many ways with that storyline.

Let’s not forget to mention our girl Kelli. We hardly know anything about her, other than the fact that she has a cousin. Can develop her character even further? There are some many possibilities here!

Molly’s deals with her biggest problem…Molly

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Source: HBO

Every woman of color has a Molly in their life. Wait, what the heck is a Molly? I thought she was just a character! Come on, you know Molly. She is the pretty, successful, and loyal friend that always has your back no matter what. She’s perfect for comic relief, her realistic viewpoints always keeps you in check, and she is the perfect shoulder to cry on when your world falls apart. Based on that description, you may be the Molly yourself.

If you know a Molly or you are a Molly yourself, this may really hit home for you. Although it may appear as though Molly has it together on a surface level, she is living a life of internal pain. Why? She is a little insecure, entitled, and lacks a lot of self-awareness. Yes, everyone is insecure, there’s no doubt about that. I even have my own insecurities. However, Molly is anxiously insecure. Based on where she thinks she should be in life, she is constantly comparing herself to those around her. That in itself is torture. Just because you are pretty, intelligent, and have a great job, does not mean your knight and shining armor will be there to take you home. Plus, Molly doesn’t understand how she comes off to other people, including her best friend Issa. Yes, Molly is a great friend and has potential to be a great lover, she is in such a dark place that she is secretly envious of those around her. If you are envious, how can you be truly happy for someone else? You can’t! So, before Molly finds the one, she has to be in a better place with herself.

For season two, I see Molly taking down her guard a bit. I think she will start working on herself, and start to accept things for how they really are. She won’t be the girl chasing little boys anymore, she will be the one fighting them away with sticks (Until she gets herself together). Similar to season one, I think she will meet a new guy (Attractive but there is something about him that will make her break out her comfort zone. Perhaps, he is overweight, another race, or has a child). Rather than blocking her blessings this time, she will give the relationship an authentic chance, allowing herself to love the right way.

Lawrence is damaged goods

post_insecure1_120216_05Source: HBO

Let’s face it, after Issa cheated, we were all rooting for Lawrence! Why? From a black male’s perspective, when the “Good Guy” gets hurt, all hope is lost! Lawrence was loyal, intelligent, and had dreams with Issa. He even took her ring shopping. If that’s not dedication, I don’t know what else is.

Through his chivalrous endeavors and loyalty, Lawrence has contributed to the demise of his relationship as well. Since we live in a world of double standards, it’s easy for us to pick certain sides depending on our skewed perceptions of reality. To us men, Lawrence has done no wrong. Of course not! Issa cheated! Your right, no one deserves to be cheated on, but Lawrence did his relationship a disservice through his unrealistic expectations and complacent behavior. Lawrence assumed Issa would “always” be there for him while finding himself and job hunting for four years, since that’s how he perceived love. Remember, this is the same man who turned down every job offer until he found the right one in his field. The dream job that he found after four years of searching, that he almost turned down to pursue his dream again. Lawrence my brotha, why can’t you pursue this dream and work a 9 to 5? If you were turning this dream into a reality, you would have created the app during the first year of unemployment.

I could totally see Lawrence becoming a similar version of season one Molly. By season two, he will have it all, a great job, developing his app, partaking in a lot of sex, and much more. Internally however, Lawrence will be in a dark place. I doubt he would have fully dealt with his breakup in a healthy way. For instance, we already saw him sleep with the bank teller on finale night (Which is how us men cope, doesn’t make it right though). At first, Lawrence will view himself as the victim, and glance over his connection to the breakup. By the end of season two, he will most likely ruin a potential future with a new love interest (As we know, hurt people hurt people), and then reflect on his relationship with Issa. Hopefully, Lawrence will connect the dots sooner rather than later.

Issa is so sick of love songspost_insecure1_120216_02Source: HBO

Issa won my heart over at the beginning of the series. Unlike most female characters on television, Issa is in a lane all by herself. Main characters are usually well grounded and usually depicted as the girl next door type. However, Issa’s characters is certified awkward and completely vulnerable throughout the series. She makes actual mistakes, and her lack of verbal communication is completely understandable. Since the first episode, it’s difficult for Issa to actually express how she feels. I’m not sure if it’s a lack of confidence or her inability to express current thoughts. Whatever the case may be, she is such a personable character.

Not only is she a great character, Issa Rae breaks the barriers of traditional beauty standards in Hollywood. It just goes to show that you don’t have to have a long weave or surgically enhanced body parts  to be a role model or considered beautiful in the industry. Issa’s smile alone brings her character to life.

Similar to most twenty something year olds, Issa handled her relationship completely wrong. Let’s be honest, there is no manual for love. It’s really a game of trial and error. So, for Issa, she did the best she could. Now, I am not condoning her cheating twice, but Issa put herself in a difficult position. She was tempted to try something new, but wanted to keep Lawrence for convenience (Love, her relationship, and the amount of time she invested). Yes, she loved Lawrence, but I think she fell out of love with him. Unfortunately in life, you can’t have your cake and eat it too, especially at the expense of someone else’s heart. Of course, Issa slept with her ex. Honestly, she should have followed through with her break-up with Lawrence at the beginning of the season, but you live and learn.

When Issa slept with Daniel, we all saw it coming. I gave her a little benefit of the doubt at first, but I knew she was headed on a dark path when she invited Daniel to speak at her job. Ironically, the moment that slept with her ex boyfriend, she started to see a change in Lawrence’s behavior. Unfortunately, it was too little too late since Issa mentally checked out the relationship a long time ago (That’s another reason why I appreciate this show. It puts a spin on the stereotypical gender roles.)

In season two, I think Issa will reflect and learn how to communicate effectively. Trust me, it’s not an easy thing to do, but she will figure it out. Also, dating again will be rough for Issa. Matter of fact, I doubt she will even date at the beginning of season two. Depending on how much time has passed, I could see her still mourning the loss of her relationship with Lawrence. I predict that Issa will run into Lawrence, and he will be this new person. The man that she hoped he would be when they were together, but he still doesn’t want her back. Although she is heartbroken, she has to push forward.

Final Thoughts

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Source: HBO

All and all, great job Insecure. You have successfully ruined social media for the next weeks. No seriously, I think Insecure’s first season was remarkable. I look forward to season two sometime next year. What do you think about the show? Let me know in the comments section below.

Thanks for reading!

This & That: Fixing the Real World

October 4, 2016

Filed Under : Lifestyle - This & That

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Source: MTV

This is the true story…

Let’s take a trip down memory lane, and reminisce about MTV’s longest reality show, the Real World. A social experiment that once addressed “Real” issues like domestic violence, HIV, and systematic oppression, the Real World helped pioneer the genre of reality television. Remember all those iconic characters like Puck, Ruthie, Pedro, Coral, Trishelle, and Alton? These individuals, among others, are still considered household names. Even my girl Tami Roman got her first stunt on MTV before making her way to Basketball Wives years later.

In 32 seasons, the show’s format has significantly changed over the years. Since The Real World Ex-plosion, we have been subjected to poorly executed twists, stock casting, and reused locations. So, where do we go from here? Should MTV pull the plug? Being the optimistic person that I am, there’s still hope! In order for the Real World to regain its iconic status, some things have to change. With the Real World Seattle: Bad Blood appearing on October 12th, I have listed some ideas on how to save the show moving forward.

Location

post_realworld1_100416_02Source: Wikipedia

Seriously, how many times can we go back to Vegas, LA, and New York? Although these locations worked in the past, it’s time for something new. Remember the Real World Portland? That season had the last authentic location, and the casting was amazing! So, maybe MTV should explore other locations in the United States. For example, the Real World hasn’t filmed in the dirty south since Back to New Orleans in 2010. Can you imagine a season in Nashville, Atlanta, Memphis, Houston, Charlotte, or even Charleston, South Carolina? That already sounds like great television! Come on, give us something new MTV! Let’s take it a step further. We can even do the Real World Puerto Rico.

MTV the options are there. So, let’s just make it happen already!

Casting

post_realworld1_100416_03Source: MTV

After 32 seasons, we finally receive a minority-majority cast since the Real World Hollywood’s multi-racial group. However, there’s not much diversity when 75% of the cast has the same ethnic background. Although their personalities and backgrounds may be different, MTV needs to appeal to every demographic. For Pete’s sake, there has never been an Asian male casted yet. That’s really embarrassing.

(Imagine casting a roommate with a child, someone with cancer, a former porn star (I forgot Dustin), anything is better than what we have now!)

I know people want to see eye candy on television, but we have to stop taking this “model-esque” approach. One or two runway hotties are fine, but not the entire cast! How about we cast someone that’s a little overweight, you know pretty face with a thick waist and an explosive personality.

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Source: MTV

What about a Muslim? Remember Parisa and Sahar? We don’t because they were boring. Cast a Muslim that isn’t afraid to speak up for themselves. Yes Parisa, you were public enemy number one on the Real World Sydney, but you have become a distant memory.

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Source: MTV

What about a man of color that’s not always a “ladies man,” overly chill, or just “there?” The great thing about roommates like Karamo, Greg, Nia, and CeeJai is that they were black, yet they brought the drama without playing into their perspective roles. Karamo was an opinionated, gay black man that shunned Shavonda for hooking-up with Landon (The white roommate). Ironically, Karamo had a new love interest of his own and guess what, this new lover wasn’t even black. The irony! That was real TV back in the day!

I make all these references to say that casting plays a big part on the iconic status of the show. Throwing in the same cookie cutter roommates is not only a failure, but a disappointment. All that melanin on Bad Blood is a step in the right direction though!

Twists

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Source: MTV

Take seven complete strangers, throw them into a luxurious house, and watch these egos collide. This was MTV during its prime! Since the original concept has changed so drastically, it would be impossible to recapture its nostalgic presence. With that being said, I have listed some potential twist ideas below:

Worlds Apart: Cast ten young twenty something year olds; five were born into wealth, while the other five were born into poverty. Put this group in one house, and sure enough, something will go down. Don’t tell the cast that this is the twist. Have them figure it out on their own. Also, the two groups should work at two separate jobs. The “wealthy” group should have to work for a community wellness center (A way to humble them from their life of privilege). The less privileged should get a job for an entertainment company, where they get to work with celebrities and radio personalities (For exposure in their respective fields). Jealousy is going to be an understatement. Will these two groups ever be able to co-exist together, or do they have more in common than meets the eye?

post_realworld1_100416_07Source: MTV

Ex-plosion II: Let’s raise the stakes here. Rather than putting one ex in the house for a short period of time, let’s add two at the beginning of the show. The season starts off with eight roommates. From the jump, tension arises as connections are made. Each pair realizes that they dated the same person at some point. Then, the person that they dated moves in to the house as well (A total of twelve roommates). It’s a small world out there, especially when your partners begin to overlap. Sounds like a complete crap show.

Late Registration: The Real World buys a house off campus at one of the Big Ten schools. Seven students must co-exist, attend class, party, and deal with their personal issues together. Imagine BET’s College Hill done the right way. Frat parties, daddy issues, pregnancy scares, and of course graduation. What’s more to ask for?

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Source: MTV

As mentioned above, these are just some ideas to play around with. So, what do you think? Can we save the Real World, or is going to join the cancelled syndication circuit with its sibling Road Rules?

Make sure to tune in next Thursday for the Real World Seattle: Bad Blood.