No spoilers here. There are a few folks who haven’t watched the show yet. Discussions this week have made it painfully obvious that this show is here to troll your dating/mating life. As we are starved to see ourselves on TV, HBO’s Insecure satisfies that appetite. But, how are we handling it? What can we observe and learn from the show and these online discussions?
1) People reveal their insecurities by how they discuss the characters.
Aha! So that’s the trick! Insecure, we see what you did there. Very smart. Trolling, but smart!
2) We can learn how damaged people are from dating and relationships by how they discuss the actions of the characters.
But you will also see how people have created some very unrealistic notions of dating and relationships. Basically, a lot of single people think that they are the best possible mate in the world… but that the rest of the dating pool is horrible. With this attitude to begin with, how do they expect dating to work out for them? (How you gon’ win when you ain’t right within?) The writers/creators of this show seem to be aware of this flaw in reasoning, but many of its viewers do NOT seem to be aware. It comes out in their discussions.
3) The stereotype of the ratchet Black woman has become internalized, and an intelligent Black woman can easily accept it, imitate it, and insist that it represents her.
Back when Martin was the hottest thing on Black TV screens, many Black men started talking and behaving like Martin. Even after the second season, everyone on the show, male and female, began to act like Martin. These days, intelligent, beautiful Black women who don’t even know they are looking for an identity have chosen to believe the persona of the Black woman they see on “reality” shows, and they choose to imitate it. They even believe that they identify with it. There is a certain manner of speech and expression that has become ubiquitous in the reality show “confessionals” and the wigs and makeup seem to be advertising these mannerisms like a must-have product.
On Insecure, you’ll see it in the main character’s friends, and sometimes in her. It’s worth noting because of how starved we are for images of ourselves on TV. If you were a fan of The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl, Issa Rae’s original dish of dopeness, you may remember that what made the show so great was that the protagonist did not fall into the everyday serving of the ratchet Black woman image we are force-fed in almost every other show about Black women. Yeah, yeah, they are two different shows with different sets of characters. Just sayin’. Diversity in Blackness is the shit.
4) Watch how easily some men congratulate themselves on everything without doing anything.
Life with patriarchy, right? Hilarious. Sad. Sometimes deadly. Pay attention to men talking about the actions of the men on this show. You’ll see.
5) We can see how the male characters don’t fit the usual stereotypes while we sense that there is still something missing from them.
While the show’s women fall into the usual as far as personalities go, the men seem like they are bringing some image diversity for Black men. However, there is something missing. What is it?
6) Most of the music in the show is pretty bad.
However, #3 and #4 explain this. Some people will take wack lyrics if the content is about sexual superiority. The rapper Too Short comes to mind. Then again, “rap music” as opposed to “hip hop” comes to mind. See? Conversations.
7) Every character on the show is really annoying.
All of them. The triumph of this show is that while you probably want to stab every single character, you will keep watching the show to see how things play out. You might enjoy hating these people, just hoping they all get their comeuppance somehow.
Insecure is a winner because of the conversations it yields. Men who date women and women who date men appear to be in some kind of war these days, and these conversations illuminate the battles. Will this show’s trolling inspire the dating antagonists to check themselves? Will it encourage them to be less self-centered? Will it persuade them to be more reasonable and considerate in their approaches to dating? Or, will these scrappy romantic challengers simply bask in the glow of seeing themselves on TV?
There’s a right and a wrong way to troll somebody. – Keef Sweat