Sunday, November 6, 2016

REVIEW: 'Insecure' - Issa Freaks Out About a Video of Her on the Internet in 'Shady as F**k'

HBO's Insecure - Episode 1.05 "Shady as F**k"

A mortified Issa searches for a way to get her open mic video taken down and finds herself reconnecting with Daniel during a trip to his studio. Lawrence faces questions about his future with Issa. Molly invites her "perfect guy" Chris to her co-worker's engagement party, while attempting to navigate her "friendship" with Jared.

This season of Insecure has seen Issa at a romantic crossroads in her life. She wasn't sure if she could commit to Lawrence for the rest of her life. He wasn't asking that of her. They were just casually living together like they have been for five years. But she felt that pressure because she is nearing the end of her twenties. She feels like she needs to have her life figured out at this point. For the large part, she does. But it's also clear that she is being tempted by other things as well. She wants to explore other opportunities to see if the life she has built is the one she wants for a long time. The pressure is on her not to mess everything up while still seeing what else is out there. Things have healed between her and Lawrence since the initial scare at the start of the season. But now, Issa does something in "Shady as F**k" that won't be as easy to come back from. She's made her choice. She can't go back and change things now. She has slept with Daniel. She gave in to that temptation. She was in a vulnerable place and gave in to those feelings. And now, she'll have to face the aftermath of her potentially ruining her life even further. All of this started because she got on that stage to pursue her musical dreams. That is still exciting to her but it has also proven to be very dangerous as well.

Issa's "broken pussy" performance has been posted online. She's freaking out about it because it changes people's perception of her. Lawrence is amused by it. He doesn't see it as that big a deal. However, it has altered how she is seen at her school. It's all the kids want to talk about. This is the thing that makes her cool. They no longer see her as the responsible educator. She's not the person who took them to the beach or has tried giving them more opportunities in life. Now, she is simply the person rapping about broken pussy on the Internet. It's amusing to see that she has her own meme now. That's completely unexpected. This performance was freeing to her. But now, it's doing so much damage to her. Most of that is self-inflicted. Lawrence doesn't think she has much to be worried about. Yes, the kids will obsess over it now but soon something else will come along and take their focus away from her. That doesn't happen soon enough. Issa wants to find the person responsible for posting the video. She wants to demand it be taken down. If they won't comply, then she has Molly ready to pounce with legal action. This is something serious for Issa. She doesn't want this video to get back to her job and potentially ruin a very good thing for her. She needs this career to work out. She's determined to succeed. She broke free and now has to deal with the consequences.

However, Issa soon becomes distracted yet again. She's worried about this video getting back to her boss and what that would mean for her future. She reaches out to Daniel to see if he knows who posted the video. He doesn't but he is able to offer her an escape for the day. He takes her to the studio. It's not that great of an experience mostly because the rapper recording isn't that great at all. Issa and Daniel bond over how terrible and monotonous this guy is. It's once again through music that Issa is able to escape the troubles of her reality. That has always been true for her. Whenever she needs to release her emotions, she puts on a performance. Sure, it's just in her head. But it's a crucial way for her to keep everything together. Here though, Daniel encourages her to break free more than she ever has before. He gets her in the recording booth to do a track. It's much better than the work he was just doing. It's such a high for both of them. The two get caught up in the moment and start wondering why things never worked out between them. It's clearly something the season has been building towards. Daniel has always been the one that got away for Issa. She was able to avoid temptation in the series premiere because Molly pulled her back to reality. But now, it's up to her to come to that conclusion. She does get that realization that she can't betray Lawrence like this. Unfortunately, it happens too late. She sleeps with Daniel and only freaks out after it's done. So now, she'll have much more to worry about than a video online - which is still up for everyone to see.

Lawrence isn't without temptation either. His response is different though. He has been flirting with the cute bank teller, Tasha, for a couple of episodes now. He made the effort to always see her when he goes to the bank. It's clearly a dynamic that he enjoys. It was a part of his routine. She comforted him while he was depositing his latest unemployment check. She was the one to inspire him not to give up on his dreams just because he is now working at Best Buy. Issa has been very supportive of his recent decisions as well. He is becoming the man who actually deserves someone like Issa. He's still just getting his shit together though. His friend is already getting married even though he hasn't known his fiancé for very long. Issa and Lawrence have been together for so long. Everyone just assumes marriage is going to happen for them sometime soon. If not, it would have been a huge waste of time. Lawrence doesn't see it that way. He's not motivated to plan a proposal just because his friend is getting married. He doesn't feel that pressure. He is still committed to Issa though. He would never cheat on her. She is his rock in life. She keeps him stable. If he didn't have her, then he wouldn't know what to do. She helped motivate him to take this job at Best Buy. It's not what he ultimately wants. But he trusts that Issa will still be there waiting for him once he finally does make it big. He turns Tasha away as soon as she starts acting on their flirtation. He doesn't give in to the temptation. Issa cannot say the same. Lawrence will be so devastated when he learns the truth. This has the potential to rock his entire world. The fallout of that should be interesting to watch.

It has also been fascinating to watch Molly go on so many dates over the last few episodes. She has clearly hit her stride thanks to this new elite dating service she is on. She has no problem meeting guys who actually want a relationship. She has found like-minded people. And yet, she is still having problems finding something real. She hasn't turned introspective yet. But it is becoming more and more clear to the audience that she loves fast and hard which is what ultimately pushes so many guys away. Here, she seems desperate to the rest of the world. That's not how she views her actions. She is actually interested in her new guy, Chris, leaving clothes at her apartment. It's a genuine offer. But to the men in her life, it's a sign that she desperately needs a relationship right now. She needs something real in order to have happiness. She has put that pressure on herself this season. She has been obsessed with finding a guy to date. That has been her core mission. She views it as the source for happiness at this time in her life. The world doesn't revolve around men and relationships. But it's clearly something that Molly cares about. She wants a relationship to work for her just like it is for so many people around her. All of her friends seem happily in love. Yes, she knows how complicated things are for Issa and Lawrence. But she is still envious of that kind of connection. In the end, all she gets is pity love. Chris shows up at the party to be supportive of Molly. He's not there as her actual boyfriend. He doesn't want to make that commitment yet even though Molly has been ready for it for a long time. When she is rejected in that manner, she gets drunks and shows up on the doorstep of the one guy she has actually had a connection with this season, Jared. It's unclear if Molly and Jared would be a healthy couple. It's just clear that their dynamic was real. Molly is trying to force a relationship into happening. She's trying too hard which is ultimately the thing getting in the way of happiness.

Some more thoughts:
  • "Shady as F**k" was written by Ben Dougan and directed by Melina Matsoukas.
  • It's amusing how Issa thinks she can just show up at Molly's work, rant to her for a little bit and then be surprised that Molly has actual work to do. Issa knows all about hard work and the importance of a good job. But she also wants her best friend to fight for her the moment she needs it.
  • It's also fun to watch Lawrence view Issa's "broken pussy" video. He's just now learning about some of the things that happened the night that they split up. He's in for even more in the next few episodes.
  • Issa showed up at school to see how big her video still was but Frieda was no one to be seen. So, there isn't a clear connection of the video somehow getting back to her job and her boss. But that threat still exists and could hurt Issa in the future.
  • It really is surprising that Chris shows up at the party for Molly. Most of the guys just blow her off as soon as they realize she wants to get serious right now. He at least had the courtesy to show up and give her momentary happiness - even though he later ripped it away.
  • Jared proves to be quite the gentlemen as well. He hasn't heard from Molly for awhile. And now, she calls out of the blue to help Issa. And then, she shows up drunk at his door. He gives her a couch to sleep on. It should be interesting to see what happens next.
  • Will Lawrence tell Issa about Tasha? There's nothing really to tell except to use it as a way to say he was tempted to cheat as well but decided not to because their relationship was so strong.