Insecure and High Maintenance (HBO)

HBO is doing a lot of things right now. They’re winding down Game of Thrones, revving up Westworld (poised to take the place of GoT), and have purchased High Maintenance and The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl… kind of. High Maintenance is now a 30 minute television show and The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl has turned into Insecure. They canceled Vinyl (thank god) and have strong series in Silicon Valley and VEEP.

Insecure is fantastic. People of color don’t get the recognition on television that they deserve so it’s great to see something that is not stereotypical coming to television. It’s cowritten with the former host of The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore, Larry Wilmore. It is in your face and also deeply humorous.

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Issa Rae, the main character in Insecure, is confident but only when she’s in front of a mirror. In the real world, she’s struggling a bit. The pilot was funny and poignant enough for me to want to immediately binge the whole show.

Apparently, it’s been in the making since 2013. As Danielle Belton from The Root says, “Getting a show on the air—let alone one that stars anyone other than an ex-Seinfeld cast member—is a notoriously slow and fickle process.” This is certainly true with HBO. Not that VEEP is doing badly, I mean Julia Louis-Dreyfus just won an Emmy. At least it’s on now and we can all worship it.

High Maintenance gathered a cult following and had been a critical darling for a while as a web-series. It then started charging through Vimeo and, I suppose, got bought by HBO because someone saw merit in it.

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The first two episodes are interesting, the second one trying to be a lot more political than laugh out loud funny. There is some great work done about the gay hookup culture and also friendship in the era of Snapchat that breathes some life into a show that could be very boring very quickly. I won’t lie, I never watched the webseries. I did hear about how good it was, though. It  is also streaming on HBO now.

There are moments of truth in High Maintenance that I think make it a success. This show gives you the idea that it’s all about drugs but really, it is about life. It’s strange though, it almost has an anthology-type experience. Easy, on Netflix, is similar with how it focuses on a set of problems or a set of characters with bits and pieces tying it together. High Maintenance does it better but you don’t really get to know characters for long. Which is a shame in my opinion.

Both of these new series are hitting their marks and are playing with expectations. I am excited to see more.

One more thing, it’s worth watching Insecure with subtitles because you will then catch the lyrics to the raps as well. I watch everything with subtitles because my house can get loud. For Insecure, though, it’s a great addition to watching the show even if it’s quiet.

Read more about Insecure with Variety’s review here.

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