I truly believe that Issa Rae and I were best friends or sisters in the last life. Her series, Insecure on HBO features so much music that I hardly know what to write about. I will begin by stating that there are soundtracks on Spotify for each episode. The soundtrack for the first episode “Hella Great” features twelve songs. Insecure is like a musical in that each song perfectly reflects what occurs in the scene. For example, the song “Crew” by GoldLink begins with the lyrics “Money all around me. She think I’m the man.” At that exact point, Lawrence is having sex with Tasha, a girl who thinks he is the best thing since sliced bread.
To save us all time and sanity, I will focus on the two songs that end the episode: “Let It Burn” by Jazmine Sullivan and “Love Galore” by SZA and Travis Scott. Both songs express Issa’s conflicting emotions about her situation with Lawrence, and Lawrence’s feelings about his relationship with Tasha. Because Issa Rae knows how much I dig complexity, Issa’s attachment to Lawrence is mirrored in her attachment to the school she and Frieda are assigned, East 44th High School.
SZA and Travis Scott have the perfect anti-love, love song. The speaker in this song is done with men and love and just wants to have fun. She just broke up with someone who had her in a complicated situation. Sex seemed to be the only thing they had in common. She asks him some not so rhetorical questions.
Why you bother me when you know you don’t want me?
Why you bother me when you know you got a woman?
Why you hit me when you know you know better?
This song plays as Issa is scrolling through her dating apps and SZA sings the words “I don’t trust these niggas.” These lyrics reflect Issa’s attitude at that point. She is over the dating game and longs for the comfort of her relationship with Lawrence. Yet, when she had that comfortable relationship, she was unsatisfied and bored. So should she try to win Lawrence back or let him go and play the field for fun?
The Extended Metaphor of East 44th High School
The term extended metaphor refers to a comparison between two unlike things that continues throughout a plot or poem. Issa and Frieda’s relationship with the students at East 44th High School reflects Issa’s situation with Lawrence. Issa and Frieda struggle to connect with the students and staff at East 44th High School. Both students and staff are aware of the program, but they are not interested. Joanne, Issa and Frieda’s boss, believes it is time to move on to another school. Their coworkers at East 44th High School also believe the school is a lost cause. Issa has doubts too. Then, she gets a text from Lawrence. He agrees to come by after work to pick up his mail. Issa’s optimism is renewed. She asks Joanne for another stab at the high school and Joanne agrees.
But, Lawrence does not show up to get his mail. Issa has set up an elaborate plan to show him all that he is missing, complete with a sexy dress and house party. He doesn’t show. Likewise, at East 44th High School, Issa and Frieda lay out a buffet of snacks in hopes that the teenagers will stay and take advantage of We Got Ya’ll. A few students come in, ask a few questions, just enough to get Issa and Frieda to let their guards down. Then, they steal the snacks and run away. The very next scene, Lawrence shows up to Issa’s apartment. He makes just enough conversation so that she lets her guard down. They chat about Tapatio and throw pillows. Next thing you know, he’s serving her five strokes and leaves.
“Let It Burn”
Jazmine Sullivans mid-tempo jam is one of my favorite songs. Her raspy tone compliments the vintage tone of the track oh-so-well. This song is the last song we hear at the very end of the episode. “Let It Burn” is about the beginnings of love. When your heart skips a beat when the phone rings. When you get butterflies in your stomach when you see him/her in person. When you find yourself saying his/her name over and over again in conversation with other people. “Call me crazy, but I think I found the love of my life” is repeated throughout the song. The message of the song is to let love happen and don’t fight it.
One problem. Issa and Lawrence have long passed this stage of love. They have already lived together, become too comfortable, taken each other for granted, and Issa cheated on him. When this song comes on, he just gave her the literal “Wham! Bam! Thank You Mam!” (Seriously, I counted five strokes.) He doesn’t stay to talk, cuddle, or even shower. Yet, she sits up and “Let It Burn” plays to reflect her optimism about their relationship. Don’t let it burn Issa. Let it go.
And what about Tasha. She is more justified in feeling the “Let It Burn” sensations than Issa. Lawrence doesn’t pick up his mail Friday night because he is out with Tasha. She probably feels that she has a relationship with Lawrence. She is supporting him while he is in between apartments. She saw the good in him even when Issa could only see the negative. But from Lawrence’s perspective, his relationship with Tasha is more like “Love Galore.”
We do whatever we want
We go wherever we want
Love however we want
It don’t matter
Looks like we got a good old fashion love triangle going on in season two. Issa, Tasha, and Lawrence have a decision to make: let it burn or do it for fun?
What was your favorite moment in Insecure season premiere? The freestyle over the montage of dates was my fave.