10 Surprising Facts About Insecure

Issa Rae stars in Insecure.
Issa Rae stars in Insecure.
Merie W. Wallace/HBO

The critically acclaimed HBO series Insecure just wrapped its fourth season and viewers are already clamoring for season 5. Despite many calls to make the show longer (it will never be longer) Insecure is a half-hour comedy that centers around the experience of two young Black women as they navigate dating, their careers, and their friendships.

Season 4 of Insecure focused largely on the latter, examining the friendship between lead characters Issa Dee (played by Issa Rae, who co-created the show with Larry Wilmore, writes it, and is an executive producer) and Molly Carter (played by Yvonne Orji). The show has always been celebrated, but its most recent season served as a particularly welcome respite from a world that often ignores and silences the voices of Black women. Here are some things you might not have known about Insecure.

1. We almost had a very different show from Issa Rae.

Most fans know that Issa Rae found initial fame from her award-winning web series Awkward Black Girl. Following the success of her podcast, the actress/writer/producer was approached by Shonda Rhimes and her production partner Betsy Beers. Rae pitched them a comedy about a woman trying to date image-obsessed Hollywood men titled I Hate L.A. Dudes. When the project eventually fell through, Rae told The New York Times that she felt she had “compromised my vision, and it didn’t end up [being] the show that I wanted. It wasn’t funny anymore.’’ Time passed, new opportunities arrived, and now we have Insecure.

2. Insecure is a love letter to Los Angeles.

Much in the same way that its lead character has found her calling showcasing the best of her community, Insecure has always featured the city of Los Angeles as its own character. The block party episode, for example, featured different vendors from the area, which were chosen by soliciting suggestions from the show’s staff, and also featured performances by local musicians.

3. Insecure has attracted a lot of amazing directors.

Insecure has featured the work of fantastic directors like Debbie Allen, Melina Matsoukas, Stella Meghie, Tina Mabry, Oscar-winner Regina King, and many more. This season Kerry Washington directed the penultimate episode titled “Lowkey Trying.” Washington tweeted about her time working on the show, saying: "I've been a huge fan of Insecure since the jump. This is a show that showcases our full humanity. Our beautiful joys & struggles. Our culture, our neighborhoods. Our rich alive Blackness. To direct this show was a privilege! I'm so proud to be part of the @insecurehbo family."

4. Natasha Rothwell is pulling triple duty as writer, producer, and actress on Insecure.

L to R: Yvonne Orji, Issa Rae, Natasha Rothwell, and Amanda Seales in Insecure.John P. Johnson/HBO

The multihyphenate Natasha Rothwell was on the writing staff of Insecure when she was asked if she would like to play the newly created character (and future fan favorite) Kelli—and the rest is comedy gold. This season’s “Lowkey Happy” was her first solo writing credit on the HBO comedy.

5. Insecure’s show within the show, Looking For Latoya, also has a fictional podcast episode.

Each season of Insecure has included a show within the show that both the characters and the viewers enjoy, from the forbidden slave romance soap Due North, inspired by a writer’s room joke, to Kev’yn, a spoof on '90s TV sitcoms and recent nostalgic reboots. Season 4 featured the mockumentary series Looking for Latoya, a satirical look at the ways that missing Black women are often ignored. It was such a hit, they created a fictional podcast episode.

6. The character of Molly Carter was inspired by a friend of Issa Rae’s.

Yvonne Orji and Issa Rae in Insecure.Merie W. Wallace/HBO

Yvonne Orji embodies the smart, funny, beautiful, and sometimes aggravating Molly Carter. In the animated short for HBO Backstories, Orji chronicled her journey as a comedian and actress, and humorously revealed that Molly is loosely based on one of Issa Rae’s friends. (Here they are meeting each other.)

7. Solange is a musical consultant for Insecure.

Insecure never disappoints when it comes to the music, and with Solange as a musical consultant it is no surprise. She got involved with the show through Melina Matsoukas, who directed one of her videos. The show frequently showcases up-and-coming artists like Sonny747, St. Panther, Kirby, and many more.

8. Insecure’s wardrobe department works with several up-and-coming Black designers.

Issa Rae and Yvonne Orji in Insecure.Merie W. Wallace/HBO

Insecure’s costume designer Shiona Turini does a fantastic job capturing aspects of the American black experience for all of the characters with looks like Kelly’s B.A.P.S. costume to Tiffany’s baby wearing a Future AKA hat. This extends to the designers used on the show.

“Not only is it important to me to buy from and support the network of Black and, often, independent designers in the industry, but it's also equally important to our characters,” Turini told Teen Vogue. “They're 'just like us'—diligent, mindful shoppers who are knowledgeable about the importance of supporting Black-owned businesses.” Some of her favorite pieces have been the vintage T-shirts from BLK MKT Vintage and No Sesso.

9. The character of Andrew was almost Australian (sort of).

Alexander Hodge, who plays Molly’s new boyfriend Andrew, is Australian. Hodge recalls that during his chemistry read with Yvonne Orji, Orji learned he was Australian, which prompted her to stop the audition, and launch into a conversation with Issa about whether Andrew should now be Australian while Prentice Penny, the co-showrunner, ate his lunch and waited for the two of them to finish. Ultimately, because the show is a love letter to L.A., it was decided that Andrew had to be American.

10. Insecure’s fifth season is being written during quarantine.

While the COVID-19 pandemic has caused delays to the production and release dates of several movies and TV series, the Insecure team is already working on season 5—from the comfort of their own homes. In an interview with Variety, Rae said that the writers got to work on the new season in early May, albeit virtually.

“I think we have a really good room where people are very, like, sensitive to people speaking,” Rae said of connecting with her team remotely. “We implemented a hand-raising policy just because. That’s the other hard part, like we’re such a jokey room, and it is hard to get in there with the jokes. So we’re finding our rhythm, but it’s still really fun.”

10 of the Best Indoor and Outdoor Heaters on Amazon

Mr. Heater/Amazon
Mr. Heater/Amazon

With the colder months just around the corner, you might want to start thinking about investing in an indoor or outdoor heater. Indoor heaters not only provide a boost of heat for drafty spaces, but they can also be a money-saver, allowing you to actively control the heat based on the rooms you’re using. Outdoor heaters, meanwhile, can help you take advantage of cold-weather activities like camping or tailgating without having to call it quits because your extremities have gone numb. Check out this list of some of Amazon’s highest-rated indoor and outdoor heaters so you can spend less time shivering this winter and more time enjoying what the season has to offer.

Indoor Heaters

1. Lasko Ceramic Portable Heater; $20

Lasko/Amazon

This 1500-watt heater from Lasko may only be nine inches tall, but it can heat up to 300 square feet of space. With 11 temperature settings and three quiet settings—for high heat, low heat, and fan only—it’s a dynamic powerhouse that’ll keep you toasty all season long.

Buy it: Amazon

2. Alrocket Oscillating Space Heater; $25

Alrocket/Amazon

Alrocket’s oscillating space heater is an excellent addition to any desk or nightstand. Using energy-saving ceramic technology, this heater is made of fire-resistant material, and its special “tip-over” safety feature forces it to turn off if it falls over (making it a reliable choice for homes with kids or pets). It’s extremely quiet, too—at only 45 dB, it’s just a touch louder than a whisper. According to one reviewer, this an ideal option for a “very quiet but powerful” heater.

Buy it: Amazon

3. De’Longhi Oil-Filled Radiator Space Heather; $79

De’Longhi/Amazon

If you prefer a space heater with a more old-fashioned vibe, this radiator heater from De’Longhi gives you 2020 technology with a vintage feel. De’Longhi’s heater automatically turns itself on when the temperatures drops below 44°F, and it will also automatically turn itself off if it starts to overheat. Another smart safety feature? The oil system is permanently sealed, so you won’t have to worry about accidental spills.

Buy it: Amazon

4. Aikoper Ceramic Tower Heater; $70

Aikoper/Amazon

Whether your room needs a little extra warmth or its own heat source, Aikoper’s incredibly precise space heater has got you covered. With a range of 40-95°F, it adjusts by one-degree intervals, giving you the specific level of heat you want. It also has an option for running on an eight-hour timer, ensuring that it will only run when you need it.

Buy it: Amazon

5. Isiler Space Heater; $37

Isiler/Amazon

For a space heater that adds a fun pop of color to any room, check out this yellow unit from Isiler. Made from fire-resistant ceramic, Isiler’s heater can start warming up a space within seconds. It’s positioned on a triangular stand that creates an optimal angle for hot air to start circulating, rendering it so effective that, as one reviewer put it, “This heater needs to say ‘mighty’ in its description.”

Buy it: Amazon

Outdoor Heaters

6. Mr. Heater Portable Buddy; $104

Mr. Heater/Amazon

Make outdoor activities like camping and grilling last longer with Mr. Heater’s indoor/outdoor portable heater. This heater can connect to a propane tank or to a disposable cylinder, allowing you to keep it in one place or take it on the go. With such a versatile range of uses, this heater will—true to its name—become your best buddy when the temperature starts to drop.

Buy it: Amazon

7. Hiland Pyramid Patio Propane Heater; Various

Hiland/Amazon

The cold’s got nothing on this powerful outdoor heater. Hiland’s patio heater has a whopping 40,000 BTU output, which runs for eight to 10 hours on high heat. Simply open the heater’s bottom door to insert a propane tank, power it on, and sit back to let it warm up your backyard. The bright, contained flame from the propane doubles as an outdoor light.

Buy it: Amazon

8. Solo Stove Bonfire Pit; $345

Solo Stove/Amazon

This one is a slight cheat since it’s a bonfire pit and not a traditional outdoor heater, but the Solo Stove has a 4.7-star rating on Amazon for a reason. Everything about this portable fire pit is meticulously crafted to maximize airflow while it's lit, from its double-wall construction to its bottom air vents. These features all work together to help the logs burn more completely while emitting far less smoke than other pits. It’s the best choice for anyone who wants both warmth and ambiance on their patio.

Buy it: Amazon

9. Dr. Infrared Garage Shop Heater; $119

Dr. Infrared/Amazon

You’ll be able to use your garage or basement workshop all season long with this durable heater from Dr. Infrared. It’s unique in that it includes a built-in fan to keep warm air flowing—something that’s especially handy if you need to work without wearing gloves. The fan is overlaid with heat and finger-protectant grills, keeping you safe while it’s powered on.

Buy it: Amazon

10. Mr. Heater 540 Degree Tank Top; $86

Mr. Heater/Amazon

Mr. Heater’s clever propane tank top automatically connects to its fuel source, saving you from having to bring any extra attachments with you on the road. With three heat settings that can get up to 45,000 BTU, the top can rotate 360 degrees to give you the perfect angle of heat you need to stay cozy. According to a reviewer, for a no-fuss outdoor heater, “This baby is super easy to light, comes fully assembled … and man, does it put out the heat.”

Buy it: Amazon

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Why Steve Carell Was Anxious About Being in The Office Finale

Steve Carell was a bit apprehensive about appearing in the series finale.
Steve Carell was a bit apprehensive about appearing in the series finale.
NBC

Even though fans of The Office were sad to say goodbye to Steve Carell and the employees at Dunder Mifflin when the series went off the air in 2013, a lot of new content related to the hit comedy has come out in recent years.

Not only can fans reminisce about The Office with actresses Angela Kinsey (Angela Martin) and Jenna Fischer (Pam Beesly) on their podcast Office Ladies, but Kevin Malone actor Brian Baumgartner has also started his own podcast about the show as well.

Baumgartner’s podcast, titled An Oral History of The Office, offers listeners a chance to learn how the American version of the mockumentary comedy was developed. From conception to casting, An Oral History of The Office gives longtime fans an in-depth look at how their favorite paper-pushers came to be.

As PopSugar reports, Baumgartner’s 12-episode podcast has featured guest appearances from other actors that were on the show. Carell, John Krasinski, Rainn Wilson, Fischer, and Kinsey have all dropped in to talk about their days in Scranton.

For episode 11 of the podcast, titled “It’s a Wrap,” Baumgartner spoke with Carell and The Office creator Greg Daniels about the actor's surprise appearance in the series finale.

Longtime fans of the show will recall that Michael Scott left Dunder Mifflin to move to Colorado with Holly (played by Amy Ryan) in the finale of season 7. The podcast revealed that Carell was actually hesitant to return for the season 9 finale.

You can read an excerpt from the interview below:

Brian Baumgartner:

Greg wanted the finale to be a giant family reunion, and any office reunion wouldn’t be complete without Steve Carell. And had that been in the works for a while, between you and Steve, or did you go to him and he immediately said, yes, I’ll come back?

Greg Daniels:

Well, I think he was really anxious that it not be all about him. Like he was like, everybody who put in these other two years, this is the end of the show. This is the end of all of their stories. I left, this isn’t all about me. So he didn’t want to do too much. Uh, and you know, he had thoughts on how, what would draw him back to the situation. And he really liked the idea of coming back for Dwight’s wedding. Like he thought the character learned something, so he didn’t need self-promotion. At this point, he didn’t need to come back to be on the documentary. He came back for his friend Dwight.

Brian Baumgartner:

Steve said there had to be a reason.

Steve Carell:

Because I had told Greg, I just don’t think it’s a good idea because I felt like Michael’s story had definitely ended. And I was reticent about coming back because you guys had two more, really valuable seasons and that was everyone else’s ending. Michael had already had his, so I just didn’t want to, but at the same time, I felt like I should out of respect for all of you guys and out of my love for everybody to, you know, to acknowledge the, uh, the ending of this thing.

You can listen to the full episode here.