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.”

Kodak’s New Cameras Don't Just Take Photos—They Also Print Them

Your Instagram account wishes it had this clout.
Your Instagram account wishes it had this clout.

Snapping a photo and immediately sharing it on social media is definitely convenient, but there’s still something so satisfying about having the printed photo—like you’re actually holding the memory in your hands. Kodak’s new STEP cameras now offer the best of both worlds.

As its name implies, the Kodak STEP Instant Print Digital Camera, available for $70 on Amazon, lets you take a picture and print it out on that very same device. Not only do you get to skip the irksome process of uploading photos to your computer and printing them on your bulky, non-portable printer (or worse yet, having to wait for your local pharmacy to print them for you), but you never need to bother with ink cartridges or toner, either. The Kodak STEP comes with special 2-inch-by-3-inch printing paper inlaid with color crystals that bring your image to life. There’s also an adhesive layer on the back, so you can easily stick your photos to laptop covers, scrapbooks, or whatever else could use a little adornment.

There's a 10-second self-timer, so you don't have to ask strangers to take your group photos.Kodak

For those of you who want to give your photos some added flair, you might like the Kodak STEP Touch, available for $130 from Amazon. It’s similar to the regular Kodak STEP, but the LCD touch screen allows you to edit your photos before you print them; you can also shoot short videos and even share your content straight to social media.

If you want to print photos from your smartphone gallery, there's the Kodak STEP Instant Mobile Photo Printer. This portable $80 printer connects to any iOS or Android device with Bluetooth capabilities and can print whatever photos you send to it.

The Kodak STEP Instant Mobile Photo Printer connects to an app that allows you to add filters and other effects to your photos. Kodak

All three Kodak STEP devices come with some of that magical printer paper, but you can order additional refills, too—a 20-sheet set costs $8 on Amazon.

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This Fan-Made Opening to a Friday the 13th Saturday Morning Cartoon Is Killer

Jason Voorhees gets animated.
Jason Voorhees gets animated.
Photo courtesy of Frank's Kid, Facebook

If a movie became a hit in the 1980s, it stood a good chance of being turned into a Saturday morning cartoon series. Films like Back to the Future, The Karate Kid, Star Wars, and even the Rambo franchise got animated adaptations.

Owing to its grotesque violence and subject matter, the slasher series Friday the 13th never received that honor (though it did inspire an anthology series). But a fan and artist named Mike Chiechi has corrected this oversight, offering a look on his Facebook page of what a Jason Voorhees cartoon might look like.

Warning: Animated violence follows:

The premise for the series would not seem to lend itself to longevity, as Jason has a habit of dismembering his sidekicks.

Chiechi has also imagined what The Exorcist game package might have looked like for the Nintendo Entertainment System and what could happen if killer doll Chucky met The Berenstain Bears. And while we’re unlikely to see a Friday the 13th animated series unless Adult Swim makes a bold move, it would make a nice complement to the very real Jason Voorhees breakfast cereal released by Funko in 2018.

You can check out more of Chiechi’s mash-up work on his Instagram page.

[h/t Bloody Disgusting]