Insecure S2E4: Hella LA
And...we're back! This season gets more & more conflicting every episode but here are the things that stuck out to me to talk about this episode:
Mission Impossible Issa is here to stay it seems and she's ready to build a roster of sexual partners to-DAY! She's got a game plan to meet more men and have more sex, but with less emotional attachment. Good luck, sis, good luck. Her (clearly forced) confidence is on the rise since sleeping with her neighbor, and this changes her outlook on her ability to seek men out and attract them. This front probably helps her to ignore deeper feelings, social anxiety and worry about her dating future. Fake it til you make it, right? She seems happy, in control & confident and her friends are in full support--this facade is much easier to bear than outwardly sad, confused or shameful Issa. (beware of friends who let you ride this fun wave with no feedback. beware. we need friends who can also tolerate our distress because we are human, and distress is inevitable.) This bold and overtly sexual front is what we've learned about Issa; and usually comes right before her downfall--confident, condescendingly so, making decisions to use people to feel better about herself. She's almost annoyingly empowered at this stage and lacks insight or accountability. I'm just waiting for the universe to hold a mirror up to her face to remind her that she's flawed. AF.
Attention should paid to how Issa treats Daniel in these moments, not too far fetched from what we often see in our own relationships or relationships around us. When we feel more confident, we tend to look for or even CREATE scenarios that support this confidence. Notice Issa isn't taking this uber confidence to Lawrence (not that that's a good idea) but she takes it to men she doesn't know or even vet well, and to Daniel, who she knows has a soft spot for her and who was available to her the last time she felt majorly insecure. Not only does she see him AND seek him out, but if you let her tell the story, Daniel was searching for her and conspired their awkward meetup! Issa has a tendency to project her insecurities onto him akin to S1's fiasco, and she attempts the same things 3 months later. I wish Daniel, or ANYONE would give her some feedback on this up & down pattern, but I'll wait. The ending scene tells me that the Daniel & Issa saga isn't over, unfortunately. My hope is that Daniel could be the healthy character; the least Insecure character, and the mirror Issa so desperately needs.
In other relationship "drama," Molly learns that a marriage between childhood friends is not what she thought--they were married in a church for goodness sake, how could you not be monogamous?? Isn't that what marriage is--commitment under your higher being and the law to be with one person, in sickness & in health and all the other stuff that comes next? Nowhere in that is there mention of sex or intimacy with a third or more parties. So Molly, like many others, was floored (and maybe...intrigued?). In general, there is a bias and judgment of non-monogamous relationships, often linked to religious or cultural views and/or relationship insecurity. Unfortunately, partners who choose to be in open relationships are often judged as being confused, being taken advantage of, being sexual deviants, etc., when in fact, in healthy open relationships, none of the above is true. Honestly though, Dro only mentioned them being in an open marriage in an attempt to sleep with Molly so...I understand her skepticism at first. This wasn't addressed in casual conversation about their relationships and what's going on in their lives. Dro used this information as a means to coax Molly into feeling comfortable enough to sleep with him because there was "permission." For Molly to learn that someone she grew up with, particularly a young black couple that she has known for YEARS, could entertain non-monogamy was just too much. She did not fall for his advances and seemingly really questioned what this all means. There are so many different types and arrangements of open marriages (I'll dedicate another post to discussing this in further relational context) so I really like that this was addressed here. Surprising & dynamic storyline, Insecure. I likes it.
And finally...let me get back to Lawrence. I felt so uncomfortable for him the entire episode, even empathic and sad for him! The obvious talk of the town is the sexual threesome that Lawrence had with two random women he "met," in the grocery store. I put that in quotations because these women CHOSE him before he even knew what was going on. Under the guise of kindness, two non-black (important. very important.) women buttered Lawrence up by helping him out in a bind, then flirting with him outside and enticing him to spend some time with them. They faked me out too until they found him in the parking lot. I could see nearly everything that was coming next, most problematic being choosing Lawrence because he was black and making assumptions of how he could please them sexually because of said blackness. Fetishizing him. What's problematic here?
Steeped in the history of a racist country is the notion that black men's physical stature makes them more endowed sexually and athletically. Particular to this episode, assumptions of Lawrence's physical endowment were viewed solely as sexual pleasure. Black men were/are used sexually for their bodies (Have you seen the movie Get Out?) and also, confusingly, penalized for this SAME body i.e. the Mandingo vs. Black Buck stereotype, in which he is viewed as a danger to society. The same white women who find themselves so lustful for black men also accused them of rape when these men no longer served them, disappointed them or it was learned that the two had sex. For Lawrence to have two instances within the same day---a few hours apart, in which he was under the white male gaze and fearfully seen as a threat, and the white female gaze, where he's seen positively and used, was really painful to watch. I felt for how disorienting that must have been for him and for black men in this world who can't control this gaze, but can't help but fear it. And as a black woman, I fear this gaze FOR black men.
To see these women pantomiming what they assume would be attractive to a black man while playing The Weeknd, a black musical artist, was almost too much for me to stomach. Unfortunate that in response to these scenes, I've seen/heard many men supportive of Lawrence because he was expanding his sexual experiencing; dismissing how demeaning this was for him after he was unable to "perform," how they expected him to. They treated him like a robot, there solely for their pleasure, then had the NERVE to shame him and casually move onto doing hard drugs and planning their next events. Perplexed & avoidant Lawrence, leaves to gather himself in the car and can't even tell his friend the full story of his experience. Wow. And...the ongoing lack of condom use HERE? Not here for it. Lawrence was missing physical and emotional protection with these women, left looking for his ego and his sanity in a sitch that went left REAL quick. So lost that he ends up back at the apartment he once shared with Issa. Oh, this is bad.
I really don't know where this season can go next, though I have a few assumptions:
Daniel & Issa. Molly & Dro. Kelly and...fam, anyone.
-Felix, who Issa met up with at the Kiss & Grind event, is rude & awkward. Really bold to question her hair and voice in the 1st 15 seconds of meeting. Have we lost the tact in dating? Rolls eyes at technology not helping people build social skills. It was hard to watch Issa feel criticized and then lie about having a cold to make up for his not liking her voice.
-Kelly is GOLD. She has to stick around but I'd really like a show just revolving around her adlibs & decision making skills.
-Chad is trash. Chad is a toxic male friend. Chad must go. But Chad is everywhere around us.
Thanks for sticking with me, folks! Stay tuned for the full catch up to S2E5, before S2E6 drops on Sunday! - Dr. A