Third-episode verdict: Insecure (US: HBO; UK: Sky Atlantic)

The BarrometerA Barrometer rating of 3

In the US: Sundays, 10.30pm, HBO
In the UK: Tuesdays, 10.45pm, Sky Atlantic

After three episodes of Insecure, it’s clear that even if Issa Rae doesn’t know how to be a black woman, everyone else is pretty sure and they want her to act that way, too. Maybe if she weren’t so insecure, she could fight back and be who she is, but even her friend (Yvonne Orji), who seems a bit more sure of herself and is willing to tell others how to be a black woman, seems to be having trouble, too.

Essentially, the message of Insecure is that stereotypes and ignorance don’t help a black woman to navigate life, but even without them, it’s still difficult. But if you can get people to listen and understand, sometimes things can change in a small way.

There, now you don’t have to watch it. Because to be honest, after a good startInsecure has gone from a pointed piece of comedy making astute observations to a simple drama with one or two laughs. It’s not got much by way of plot, boiling down basically to Rae having to deal with her well-meaning work colleagues’ unconscious racism every week and Orji having to deal with a new dating disaster. Meanwhile, its cultural specificity is now at Girls level, showing us not just what life is like for middle/upper-middle class, twentysomething, straight, college-educated African-American women but for middle/upper-middle class, twentysomething, straight, college-educated African-American women who live in LA, which is just a little bit too specific for me over here in the UK. 

Rae is good and the writing is decent enough – it’s just not engrossing, well plotted or funny enough for me to watch any more of it.

Barrometer rating: 2
Would it be better with a female lead? N/A
TMINE’s prediction: Could make it to a second season, but chances are it won’t


  • I’m Rob Buckley, a journalist who writes for UK media magazines that most people have never heard of although you might have heard me on the podcast Lockdown Land or Radio 5 Live’s Saturday Edition or Afternoon Edition. I’ve edited Dreamwatch, Sprocket and Cambridge Film Festival Daily; been technical editor for TV producers magazine Televisual; reviewed films for the short-lived newspaper Cambridge Insider; written features for the even shorter-lived newspaper Soho Independent; and was regularly sarcastic about television on the blink-and-you-missed-it “web site for urban hedonists” The Tribe. Since going freelance, I've contributed to the likes of Broadcast, Total Content + Media, Action TV, Off The Telly, Action Network, TV Scoop and The Custard TV.