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Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Black male sexuality is explored in a quick and guilty episode of Insecure

Illustration for article titled Black male sexuality is explored in a quick and guilty episode of Insecure

“Guilty As Fuck” is an odd episode of Insecure. It quickly unravels tensions and emotions that have been building all season without a clear endgame. Molly, Issa, and Lawrence all seem to overcome the inner-conflicts they’ve wrestled with in mere moments; leaving nothing but guilt as the driving factor of the episode. It makes sense that Issa would feel guilty about her actions, but “Guilty As Fuck” makes sure that Issa feels extra guilty about what she did by turning Lawrence into the world’s most perfect boyfriend overnight. Similarly, we’ve seen Molly on the wrong and right side of multiple relationships this season, but “Guilty As Fuck” is the first time we truly see her happy with a partner, Jared. But, the moment lasts for what feels like a blink before she’s guilty of ending things with him unfairly again.

As the season wraps up, “Guilty As Fuck” has to speed up the narrative, but it also feels like it throws Molly and Issa’s motivations for most of the season under the bus in the process. When the episode begins, Issa obviously feels guilty as she debates telling Lawrence the truth or not. She envisions an awful scenario where he’s so angry, he hits her; as though that would give her an excuse to leave him guilt-free. Does she want to tell the truth and run off with Daniel? She snaps back to reality and, but enters the house without a game plan. There’s no car mirror rap telling us whether she wants to stay with Lawrence or leave him for Daniel. After a season of highlighting just how stagnant Issa and Lawrence’s relationship has been and how much better she feels with Daniel, last week’s YouTube plot comes back to unravel all of that.

Lawrence, apparently, has a friend who works at the NSA or, at least, the highest levels of Google because he has managed to scrub Issa’s “Broken Pussy” video from the entire internet. In seconds, he’s able to do what Daniel couldn’t do for Issa and that apparently absolves him of his previous inertia in their relationship. It is an incredibly sweet gesture and Issa is right when she says he’s like her “black Spiderman,” but is it really enough to make up for how unhappy she was prior to ”Broken Pussy” breaking the internet? Lawrence isn’t a perfect character, but in “Guilty As Fuck,” he comes off as nearly flawless.

This only seems to happen to make it clear that Issa should feel guilty for cheating on her perfect, NSA-connected, Tasha-denying super boyfriend, but imagine if Issa had come home to the Lawrence of earlier episodes. While I think Lawrence has always been a good guy, if Issa had walked in on him in his pajamas, eating cereal on the couch and uninterested in what she’d gone through that day, it’s unlikely she’d be making guilt breakfast and probably would’ve snapped on him again like she did in the pilot.

The issue is that I’m not quite sure why we got one Lawrence and not the other. Did his interaction with Tasha renew his dedication to Issa and motivate him? It’s the first time a character on the show feels more like a plot device rather than complex. It works to get us back on the side of Issa and Lawrence’s relationship, but it doesn’t feel earned and erases the factors that led Issa to make this mistake in the first place.

Then, there’s Molly. I don’t even know where to begin with her actions this episode. She quickly reconnects with Jared after falling asleep drunk at his house. Even though it’s frustrating that all is forgiven with a bowl of Cookie Crisp (no milk) and an “I fucked up,” Jared and Molly do have a real spark. So, it feels real when he forgives her so quickly and immediately replaces her errands with other “activities”. However, for a moment, it almost seems as though we’re just going to see Molly fall into the same old habits. After one morning of sex with Jared, she’s telling Issa that they’re together now and is happily making him meals, much like Issa makes Lawrence breakfast, to show that she’s “a real one.”


As soon as Jared comes over, the two immediately have sex again; as though that’s the only thing they really enjoy about each other. We’ve never really seen Jared and Molly connect on a personal level, so it’s easy to assume Molly is confusing lust with love and rushing things as she has before. However, the episode’s quick pace clears things up within moments as the two open up about their younger, wild days and everything changes. Molly happily shares stories of kissing girls and doing coke, but when Jared mentions a sexual encounter with one man, it clearly upsets her. She discusses it with Issa and her friends, but they’re split on the subject.

Issa makes a passionate defense of the black man’s right to sexual fluidity and breaking heteronormative stereotypes while Kelli cheers her on, but it’s disappointing that a group of educated, successful black women would still hold such dated ideas and would even be questioning Jared’s interest in women. I tried to find a way to justify Molly’s actions––growing up she never even saw the beach, how likely is it she’d be introduced to ”radical” notions like male bisexuality or fluidity being common? But, no. Nope, I can’t bring myself to conflate growing up poor and black with Molly’s biphobia, particularly since her seemingly rich friend Tiffany agrees with her and immediately declares Jared gay.


Molly ends things when she realizes she just can’t get over the fact that years before meeting her, a man gave Jared a blowjob. Molly’s actions aren’t fair and it’s an unfair punishment for Jared, who did not ask to have Molly back in his life. After graciously forgiving her clear classism, Jared is again tossed to the side because of Molly’s issues. Why did they even bring him back just to have Molly hurt him again? Couldn’t another ”hook up of the week” from The League have been used to examine the idea of limited black male sexuality? I can’t forgive Molly or feel sympathetic towards when she says, “I just wish he hadn’t told me. I’m a mess.” because, well, bisexual erasure can’t just be used as a cute, messy quirk.

Stray Observations

  • Maybe I’m overreacting to Molly breaking up with Jared over a sexual experience with a man, but I watched Moonlight recently and like, damn, it’s hard enough for black men to be vulnerable or open about their sexuality. I’m just not here for that. I will be so upset if Jared gives this woman another chance.
  • “Don’t smile. You ain’t getting no milk.” Ugh. Jared was such a perfect angel, truly too good for this world. My beautiful, husky homewrecker.
  • “You still got errands?”
    ”I ain’t got no errands!!”
  • We also got back to Issa’s office this week. It was great to see Frieda again (Lisa Joyce does a great job using very little to show her developed friendship/support towards Issa). After a few weeks that focused on relationship drama, this felt like a breath of fresh air.
  • I think it’s interesting that Issa and Molly both cook for their men in an episode that looks at heteronormative gender roles. Lawrence calls Issa “a real one” for doing it, but we know it’s really just because of guilt. Molly, on the other hand, does want to prove that she’s a Chrissy Teigen-level catch (for whatever perfectly heterosexual, “I want my man to be a man” she can find).
  • The ring shopping scene broke my heart. Goddamn it, Issa. Also, I guess Lawrence got over whatever shit he wanted to figure out if he’s thinking about proposing.
  • Kelli’s cousin’s play was hilarious. “You know I love you. No homo. Jesus out.” (don’t worry, there’s no Judas kiss here).
  • “What happened?”
    “I don’t know, but I know I hate my cousin.”
  • We see Lawrence and Issa have sex for the first time all season (previous attempts weren’t successful), a clear indication of their relationship being back on track. Sadly, Lawrence sees a not-necessarily-incriminating text from Daniel soon after that. Maybe he’ll ride off into the sunset with his new job and Tasha, but Issa can still save this thing.
  • This week’s playlist: