The civilized dinner party is probably over — even when you’re dining with friends. Everything means too much now. Everything. Our politics, obviously. But our genders, our food, our television. Our television. Last month, I was in a six-way conversation about HBO that narrowed into two people hung up on “Insecure,” a sitcom co-created by and starring Issa Rae about two best friends — Issa and Molly — in Los Angeles. It just ended its third season on HBO, and I’d describe my ongoing viewership as “exasperated fealty.”
Relationships — sororal, heterosexual, professional — occupy a lot of the show. But its best mode is as a shrewd, satirical consideration of how race pollutes the workplace. Molly is an attorney, first at a corporate firm and then at a smaller, ritzy black outfit that, because it’s black, is more stressfully protocol-ridden. Issa works at a nonprofit that strives to do nice stuff for black and Latino school kids between fits of self-congratulation and casual racism.