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Pop Culture Happy Hour: 'Insecure,' Season 2

Sisters Are Doing It For Themselfies: Molly (Yvonne Orji), Issa (Issa Rae), Tiffany (Amanda Seales) and Kelli (Natasha Rothwell) in HBO's <em>Insecure</em>.
Lisa Rose
Sisters Are Doing It For Themselfies: Molly (Yvonne Orji), Issa (Issa Rae), Tiffany (Amanda Seales) and Kelli (Natasha Rothwell) in HBO's Insecure.

Linda Holmes is in Los Angeles, NPR's Stephen Thompson and I are in D.C., and we're joined by the fantastic Brittany Luse of the highly recommended The Nod podcast, among a great deal of other things.

HBO's Insecure is one of those shows we were surprised to learn we haven't already devoted a segment to. Several of us gave its first season some shout-outs in our What's-Making-Us-Happy segments last year, but we haven't ever sat down to unpack it as a team. This episode, we correct that.

And — spoiler alert — we really, really like what we see. There have been some tweaks between the first and second season, and we single out things like its pacing, its writing (particularly of the female friendships at the heart of the show), and the way the changes to last season's romantic status quo are opening up new places for its characters to go. Brittany, in particular, welcomes the way Insecure showcases the kind of "black female screw-ups," that are still few and far between in the television landscape.

We close, as ever, by ticking off What's Making Us Happy this week. Stephen is happy about the imminent return of a certain sitcom, despite the spottiness of its most recent outing; he chooses to live in the fervent hope that it's learned how to course-correct. I'm happy about a film that's pretty good with a cast that's pretty great, including one particular actor who turns out to be surprisingly effective when he doesn't go chasing space-waterfalls. Brittany is happy about a rapper who seems to be maturing out of the affected pose he's adopted for so long, and whose latest album reveals more of himself. Linda's happy about a new HBO anthology series that mashes up genres in ways that surprise and delight — and, occasionally, creep you all the way out.

Reminder: We're bringing you two episodes every week. Look for our next episode Wednesday. And as always, find us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter: the show, Linda, Stephen, Glen, Brittany, producer Jessica, and producer emeritus and pal for life Mike.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Corrected: July 6, 2018 at 12:00 AM EDT
Because of an error from HBO's press materials, the photo was originally credited to Justina Mintz rather than Lisa Rose.
Glen Weldon is a host of NPR's Pop Culture Happy Hour podcast. He reviews books, movies, comics and more for the NPR Arts Desk.