HBO Shows Faith In the Inclusive, Socially-Conscious Programming We Love, Renews Insecure and Westworld
— INSECUREHBO (@insecurehbo) November 14, 2016
It’s a good day to be a fan of HBO, as they’ve announced the renewal of two shows that we’ve been keeping close tabs on here at TMS. One of them you can probably guess from the above tweet. And we’re all Excited AF.
Issa Rae’s hilarious and poignant comedy, Insecure, has been renewed for a second season! We’ve been talking about this show since we first heard about it thanks to Rae’s Awkward Black Girl days on YouTube. Now, she has a bigger platform and a lot more to say about being black, female, and nerdy in today’s world. It’s a show that doesn’t shy away from stereotypes, but rather looks at them head-on and subverts them, or critiques them. That leads to things like, for example, Molly’s tension in the office with a new intern at her job who wears her hair in braids and speaks really loudly and brashly. Molly’s solution for getting ahead has been to downplay certain aspects of her personality and code-switch, whereas the intern insists on being entirely herself, reminding Molly that she got the job “even” with her braids, because of her brain and her work.
The show also discusses things like same-sex relations in a way that is specific to the black community. In this week’s episode, Molly and Jared trade adventurous sex stories. Molly admits that she had a same-sex tryst in college, and talks about it like it’s no big deal. When Jared confesses to a similar incident in his own life, however, suddenly it’s different, and the show depicts the sexist double standard between men and women when it comes to that kind of thing. Because, of course, a woman getting it on with another woman 1) turns straight guys on, because hey, two women, and 2) it’s more acceptable for women to be like men than the reverse, because it’s understandable. Of c
ourse women want to act like men, that’s awesome. But for men to be like women? That’s THE VERY WORST AND MUST BE SHUNNED/CORRECTED/REPRIMANDED ASAP. *sigh* And of course, these issues are compounded in communities of color, where gender roles and lines often feel especially rigid.
So, good job on bringing back Insecure, HBO! We love watching this kind of thought-provoking programming.
Speaking of thought-provoking programming, HBO has also renewed Westworld for a second season! Now, while this show rides the line in terms of problematic depictions of people and ideas, it does so with more of a purpose than, say, Game of Thrones. Westworld is a show that is clearly about dissecting certain ideas, and so any of the exploitation that is depicted is clearly in service of that. To me, it’s the difference between sci-fi and fantasy. While, of course, fantasy can be progressive and purposeful, the fantasy element is often used as an excuse to let just about anything go, whereas a dissection of ideas and real-world concerns is more inherent to sci-fi, and personally, I think Westworld has done an amazing job of riding the line to great effect.
As Maddy pointed out in our Westworld recap this week, two female characters got killed on the show, which sucked. But we also have two female protagonists in Dolores and Maeve, a female Delos representative in Charlotte, Elsie is still MIA and I’m betting she’s still alive, and we’ve got substantial characters of color in Maeve, Felix, Charlotte, Lawrence, and Bernard. The show gives as much as it takes away, and again, I think it’s all in service to a greater point about oppression, which needs to be depicted in order to be discussed and dissected.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, we might have to wait a while for that second season of Westworld. Already with this first season, production was delayed because the story is so grand, and so big-budget, and it was important to the creative team, given some of the sensitive topics the show would be taking on, that they devote lots of time to getting the scripts just right.
As for Season Two? HBO programming president Casey Bloys said, “Westworld is such a big, ambitious show. I don’t know if it will be fall of 2017 or into ’18. That will depend as we get up and running. With Westworld, because the production is such a big endeavor, I don’t exactly know when [it will premiere] yet. I can’t speculate other than to say it’ll either be ’17 or ’18. Probably more like ’18 and half-hours [Insecure and Divorce] in ’17 but we’re a year away so let’s see how it goes.”
So it looks like we’ll have Insecure to entertain us next year as we wait for more Westworld. Sounds like a plan to me!
(images via HBO)
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