PASADENA, Calif. – In the years since her HBO comedy “Insecure” debuted, Issa Rae has become enough of a household name that on Monday she announced the Oscar nominees to the world.
But a part of her wishes that she could go back to the beginning.
“I do long for the days of Season 1, when nobody knew what we were and nobody had expectations,” the actor/writer/director told reporters at the Television Critics Association Wednesday.
The show has gotten its fair share of scrutiny from fans, and Rae and writers got pushback from some fans for avoiding condoms or birth control on screen, despite how sexually active the characters are.
Issa Rae of "Insecure" speaks during the HBO segment of the 2020 Winter TCA Press Tour. (Photo: Amy Sussman/Getty Images)
“I think that’s what alarmed me, if it’s taking you out of the story I don’t want that. So let’s make sure that our viewers stay engaged,” she said. “The instant feedback can be daunting, but it’s part of it that’s the culture that we’re in currently and all you can do is continue to create and stay true to your story.”
The fourth “Insecure” season, due on HBO April 12 after a 19-month absence, tackles themes of “leveling up,” as its characters transition from their 20s into their 30s and their lives start to radically change.
“They’re deciding to be intentional about their choices,” Rae said. “In addition to the fallout that happens when you’re turning 30, the relationships, the friendships that (you keep) in a different way.”
Rae made headlines for her reaction to another year of all-male Oscar directing nominees on Monday, but said she didn’t want to get “too worked up” about the awards nominations. Currently she’s more annoyed with soundbites and clickbait, and that’s something she has worked into the new season.
"Insecure" (HBO) with Issa Rae (Photo: HBO)
“I’m worked up about being misinterpreted,” she said. “I’m worked up about things being taken out of context in their elements (this) season. And also, when you’re making art, who is it for? When you’re putting on a passion project and you have specific intentions in mind, how that will be received in the public? There’s elements of that in the season.”
Although Rae may occasionally wish she were back in the quieter times of Season 1, she said it’s still hard to believe the show has had such an impact.
“We talk about all the time (that) it doesn’t feel like four years,” she said. “I remember we were excited to cast these people. I remember when I was like, ‘HBO, you going to greenlight this, or do I have to go back to Koreatown and my job?’ It’s humbling and exciting that people are so invested in the series.”
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