Every week, the cast and crew of HBO’s Insecure — the new series based on Issa Rae’s successful web series — is taking EW behind the scenes of each episode. This week, actress Yvonne Orji, who plays Issa’s best friend, Molly, walks us through the second episode in the season, “Messy As F…”
On all of Molly’s horrible first dates:
They were hysterical. The first date you see where the guy is eating chicken was fun, but it was probably horrible for him. We were hungry and I remember saying, “Bring me your plate!” But after about six takes of eating chicken, he was like, this is now disgusting.
She’s a hopeful romantic. Hope is all that Molly has to hold onto. She’s developed not quite a thick skin, but an endurance for dating. If she doesn’t go online dating, how is she going to meet anyone? Issa, her best friend, is not in the single game, even though she’s not happy. She doesn’t know what else to do.
On that office scene where Molly is shadowed by her newly-engaged colleague, even though she’s clearly more competent:
Molly’s like, I’m the only black person at this law firm. Not only do I have to be good because I’m black, but I also have to be good because I’m a woman, and I want to be a good lawyer. She’s busting her balls and is like, “I’m smart and I’m pretty…what does this woman have that I don’t?” When her boss and coworker come in to talk about the engagement, it’s as if Molly can’t even get credit for all of the work she does— the engagement takes all the shine. At some point, Molly wants her boss to walk into her office for her — either to celebrate her work or love life — and right now, that’s not happening.
On Molly’s off-duty run-in with Jared, in which she’s wearing her sweats, glasses, and has sauce on her face:
I was so upset because I wear glasses in real life, so when we had the glasses fitting, I picked out all the fancy ones. I was like, “Oh, give me the Chanel!” But Issa said, “Nah, when she meets Jared, I want her to look busted, as if she wasn’t expecting to meet a potential boo.” I said, “Why would you do this to me?” And she said, “Yvonne, it’s the one time we are making you look less than glamorous!” I’m a tomboy in real life, so I actually love that sweatshirt. But when Molly runs into Jared with barbeque sauce on her lips, I think that speaks to a lot of life. When you least expect to meet someone, it’s like, “Oh my God, the love of my life just walked through!” In that scene, Molly was her most stripped-down form, and even then, Jared is entertained by her.
On Molly’s not-so-perfect character:
Molly wants everyone to be perfect, but she’s not perfect. She’s great — don’t get me wrong — but there are a lot of things she does that are turn-offs. I don’t think it’s a bad thing for women to have high standards. Molly pulled herself up by the bootstraps, got out of the hood, and is now a corporate lawyer. She did all of the right things, so in her mind, she deserves the best. But what she considers “the best” is a façade — she’s chasing the kind of perfection that doesn’t exist. Every relationship will have its ups and downs, but are there more ups than downs? Are the downs workable? She thinks everything has to be pretty much perfect, but Molly’s not perfect. Unlike Issa, she never takes a moment to reflect on herself. She’s always looking at other people instead.
All that aside, Molly is supportive. She’ll always be a listening ear, and you’ll see that later in the series. When Issa needs her help in a major way, Molly’s the ride or die. Well, I like to say “ride or live,” because I don’t want to die, but Molly has Issa’s back. She’s a loyal and honest friend. You need those friends who will call you out.
On working with Issa Rae:
It’s so cool, it’s almost like we were getting paid to hang out and laugh between every take. Issa and I have known each other since 2008. She got familiar with me because I posted something on YouTube that she liked, and when I moved to LA in 2012, she’d see me in the comedy circuit. We kind of had this mutual affection for one another as creatives in the industry, trying to forge our own paths. I was creating FirstGen [Orji’s series about a Nigerian woman that’s in development and being executive produced by David Oyelowo] at the time, and she actually emailed me that HBO was going forward with Insecure, and that I’d be great for Molly. It was so awesome that she remembered me. Of all the people she’s worked with, she singled me out. There was no guarantee and it took five auditions, but she gave me an opportunity I otherwise wouldn’t have had.
On Molly’s dog, Flavor Flav:
Funny enough, that’s our first AD’s dog! He’s all black and actually wears a gold chain with a tiny clock around his neck. Flavor Flav kind of speaks to the duality of Molly and Issa’s lives. Yes, Molly lives in a high rise and is a corporate lawyer, but she’s still a little rachet.
Insecure airs Sundays at 10:30 p.m. ET on HBO.