‘Insecure’ Season 2 Finale: Prentice Penny on Issa, Lawrence, Safe Sex and Narrative Swerves

The season started with a glimmer of hope for Issa and Lawrence, then their relationship burns to the ground. In the end, you show what they could have been, just before showing her back at Daniel’s door. How do you think viewers will handle this narrative swerve?

People have seen the “will they/won’t they” couple. Our thing was, how do we erase that and completely get away from it? We keep you on your toes because, if you watch a lot of TV, you think you know what’s going to happen. When you see that Lawrence and Issa montage, I think you are kind of heartbroken. So at the end, when you see Issa at Daniel’s, I love that fans don’t know how to feel!

When you appeared on the post-show segment “Wine Down after the first episode, you said you identified with both Issa and Lawrence. Does that still hold true?

In my younger days, I was definitely a Lawrence. I was that “feel some type of way” kinda guy. I think now, I’m much more like Derek. Maybe it’s because I’m married and he just has a more grown wisdom to him.


The show speaks to a very specific demographic of young, urban, black professionals. Why do you think it’s had such universal appeal?

If I knew, I would be trying to clone that thing! Obviously, our show is about people of color and there’s a lot of language and dialogue that, unless you know it, you’re gonna be like, “What are they talking about?” But I also think that at the core of it, it’s a very millennial show and it’s very woman-centric. You feel like these women genuinely care about each other and they feel like actual friends. I think that’s what people like. And I think Issa’s an amazing actress and her personality comes across on screen, so you root for her.


Prentice Penny, the showrunner of “Insecure” on the set of the HBO sitcom.

Justina Mintz/HBO

This idea that, with people of color, nobody watches them except their own — it’s a very outdated concept. Now, you have shows that are crossing those lines and people are just relating to what they relate to and vibing with what they vibe with.

In the finale, Lawrence, Derek and Chad reluctantly get engrossed in the show-within-a-show, “Due North.” It draws a parallel with male viewers who may have initially seen “Insecure” as just a show for women.

Totally. I remember…

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