When Kelli (Natasha Rothwell) commended Issa (Issa Rae) for her “growth” in the second episode of this season of Insecure, it seemed like she was setting the tone for the entire season. Issa has grown into her hoe phase. Lawrence (Jay Ellis) has finally grown into an apartment of his own. And perhaps most importantly, Molly (Yvonne Orji) is growing into reality, whether she wants to or not. Last night, Molly had to face a hard truth about her parents — her dad cheated on her mom — and it completely destroyed the fantasy narrative that she had built about relationships and the trajectory of her life. This was necessary — for Molly and some of the rest of us.
Molly has based her entire dating life on attaining a model of love that looks exactly like her parents long-standing relationship. When Dro (Sarunas J. Jackson) confided in her that he was in an open marriage, she was shocked and disappointed. She wondered hopelessly to her friends, “Is no one married like my parents anymore?”. Her serial dating to "check off of boxes," the therapy, the self-imposed celibacy — it’s all been in the service of finding someone to build her version of a perfect relationship.
And honestly, she’s not the only one. Many people look to their parents and grandparents as shining examples of what they want from their own relationship. They want to replicate the recipe that formed such a bond with someone else. I’ve also noticed that on a deeper level, coming from a loving, two-parent home is often thrown around as a badge of honor. People feel more eligible and better equipped to have healthy partnerships when they were raised “right” by parents who are still together. This is part of the reason Molly’s failed relationships were so confusing to her on Insecure. She couldn’t understand why things weren’t just falling into place when she had everything she needed on paper.
But decades together with someone is a version of happily ever after that doesn’t often come with disclaimers, even if it should. Not many parents are telling “The Time Your Mom Cheated” or “The Year Your Dad’s Drinking Got So Bad He Had To Go To Rehab” stories over family dinner. But there is no such thing as a perfect relationship or partner. Even people in love can fuck up and hurt each other sometimes. Molly’s mother offered this sentiment when she gave her daughter a simple explanation for why she stayed in the relationship: “He made a mistake.”
Making mistakes is one of the most natural effects of being human. And despite what the respectability police would have you believe, people from broken homes can still build healthy relationships while those from perfectly loving parentage can turn out to be trash partners. What’s more important than Molly trying to fit herself and a perfect guy into the model of marriage that she’s familiar with is simply finding someone who loves her and makes her happy, as Dro suggested. Sometimes that requires letting go of what we think we know about how this shit is supposed to work. I think Molly is finally headed in that direction. More of us need to.