Condolences To Your Condola Hate — Lawrence Is The Real Insecure Villain

It’s become a running Twitter joke since Christina Elmore first showed up in Season 3 as Condola, the “other woman” in Issa and Lawrence’s will-they-won’t-they mess, and the Insecure character viewers love to hate, that fans think so little of the character they refuse to learn her name. They call her a various spattering of words that start with “C” as a token of their disdain for the person who, allegedly, is the reason Issa and Lawrence aren’t together. After Sunday’s episode, the third in the series’ fifth and final season, the conversation surrounding Canola Oil has shifted. (OK, that was the last time — promise.) No matter what you call Condola Hayes, it’s time to put respect on her name. 
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“Her name is CONDOLA. Not Convenience. Not Corona. Not Controlla. Not Cottage Cheese-a. Not Cornucopia. Not Convection Oven. Not Casita. Not Confusion…” Insecure executive producer Amy Aniobi tweeted during the episode. With showrunner Prentice Penny chiming in with, “I hope this may chill out some of the ‘Condolonces’ energy and show her as a real person.” It’s clear that the minds behind the show (this week’s episode “Pressure, Okay?!” was written by Jason Lew) thought that after viewers watched Condola and Lawrence’s disputes over co-parenting duties play out, they’d suddenly be Team Condola. That’s not exactly how it’s going down. People are still hating. No, you don’t have to like Condola, but at this point, you have to admit that Lawrence is trash and that she’s just a new mom doing her best. The hate is unwarranted. 
“Pressure, Okay?!” opens with Lawrence (Jay Ellis) still reeling from his heartbreak after being dumped by Issa, who presumably decided she didn’t want to stick around while he parented a child with another woman — a correct decision. Lawrence also started his job in San Francisco — and he’s kinda killing it — while his ex Condola is back in LA pregnant and ready to give birth any day. Condola chose to have Lawrence’s baby, which is her right, and he chose to take a job in a whole different city than his son and his son’s mother, which makes him an irresponsible and absent father. When his son, Elijah Mustafa Walker (Lawrence hates the name; I like it!), is born, Lawrence is on a date, a whole plane ride away from his newborn. Tell me again how Condola is the one we’re supposed to hate? Sure, some of the criticism of Condola has pointed out that she shouldn’t have told Lawrence about the baby’s birth over text, but it’s clear that leading up to that point, Lawrence hadn’t shown a lot of interest in being that present or involved. Again, the man was living in a whole different city.
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“I think I heard Prentice Penny, our showrunner, say this episode is sort of vindication for Condola,” Elmore said in an interview with the Insider. “But honestly I hope it’s just validation for moms who are out there doing it.” Vindication isn’t the word I would use to describe Condola’s journey either, but validation is definitely accurate. My friends who are mothers saw themselves in Condola as she juggled making plans, sacrificing her own self-care (she has to cancel a massage when Lawrence is too tired to fly home to spent time with his son), and dealing with the ego of a man who hides behind “meaning well” instead of actually doing well. 

Condola juggled making plans, sacrificing her own self-care, and dealing with the ego of a man who hides behind “meaning well” instead of actually doing well. 

Yes, Condola made some poor communication choices, and said some shit to Lawrence that maybe she shouldn’t have, but her actions were the result of the frustrations of new motherhood coming to a head. She’s basically a single mom since Lawrence only feels like being a father on weekends, and she’s lashing out against an impossibly hard situation. It’s hard not to have sympathy for a woman who is struggling with all the emotions that come with postpartum, and with an incessant man child who wants cookies for not being a deadbeat dad. Someone should tell Lawrence that showing up is literally the bare minimum a parent can do, and he’s not even doing that! “Monday through Friday he gets to go to sleep, he gets to sleep all night, he can grab dinner… He can do whatever he wants. He just pops in on a weekend, while she’s doing it day-to-day,” Ellis said to TVLine about why his character ain’t shit.  
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There are a few moments in the episode where Condola is painted as unreasonable and hysterical, while Lawrence plays the victim. He’s trying, he repeats over and over. But is he really “trying” if he’s missing trips back to LA and continues to live in a different city? Condola is “controlling,” Lawrence says to Derek, Tiffany’s husband, after he and Condola get into a fight at their daughter’s birthday party. The argument ensues because Lawrence decides to introduce solids to their baby without consulting Condola, and if you know anything about babies, that could have gone really sideways. Elijah was fine, but that’s not the point. The entire episode is shown from Lawrence’s point of view, and in this moment, we’re supposed to be siding with him. “Why is mommy being so dramatic?” Lawrence passive aggressively asks his baby while Condola is visibly upset. The condescension escalates from there. Now, Condola is a better woman than me because my child wouldn’t have a father anymore if I was in this situation. 
Writer Jason Lew said he brought his personal experience as a new father to the script and while he did a good job of digging into the complexities of parenthood, he also skewed the narrative in favor of Lawrence. Thanks to the patriarchy, we’re conditioned to think dads deserve a gold star for doing the least, and we’re predisposed to perceive a woman trying to protect her child as doing the most. I’m glad that Derek pulled aside his boy to check his behavior, but the writers didn’t do Condola any favors by failing to unpack why she was so agitated. Instead, she’s left looking like the crazy ex who won’t let Lawrence be the chill dad he’s decided he is when he graces them with his presence. 
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Aside from a few key scenes with Condola and her sister Kira (played by our good sis, the always electrifying Keke Palmer) where they get into Lawrence’s absent “uncle” energy, we don’t get to see her side. The episode’s best, and most revealing, scene was when we get a split screen glimpse into both of their lives, while Lawrence is working, f*cking strangers, and living his best life, Condola is up feeding the baby, exhausted and wrestling with all the things that come with keeping a baby alive. “I gave birth to my second child eight weeks before shooting that scene where Condola falls asleep on the toilet, so Condola and I were one. We were right here,” Elmore told TVLine. “I care less about Condola becoming more sympathetic as a character and more about all moms deserving to be seen with grace, because it’s hard work.”

Jay Ellis’s pretty face shouldn’t give this character a pass to be a noted wasteman, a whole trash bag of a human being, without any repercussions.

The thing is that Condola doesn’t have to be sympathetic or be likeable even — hell, look at all the mistakes Issa and Molly have made throughout the seasons  — but I think it’s important to dissect why this specific character is the one who is subjected to so much vitriol, when Lawrence has done way worse. Neither one of them come out looking great after the episode’s climax, a heated argument where they both throw insolent shots at each other, but based on the online reaction, it seems like it’s Condola who is still the one bearing the brunt of the audience’s anger. 
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What are we really mad at Condola for? Keeping the baby? Breaking up Issa and Lawrence? Both reasons are unfair to put solely on Condola. She didn’t knock herself up. And Issa and Lawrence had mad issues, and were even broken up, long before Condola entered the picture. Jay Ellis’s pretty face shouldn’t give this character a pass to be a noted wasteman, a whole trash bag of a human being, without any repercussions. I am attracted to his face too, but I can also admit that pretty people can do some ugly ass shit. And that “nice guys” sometimes aren’t as nice as they say they are. 
“If you want to sit in your feelings and hate Lawrence and be mad at Lawrence, you should… You’re going to cuss the TV out [and] you’re going to cuss me out,” Ellis said in a recent interview. “Expect that it’s going to happen, but live in it and be present with it, because I think it’s worth the journey.” 
It’s time the journey leads us to say condolences to the Condola hate, and move on to directing our anger to the real villain of the season: Lawrence Walker. Lawrence Hive, let’s fight like Condola and Lawrence over some mushy carrots. 

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