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Issa Rae Dishes on Molly and Issa’s Friendship, Inspiration for ‘Looking for LaToya,’ Kerry Washington-Helmed Episode

Fans of Issa Rae‘s hit HBO series “Insecure” have been watching the show’s current fourth season in shock and disbelief as the friendship between dynamic duo Issa Dee and Molly has continued to crumble with each episode, resulting in a huge public blowup and what appears to be the end of their bond.

The most recent episode of the series, “Lowkey Done,” followed Issa in the aftermath of her successful block party and nasty war of words (and almost hands) with her BFF Molly, played by Yvonne Orji. The 35-year-old writer, producer and actress explained to Variety that her character and Molly’s relationship has been on thinning ice throughout the series but was pushed to the breaking point due to both women growing in their personal lives while not being open to seeing the growth in each other.

(From left) Yvonne Orji (Molly) and Issa Rae (Issa Dee) are still friends in real life. @yvonneorji/Instagram

“They are friends, they are real-life friends, but there exists a specific dynamic in their friendship that both of them have gotten accustomed to,” she said in an interview during the “Variety After Show” on Instagram Live.

“They’re college friends who have taken on different paths,” she explained. “And we talked about, you know, post-college, Molly witnessed Issa being in this long relationship and this relationship that she may have aspired to, and I think, on Molly’s side, Issa has witnessed her … take this journey to become this incredible lawyer. Like, her career has always been in check, and Issa admires her social life.”

Issa Rae celebrates Insecure’s season 4 return. @issarae/Instagram

Rae went on to explain that the pair’s long history of friendship could be the exact thing that’s holding them back from growing closer, as opposed to growing apart. “I think they were used to that dynamic. And so, in this particular season, we’re seeing Issa pursuing a new career, a new passion and being busy, and we’re seeing Molly try to flourish in this new territory and this relationship. [But] when you’ve seen one another stumble so many times, you kind of look at that friend with old eyes like, ‘OK, you’re trying to get into this relationship, but I know how you do, and I can’t unsee that.’”

Fans who’ve been keeping up with the season have not been happy with the way the two are handling their communication issues, but one character has been receiving a notably higher amount of backlash than the other, which hasn’t been lost on Rae. “I see the passion on both sides, and I think Molly is getting a lot of the unfair brunt of it, but I play Issa, I’m good,” she said jokingly.

A surprise hit of the season is “Looking for LaToya,” the latest show-within-a-show that the characters of “Insecure” are tuned in to in the background of their daily drama. In season 2, fans were introduced to the fake “Scandal”/”Underground” crossover “Due North,” and they saw the ’90s sitcom reboot “Kev’yn” in season 3. Now comes true-crime mockumentary “Looking for LaToya,” which also keeps in the tradition of having familiar faces pop up, including Kandi Burruss, Sza, Terri J. Vaughn, and more.

Trailer for “Insecure” show-within-a-show “Looking for LaToya.” @insecurehbo/Instagram

“When you think about all those crime shows, we were obsessed with them in the writers room,” she said of her inspiration to create the dark comedy this season. “Like, for me, it was [the podcast] ‘To Live and Die in LA,’ and I think a couple of us were listening to that in addition to the ‘Monster’ series and stuff like that and we kept on joking about how — joking but not joking — about how you know a lot of these podcasts are centered around white women and how different it would look if they were actively searching for a Black woman and the dark comedy of that. They don’t care when we go missing, and that’s evidenced by the journey of ‘Looking for LaToya.’”

In addition to more snippets of “Looking for LaToya” and finding out whether Molly and Issa have any hope of reconciling, viewers of the show can also look forward to a recognizable name helming the ninth episode of the series, “Lowkey Trying.”

“She came and she did her homework,” Rae said of “Little Fires Everywhere” and “Scandal” star Kerry Washington. “She took it so seriously, and I love her for it. I think the entire cast just got better because of her. And she’s just so fun to work with.”

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