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‘Insecure’ Season 5 Episode 9 Recap: “Out Okay?!”




‘Insecure’ Season 5 Episode 9 Recap: “Out Okay?!”

With only one episode left before Insecure is “Out, Okay?!”, I expected this week’s installment of Insecure to cover a lot of ground. As Condola says to Lawrence before leaving Tiffany & Derek’s going away party: “This is the last time you’re gonna see everybody for a while. You should make the most of it.” And the show does just that. Though this was the season’s most fun, messy, and action-packed episode, it also manages to effectively drop our central love stories off an emotional cliff. The penultimate episode has it all!

After being noticeably absent at Simone’s birthday earlier in the season, Issa & Molly are joined by Nathan, Taurean and literally everyone else to celebrate their friendships withTiffany & Derek as they prepare to move to Denver. The show often makes the DuBois family milestones a point of coalescence for our characters – many of whom were introduced by or connected through the couple – which works to amazing effect this week. Character interactions that have been teased all season are finally able to happen in a way that feels natural to the story – and we get to see how very differently each dynamic plays out. 

The unspoken tension between Issa & Nathan starts early & subtly. The episode opens as they’re viewing a rental home that’s everything they’re looking for and more. Close to both their jobs. Two bedrooms for an office, guest room, or cool-off room when they have beef. Nathan’s not convinced they’ll need the space, which isn’t surprising considering the main reason he suggested moving in together was to save money. But when Issa jokes that the half bath should be a dedicated space for his gross male bathroom habits, she leaves out her experience living with Lawrence when Nathan retorts “I don’t know what kinda men YOU been living with”. The first of a few omissions that Nathan picks up on – in what builds to a full on love triangle.

Prompted by more ill-interpreted bad advice from his hilarious friend Chad, Lawrence agrees to attend the Tiff & Derek’s party mostly to fight for his relationship with Issa. I’m no fan of Chad but he makes a good point about Nathan’s laissez-faire approach to life. In addition to being passive, the man is very easily influenced. Box back. Fight for Ol’ Girl. I’d have loved to see Lawrence get the type of therapy Molly has committed to, or at least not take advice from a friend who never committed the love of his life’s name to memory.

This episode straddles the awkward and dramatic perfectly. Taurean misjudges the vibe of the function and is embarrassed to have brought edibles but decides to take them with Molly to celebrate his making partner at their firm. (BTW all their coworkers know they’re fucking.) Hijinks ensue! These two & their antics break the tension in this episode over and over,  stating the obvious and overreacting to …everything. “Why’d this just get tense?” to a regional barbeque discussion turned dick measuring contest between Lawrence & Nathan.  “Whew, Bitch! That was weird!” after Condola & Issa run into each other in the kitchen. And “Oh Shit!” when Dro randomly shows up with a younger clone of his ex-wife. 

Of all the reunions in the episode, most go well & are handled maturely! It’s a real testament to where all of the characters are emotionally. Condola & Issa have an awkward meeting in the kitchen. Both are polite. Issa obviously cracks jokes. Dro & Molly meet at the bar. It’s cordial. Molly is high & bluntly explains their relationship when Taurean pops up like a meerkat, and he handles it with empathy and honesty. 

Nathan & Lawrence though? Beef on site. Before the barbeque incident, Issa’d let it slip that Lawrence moved back to town a while ago. Another omission. Should she have told Nathan? Probably. Because he seemed blindsided. She suggests they get more drinks to change the subject.

After the barbeque incident, instead of talking to Issa, Nathan reverts to his avoidant communication style & is distant & silent with her, so irritable as to refuse macarons! His frustrations are egged on by his coworker Aric – his Chad/Quoia equivalent – who’s there to pick up keys to the shop & also let Nathan know he has his back if Lawrence continues to be disrespectful. Cooler heads briefly prevailed.

The episode’s writer & Insecure’s showrunner, Prentice Penny, makes an appearance as event staff (“Get ta’ moving, tartare!”) in a lead up to the episode’s funniest sequence. Molly & Taurean have the munchies & follow the finger foods back to their source in the kitchen & begin inhaling h’ors dourves. To avoid getting caught, they duck into a closet. Molly gets vulnerable about being afraid to get hurt because she likes him (and says some things about guys getting tired of her that sound a lot like The Old Molly!), and Taurean reassures her with a joke. They hook up on the spot!

After exchanging glances all evening, Lawrence & Issa finally cross paths as he all but corners her by the trash. We’ve all had a lot of time to think about how this would go. Issa’s had a lot of fantasies about it. And … none went quite like this. Lawrence spills his guts at the worst possible time & place, asking about her call last month, declaring that he loves her and can’t be happy without, and asking her – unanswered – if she’s happy… her right as Nathan approaches. 

Molly & Taurean’s post-coital bliss is broken up up as the tension between Issa & Nathan, Nathan & Lawrence, and Lawrence & Issa boils over and the men begin to fight. Molly, Issa, & Taurean break things up physically but not before Nathan directs some of his anger Issa’s way and walks away alone to cool off.

Molly checks to see that Issa is okay. Again unanswered. And THAT is where we are left going into the season finale. I’d take another time jump for more resolution but I trust Insecure to get us where we need to be before saying goodbye.

Additional Thoughts:

  • Issa’s brother Ahmal is hilarious. The no-gay-people-here to my-man-Rolando in 3 drinks pipeline! He also gives Nathan the alley-oop to talk about apartment hunting with Issa when Lawrence is trying to be shady. Great lil brother duties!
  • Tiffany’s clearly read the entire Denver wikipedia page. Unique city park, multiple professional teams, 300 days of sunlight! She’s trying! 
  • Lawrence & Chad are such a toxic combo! They’re the most immature main characters on the show & those two together are a hilarious echo chamber to watch in action. But seeing Chad insecure that he was actually friends with Derek & wanting to make sure his eel skin briefcase (???) was well-received, humanized him A BIT & added some depth to all the bravado.

Rebecca O’Neal is a stand up comedian and writer in Brooklyn. Check out her jokes onComedy Central.

Watch Insecure Season 5 Episode 9 on HBO Max


Sports world reacts to John Madden’s death




Sports world reacts to John Madden’s death

Legendary NFL coach and broadcaster John Madden died Tuesday morning at 85, the NFL announced. News of the football icon’s passing hit Twitter on Tuesday evening, and athletes, coaches and broadcasters from across the sports world reacted.

Fellow broadcasting legend Dick Vitale, who is currently battling cancer, called Madden “the greatest analyst of all time of any sport” in his Twitter tribute.

Former Yankees pitcher and notable Raiders fan CC Sabathia said “your legacy will live forever.” Madden coached the then-Oakland Raiders from 1969-78, a couple of years before Sabathia, a Vallejo, California native, was born. Lakers star LeBron James had similar words about Madden’s lasting legacy, adding an infinity emoji.

Former tennis star and social justice activist Billie Jean King recalled meeting Madden as a “privilege.”

Radio voice of the Rangers Kenny Albert, a five-sport broadcaster who’s been with FOX Sports since its inception in 1994, shared a photo circa 26 years ago to remember Madden.

ESPN’s Bomani Jones took a bit of a shot at current color commentators, noting that Madden “set an unreachable standard.”

Frank Caliendo, who’s made a career out of impersonations, including one for Madden, said he was surprised how emotional he felt.

Several football players, and others, including Saints running back Mark Ingram II and former Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant, credited Madden with being part of the reason why they love football.

Rams wide receiver and NFL MVP contender Cooper Kupp quote the late coach in his tribute: “The road to Easy Street goes through the sewer.”

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Miles McBride’s Knicks role will lessen with Kemba Walker’s resurgence




Miles McBride’s Knicks role will lessen with Kemba Walker’s resurgence

MINNEAPOLIS — The Knicks got back another body in rookie point guard Miles McBride, who was cleared from protocols Tuesday and rejoined the team in Minnesota.

But there is no longer any hype for the rookie’s return. Kemba Walker is back as the starting point guard and coming off winning Eastern Conference Player of the Week honors with four standout games, including his Christmas Day spectacular. The Knicks have gone 2-2 since Walker regained the starting job.

“It’s great,’’ coach Tom Thibodeau said. “He had a great week. He’s playing great basketball. The team winning helps him get recognized and he was a big part of driving that winning. It’s great for the team.’’

McBride was also spectacular in his last outing before getting COVID-19, when he played the entire second half Dec. 16 in Houston and seemingly earned a spot in the rotation. In fact, McBride had strung together two decent outings before he was ruled out. But things have changed since his emergence and McBride is likely back to being a bit player.

Without a practice, McBride wasn’t even expected to see time when the Knicks faced the Timberwolves to kick off a four-game road trip.

Miles McBride
NBAE via Getty Images

Of course, with Walker’s arthritic knee, anything is possible. The Knicks play Detroit on Wednesday in a back-to-back, so it’s uncertain whether Walker will complete both contests. In addition, Immanuel Quickley is out of COVID-19 protocols but Thibodeau wasn’t sure he was ready for meaningful minutes.

That left Walker against the depleted Timberwolves, who were missing their three top players (Anthony Edwards, Karl-Anthony Towns, D’Angelo Russell), all because of COVID-19 .

Kemba Walker
Kemba Walker

When McBride got sidelined by the virus and Derrick Rose needed ankle surgery, Walker was resurrected by Thibodeau and it’s been a stunning comeback story.

Though Thibodeau has clear reservations about Walker based on his nine-game banishment due to his defensive malaise as an undersized point guard, he admitted after the Christmas Day triple-double against Atlanta that Walker is playing “much more aggressive.”

Walker’s triple-double that featured 10 points, 12 assists and 10 rebounds was a lot different than his prior outing, when he scored 44 points against Washington.

“I thought his passing was terrific,’’ Thibodeau said before the Knicks resumed their schedule.

“Kemba had control of the game. The game tells you what to do. That’s what I loved about the way he played. I don’t think he forced anything. They puts size on him and were aggressive in their pick-and-roll coverage. He didn’t fight it. He attacked pressure the way you like to attack pressure. You don’t fight pressure with pressure. Don’t try to split it. Get rid of it, go to the backside. Let the game tell you what to do.’’

The Knicks coach is finally seeing all the elements of what Walker can do. Before his demotion, Walker was nothing more than a no-defense, 3-point shooter whose plus-minus was an abysmal minus-122.

Thibodeau was also concerned about his durability in sitting out two of the three back-to-back sets. The last load management game in Atlanta in late November triggered Thibodeau’s decision.

But now it’s only superlatives from Thibodeau in judging the last four games.

“Sometimes it’s going to be his shooting, sometimes it’s his penetration and getting in the paint to force a collapse and sometimes they’re being aggressive with their traps get rid of the ball quickly,’’ Thibodeau said. “The overall play, his rebounding. When your guards rebound, those are key to fast breaks. The more guard rebounding we get the better we can be. ‘’

The Knicks still have three players in protocols — centers Nerlens Noel and Jericho Sims and the newly infected Wayne Selden. Quickley and Kevin Knox were cleared on Christmas but were held out for conditioning.

No matter. The Knicks go as Kemba goes.

“He’s much more aggressive,’’ Thibodeau said. “That was the challenge. At the beginning of the year he and Evan were two new starters. Sometimes guys are trying to fit in. he’s being very aggressive which is the way we want him to play. Not deferring at all. When he and Julius [Randle] are aggressive like that our team is different.’’

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Bar raises dramatically for Zach Wilson in matchup with Tom Brady, Buccaneers




Zach Wilson and Tom Brady

When Zach Wilson stares across the MetLife Stadium field at the opposite sideline this Sunday, it won’t be Trevor Lawrence he’ll be looking at as his game-day counterpart.

Lawrence, drafted by Jacksonville one spot before the Jets selected Wilson at No. 2 overall last April, is a contemporary.

This Sunday at MetLife, the Jets rookie quarterback won’t be staring at a contemporary on the other sideline. He’ll be staring at the GOAT.

Tom Brady.

The bar raises dramatically for Wilson and the Jets, who are coming off of their feel-good, get-well win over the woeful Jaguars and Lawrence this past Sunday.

Brady and Buccaneers, who are 11-4, NFC South division champions and seeking to repeat as Super Bowl champions, play the Jets, who are 4-11 and seeking more signs of development from their rookie quarterback.

To say this is a step up in competition for Wilson and the Jets going from Lawrence and the Jags to Brady and the Bucs is as obvious as pointing out that Tampa Bay receiver Antonio Brown has had a few off-the-field incidents during his otherwise stellar NFL career.

There hasn’t been a lot to keep the interest of the Jets fan this season — other than watching Wilson’s development. That took an unfortunate pause for the four games Wilson missed with a knee injury, but he’s been back for five games and has looked like a better quarterback, throwing only two interceptions in those games (none in the last three) since returning from his injury.

The problem, though, is that Wilson hasn’t been producing enough touchdowns, throwing for three of them and rushing for four others in the past five games.

Zach Wilson and Tom Brady
Zach Wilson and Tom Brady
N.Y. Post: Charles Wenzelberg; AP

Baby steps, though.

Wilson was the better quarterback this past Sunday when matched up with Lawrence, who threw for more yards than Wilson did, but Wilson ran for 91 yards, including his electric 52-yard scoring jaunt, and made key throws when he needed them.

Wilson will not win Sunday’s game against Brady and the Bucs throwing for the 102 yards he had against the Jaguars. He and the Jets will need more.

Consider this: Brady enters the game having thrown 37 TD passes and for 4,580 yards this season and averages a league-high 305.2 passing yards per game.

Then this: The Buccaneers average 29.5 points per game this season, second most in the NFL.

And this: Wilson doesn’t have a single 300-yard passing game, averages 183 passing yards per game and has thrown seven TD passes in 11 games.

Seven TD passes is a pedestrian two-game total for Brady.

Wilson and the Jets are playing with house money anyway in what always has been a developmental season, so Sunday against Brady should, at its very least, be a great measuring-stick learning experience for Wilson, who’s studied Brady on tape.

Wilson revealed this month that he watched film of Brady before the Jets played the Eagles on Dec. 5 in an effort to pick up tips on how Brady worked against the Eagles defense when he played them earlier in the season.

“I thought it was really cool to see kind of how he went through his whole process, how he navigated the pocket, different things like that,” Wilson said at the time.

On Sunday, Wilson gets to see that process up close as Brady tries to dissect a Jets defense that has yielded 29.9 points per game this season, the most in the NFL.

That puts an added onus on Wilson to produce on the other side of the ball, because he knows Brady is going to get his. Wilson will likely need to produce four TDs — any way he can — for the Jets to simply remain competitive with the Super Bowl champs.

That’s a lot to ask of a 22-year-old kid who’s produced just 11 TDs in his 11 starts, up against Brady, who’s thrown 618 TD passes and for 83,784 yards in his remarkable career.

It, too, is a lot to ask playing against an aggressive Tampa Bay defense that’s ranked No. 9 in the NFL in points allowed (20.8 per game) and is led by former Jets head coach Todd Bowles, who’d surely like to send a holiday message to his former employer.

If you don’t think Bowles will be blitzing the bejesus out of Wilson, then you probably think Antonio Brown is a living saint.

The good news for the Jets is that Wilson has shown incremental improvements, particularly when it comes to his decision-making and quicker releases on his throws.

“He’s coming along, he’s getting more comfortable, he’s calmer back there,’’ Jets coach Robert Saleh said Monday. “He’s in a great headspace and it’s going to be fun to watch him grow, continue to grow.’’

A big part of that growth will take place this Sunday as he watches the GOAT operate from the opposite sideline at MetLife.

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