[There are spoilers ahead for Insecure season 4. Hop out of this post if you’re not caught up yet!]
When Insecure premiered in 2016, I immediately became obsessed with the show. The way it celebrates Los Angeles, how it makes you root for each character even when they’re fumbling the ball in every possible way, it’s a gold mine. With each episode, fans get to watch just how messy and complicated friendships can be. It started with Issa and Molly, but as we met more of their friends, we became even more wrapped up in their world. The problem, though, is the show’s treatment of Kelli.
As much depth as Insecure gives most of its characters, I found myself craving more scenes with Kelli on each rewatch. Unfortunately, I’ve been hung out to dry. Episode after episode, if we’re treated to Natasha Rothwell’s lovable character, she’s usually only there for comedic relief—being an absolute mess at Beychella, yelling at a random dude in a cemetery who she thought she hooked up with, or getting so drunk that she can’t seem to direct more alcohol into her mouth. She’s practically the conductor of the hot mess express (which I do admire), and she’s always there to support her friends. (I’ll always respect how she was ready to fight Lawrence because she thought he hit Issa.)
And even though, according to IMDB, Kelli has technically been in three more episodes than Tiffany, it feels like the audience knows way more about the new mom and her life with Derek (no pun intended) than the accountant and podcast host. Hell, we even know more about Issa’s ex’s best friend Chad, his work and relationship issues and how he didn’t seem to realize that Bradley Cooper was just in A Star Is Born.
The writers tend to give viewers the impression that we’ll see a more serious side of Kelli, but sadly, it never actually comes to fruition. Like when Issa, Molly, and Kelli showed up to Tiffany’s baby shower and met Tiffany’s mom friends in season 3, there was hope for a more nuanced Kelli plotline. But after Tiffany and Kelli had their disagreement, the writers did nothing to show the two of them making up. Kelli just appeared in a later episode and seemed totally cool with Tiffany. HBO could’ve (and should’ve) given these ladies one scene to figure out where they stand with each other.
@natasharothwell joins the #WineDown this week to dig into some of the friendship dynamics on #InsecureHBO with @the_a_prentice and @issarae.
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Kelli is so good at playing the funny friend, but I’d love to see her serious side. Like, here are some free ideas from yours truly: The show should address how she’s not as close to Issa and Molly compared to Tiffany and that she likely won’t get to spend as much time with Tiffany now that she’s a mom. She might effectively lose her closest friend. Or maybe the writers could consider why she’s always the friend other people lean on while never confiding in anyone herself. And for the love of god, give us more scenes about her dating life! There are so many directions her character could go, but it’s just not happening right now.
To be fair, Natasha did address Insecure’s I-need-more-Kelli problem, like, two days ago. Talking to The Cut, Natasha basically told all of us Kelli stans that we should chill a little because the writers know what they’re doing and what story they’re trying to tell. Unfortunately for the Kellinators, Natasha said she thinks of Kelli as a “seasoning” for Issa and Molly’s journey and that more Kelli could mean falling into the “over-salt your food” trap. Natasha!!! Don’t sell yourself short! You are more than just the salt!
As a fan with absolutely zero screenwriting experience, I’m in no place to say the writers should abandon that method and give us more Kelli. But I’ve never been one to mind my own business, so….give me more Kelli or
else I’ll still watch and enjoy but be a little salty, because there are so many interesting stories that Kelli could tell.
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