HBO’s “Insecure” was a breakout hit of 2016, scoring a 100% on reviews aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, and a Golden Globe nod for its star, Issa Rae.
But the version of the show that HBO subscribers saw was very different from the initial version of the script, according to HBO EVP Amy Gravitt, who oversaw its development.
The big change was that “Insecure” initially revolved around the work life of Issa (the character), at “We Got Y’all,” a very white, though well-meaning, non-profit focused on education. That was the center the show was built around.
But over the course of development, the friendship between Issa and her best friend Molly just kept being referenced over and over, and eventually the team realized that was actually the heart of the show. They rewrote it around that.
“The friendship is really refreshing,” Gravitt told Business Insider. It has conflict but it’s also “emotional, real, and supportive … I miss my best friend from college when I watch the show,” Gravitt laughed. She contrasted it with many shows that simply portray “women taking swipes at each other.” Issa and Molly’s relationship is complicated, but ultimately successful.
“Insecure” is a big step for Rae, who rose to prominence in 2011 with her hit YouTube series, “The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl,” but had a few frustrating years in Hollywood trying to get a TV show made. She had a potential ABC show with Shonda Rhimes killed before eventually teaming up with TV comedy veteran Larry Wilmore and HBO to write (and star in) “Insecure.”
For more on that, see our full look at how “Insecure” transformed a YouTube series into an HBO hit.