Jason Lew, “Insecure” Writer on the “Really Raw” Lawrence-Condola Fight | Local News

Jason Lew, “Insecure” Writer on the “Really Raw” Lawrence-Condola Fight

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Sunday’s episode of HBO’s “Insecure” ended with an explosive argument between Lawrence (Jay Ellis) and Condola (Christina elmore) on co-parenting their new baby while living in different cities. Throughout the episode – appropriately titled “The Pressure, Okay?” – they have huge communication problems, and Lawrence seems to think he deserves a medal just for showing up.

The story came from a “very raw” place, according to “Insecure” writer Jason Lew, who wrote the episode. (He also briefly appears as the baby’s pediatrician, which happened after he read the read table portion and “it turned into a joke from the inside out,” he said.)

Several of the show’s writers, including Lew himself, recently became parents, so “there was a lot of anxiety and cruelty around parenthood in the play,” he said. Fittingly, as HuffPost spoke to Lew on Monday, his daughter could be heard in the background at several points.

Lew remembers that in the initial versions of the script the big argument was “a little softer” and sometimes “skewed” towards one character or the other.

“At the end of the day, I think we have to ‘Let’s just take off the guardrails and make it a really raw fight where you say some bullshit that you really wish you didn’t have,” you know? Which is very real, “Lew said.” Each person brings their shit and baggage to the table around parenthood, and it all comes out, and there’s no way to really prepare for it. Even the best-prepared couple who goes, for example, to daily couples therapy, everything changes when it goes from hypothetical to real, so I think we’ve done a good job of showing the gap between your expectations and reality.

“Insecure” writer Jason Lew at the 2016 Deauville American Film Festival premiere of “The Free World”, which he wrote and directed.

CHARLY TRIBALLEAU via Getty Images

For example, Lew included the scene where Derek (Wade Allain-Marcus) explains to Lawrence that having a baby can change the balance of any relationship, even when it’s mostly strong and stable, like Derek’s own marriage to Tiffany (Amanda Seales).

Lew also wanted to show how Lawrence “still clings to this idea of ​​his old self that can have this job and not live in one place and can still date it,” he said. “I think it’s hard when you’re a new parent to come to terms with the fact that everything changes holistically and you can’t just do it a la carte. “

Like “Insecure” fans, the show’s writers have many different opinions and allegiances to the characters, according to Lew. But they try not to leave any character off the hook. This comes from creator Issa Rae and showrunner Prentice Penny encouraging the writers to “look into all the things that made us feel uncomfortable or felt like we were failing to protect our character, which they did. are always pushing to do, and I think it’s right, “he said.” It’s about giving people what they need, not necessarily what they want. “

“They created this environment which really felt like a party.”

– “Insecure” writer Jason Lew on series creator Issa Rae and showrunner Prentice Penny

Lew joined the “Insecure” writers’ room at the start of season four, after several seasons as a writer for HBO’s “Ballers”. He started his career as an actor, graduating from New York University and working in New York before moving to Los Angeles and writing and directing a few feature films.

HBO put him in touch with Rae and Penny after several “Insecure” writers moved on after the first three seasons. (“I think they had lost all of their men,” Lew said with a laugh. “They lost all of their guys.”) He credits Rae and Penny with making the Writers’ Room “a space. happy and safe where everyone felt respected. “

“It was just a very, very beautiful and sadly rare space, even in today’s industry which is making a lot of progress,” he said. “I miss being in a room where there are so many people of color, and there is very little translation to do to talk about the issues we face. No one felt symbolized. I mean, I was the only Asian American in the room, but I never felt that way. In other rooms, I have felt it. I have felt it. It was like, ‘ooh, alright, I’m the one here.’ “

In season 4, Lew wrote the episode “Lowkey Trippin ‘”, in which Andrew (Alexandre hodge) and Molly (Yvonne Orji) engage in an argument that touches on tensions between black and Asian American communities. For Lew, working on this episode exemplified the trust between the writers and how they could get into difficult conversations.

“There wasn’t any like that, like a weird tiptoe around the issues,” Lew said. “We could just talk about it, and I never felt marginalized or fetishized or anything, which is what happens when a room is just organically diverse and full of people used to empathizing with the experiences of others.”

The episode also illustrated one of the series’ many strengths: how it explores big issues without being didactic, and how it doesn’t ignore the racial identities of the characters – but neither does it make it the sole focus.

“Like the way Andrew was used, it wasn’t like, ‘Oh, every episode is going to be about him as an Asian Bae.’ My episode was the only time we really looked at it, and even then the show kinda likes to ‘play it, not say it,’ Lew said. any other character in the show. His race does not have to be very present in every scene. “

Andrew (Alexander Hodge) and Molly (Yvonne Orji) in HBO season four "Unsafe."
Andrew (Alexander Hodge) and Molly (Yvonne Orji) in the fourth season of HBO’s “Insecure”.

Likewise, Andrew and Molly pass be an interracial couple; they were not defined by it. “Let’s actually just see them have a relationship,” Lew said. “It’s just a lot more culturally valuable, and just plain better to watch.”

As “Insecure” wraps up its final season, Lew has a few new projects in development, including a TV series with A24 and a fictional podcast. For some time now he has been trying to develop his next film “a Chinese western, as a corrective of our exclusion in the genre,” he said.

Whatever he does next, he hopes to approach it with the same “sense of joy, respect and curiosity” that Rae and Penny instilled in the “Insecure” writers’ room.

“Prentice, in particular, has emerged in a different and much less diverse world. There’s that eye toward, like, OK, let’s take care of each other and take care of each other when you’re a person of color in this industry. And if you’re a person of color in this industry, and you’re successful, you’ve shoveled so much shit. You put up with so much bullshit, ”Lew said. “They created this environment which really felt like a party.”


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