If it wasn’t for Molly, Issa would not have met Nathan, either.
I had to preempt this post with that thesis statement, mainly because the argument that has been floating around to justify Issa’s actions of going behind Molly to get to Andrew, is that “if it wasn’t for Issa, Molly wouldn’t have met Andrew”. Let’s be clear; a vast majority of couples are together now because someone that they knew, introduced them to their life partner. That doesn’t give justifiable means to cross certain lines when one has expressed their disdain. And how soon have we forgotten (well the show has been on hiatus for a year, right?) that on the “Lyft Party” that Issa asked Molly to join, Molly suggested, by a look at his picture and style, for Issa to pick up Nathan as a passenger. So is it safe to say that if it wasn’t for Molly making that suggestion, that our dear Issa may not have known Nathan either?
I haven’t been this passionate about an episode since the Teddy Perkins episode of Donald Glover’s “Atlanta”. The scholar in me enjoys the character dissection, the debates and further more, researching points and valid sources that further proves why both parties are to blame for their failing friendship.
I wondered why was there was so much hate towards Molly when her friendship towards Issa has been proven time and time again. In the first episode of the series, the audience sees Issa Dee practically manipulating Molly into thinking that the night out was for them to spend together, celebrating Issa’s birthday. When in fact, the plan was orchestrated by Issa to “accidentally” run into Daniel on purpose, thus setting up the potential cheating episode that came later.
When it comes to Molly, the audience tends to bring up all of her dirt of how she slept with a married man (the most popular one), how she has issues that she goes to therapy for but avoid having said issues, etc. If we parallel the two characters, Issa cheating is just as sticky and a little worse because both Issa and Lawrence felt the painful effects of it. But let’s be clear, the former is mainly brought up to justify the Molly hate.
Take away their relationship woes and focus on the friendship at hand. Molly ran interference when she saw Daniel show up at the We Got Y’all fundraiser. Molly was the one to drive Issa back from Malibu to work things out with Lawrence. Molly was the friend who stalked outside of Lawrence’s job to run into him to see where his head was at with Issa. When Daniel shot semen across Issa’s face, Molly was the heated friend that was ready to do a drive by egg-shooting to **** up Daniel’s spot. Lastly, she joined Issa when Issa used her connect to Andrew to break into Nathan’s bedroom! And contrary to popular opinion, because some think that Molly wasn’t supportive of the Block Party because she didn’t do Issa that one favor, she still contributed financially.
In Variety Magazine, Issa Rae states that she “wants people to take a step back” and do a “serious re-watch”. She goes on to say “we’re not asking you to keep tally, but I don’t think Issa is blameless by any means” (Variety.com). Showrunner Prentice Penny adds that the Molly backlash is overboard. “You could ague that when Issa cheated on Lawrence, that was lying. When she isn’t upfront with Molly, those are lies of omission. And it is shady for Issa to go around Molly to get to Andrew to help her”, Prentice told TV Guide (shadowandact.com).
Rae believes that people have boiling points and “whether you think that’s the time or place for Molly to confront it, it came down to this” (reasoning as Molly) (Variety.com). Issa Rae makes use of the word “boundaries” and how, the one time Molly sets one, Issa finds a way to cross it. It brings this idea to mind; didn’t both cross boundaries? Issa going around Molly to get to Andrew can be compared to Molly crossing a certain boundary at the block party. And I can pretty much tell where this next statement is going to go but here goes…. if Molly was wrong for bringing the issue to Issa at the block party, Issa had a choice not to entertain it. But like Molly, they both had reached a boiling point. These characters are really one in the same, and where they are in their lives is just opposite ends but with the same reaction. We know that Molly grew up in the “hood” where Issa came from a pretty nice well-to-do neighborhood (hence the city tour episode with Nathan in season 3). Now, Molly’s career as a lawyer places her in a position to where she is professional, financially successful and about her business; whereas Issa is seen as the friend who doesn’t know where her life is going from one minute to the next, who actually has guts this season to hit below the belt and ready to “knuck” if one “bucks” when feeling attacked.
All in all, how clever of the writers to obviously want to create a Team Molly vs. a Team Issa; but the fact of the matter is , they have fallen short of this task. In the beginning, Molly was made out to be a woman that everyone liked. Voiced by the narrative of Issa, both white and black people loved Molly. In fact, in the narration, it sounded as if Issa may have been a little envious of this love and admiration for her friend. The audience was under the impression that Molly’s downfall was her inability to sustain a substantial relationship. If the writers did not want the friction to be one-sided or black and white, then why have Molly confront Issa at the near-end of her block party event (you saw what I did there? Reread it again!)? Because if one only sees tunnel vision and will surely side with the heroine of the show, wouldn’t it have been fair to have Molly confront Issa at a different time? Or was the character’s morals and respect at the expense of simple TV Drama? Would Molly still be in the wrong if she had spoke to Issa the next day? And would it be clearer for the audience to see where both parties are a detriment to their friendship had she done so?
Most importantly, was not Issa’s block party still a success?
What will make this character of Molly redeemable and will there be enough time for the two women to restore their friendship?