Prentice Penny interview: ‘Insecure’ showrunner
Much of the heralded fourth season of “Insecure” dealt with the falling out of the relationship between Issa and Molly (Emmy nominees Issa Rae and Yvonne Orji). During Gold Derby’s TV Showrunners panel (watch above), Prentice Penny refers to the former best friends as the “true love story” of “Insecure,” saying they know “where all of the bodies are buried” in each other’s lives. Addressing the theme of their falling out, he explains, “They’ve been friends since they were 18 and now they’re 30. Is this a friend that’s gonna be around for a season or is this a friend that’s just around for a reason?”
So will there be a future for Molly and Issa in future episodes? “I hope so, we’re writing it,” laughs Penny. “That’s what we’re trying to show — this is a friendship for a reason and a lifetime. The fun part of exploring it in Season 5 is how do they come back from this? That’s the other thing that was exciting, too. If we blow this thing up, how do we repair it? That’s been the fun thing of breaking Season 5.”
Speaking of the fifth season, Penny addresses the hot topic of whether the characters will be wearing masks and socially distancing due to the Covid-19 pandemic. “We’re not trying to really play it like that,” he reveals. “I don’t think we’re coming on till the fall, so I don’t know [what the world will be like]. We’re not really writing in that way. We’ve always tried to make ‘Insecure’ exist in certainly our world but like a tiny bit adjacent.” He later adds, “By this time next year when the show is on, are people really gonna want to see that?”
As for the show’s eight Emmy nominations earlier this year, including Best Comedy Series, Penny calls the experience “weird but good.” He says, “We had been doing this show for four years. You’re not ever making a show from that perspective, but it’s certainly good as a person of color — you certainly want your art to be seen as equal. I think in a time when obviously there was a lot of things happening this year, it was just different and special in a myriad of ways.”
Also in our exclusive video interview, Penny talks about Issa and Lawrence (Jay Ellis) rekindling their romance and the pregnancy twist, the reveal of Tiffany’s (Amanda Seales) postpartum depression, and the origin of Kelli’s (Natasha Rothwell) hilarious British accent.