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‘Insecure' Finds its Way

Fresh off her Emmy nod, Issa Rae's HBO comedy-drama returns Sunday for a third season of looking for love.

Issa Rae emerged from the Emmy nominations last month with a lead actress in a comedy nod for the second season of "Insecure."

It marked the first major Emmy nomination for the HBO show, which, unfortunately, didn't make the best comedy category.

As Rae's character has learned over the past two seasons, you can't have everything – at least not right away – even when you might deserve better.

"Insecure" returns for a third season Sunday with its characters searching for connections far more meaningful than Emmy love.

Season 1 introduced Issa, approaching 30 as she works at a Los Angeles nonprofit serving children and regularly psyches herself up with rap-infused monologues in front of the bathroom mirror.

Her seeming rocks are her boyfriend, Lawrence (Jay Ellis), struggling to get a hold in the tech world, and her best friend, Molly (Yvonne Orji), an attorney from modest roots unsure where she fits in with work and love.  

Issa, unsure of herself and her future, loses Lawrence between her infidelity and lack of confidence in his ability to succeed.

The comedy-drama's second go-around offered glimmers of hope for a reconciliation. But “Insecure” ultimately embarked on a wanderlust-driven season of sex and uncertainty. Scenes funny – Issa crashing after getting a graphic text – and disturbing – an amorous encounter that doesn't end as she planned, built on the program’s ability to shift tone while keeping its balance.

Much of “Insecure” co-creator Rae’s strength rests in her depiction of growing pains and her unwillingness to take the easy route in the storyline, which left off with Issa and Lawrence’s goodbye.

The absence of Lawrence from Season 3 preview clips suggests Rae is resisting the temptation of the on-again off-again romance trope. That's rankled members of the so-called Lawrence Hive, who have tweeted their displeasure.

Fans’ emotional investment is a sign of success. But Rae knows her characters need time to find themselves as the show slowly secures its place among television's strongest.

Hester is Director of News Products and Projects at the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at CUNY. He is also the author of "Raising a Beatle Baby: How John, Paul, George and Ringo Helped us Come Together as a Family." Follow him on Twitter.

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