Insecure‘s third season premiered complete with a new show-within-a-show, Kev’yn. Much like Insecure‘s first metaseries, Due North, the series takes what’s going on in the zeitgeist and transforms it into a satirical look at Hollywood as an industry. And with the amount of ’80s and ’90s reboots occurring left and right, Kev’yn couldn’t be more on time.
Our new show within a show, KEV’YN is a 90s dream come true. #InsecureHBO
— Issa Rae (@IssaRae) August 13, 2018
Kev’yn takes direct aim at the wave of nostalgia-laced TV, down to the cast, which includes Living Single‘s Erika Alexander, A Different World‘s Darryl Bell, and direction by Alexander’s Living Single cohort Kim Fields. Insecure creator and star Issa Rae told Bustle that inspiration for the metaseries came from one of the extras, who “was conveniently holding a ‘How to Write Sitcoms’ book in front of the camera in between takes.”
Rae said that some of the show’s writers an showrunner Prentice Penny were joking about the extra. “Like, ‘Sitcoms? He’s trying to write sitcoms?’ And then we just started talking about ’90s reboots,” she said to the outlet.
Much of Kev’yn is based on classic sitcoms like Living Single and Martin, so the metaseries is bound to hit fans of those shows directly in the feels. Indeed, with the amount of Living Single stars in the show, it’s a clear reminder that Alexander and fellow Living Single costar Kim Coles have strongly hinted at a Living Single reboot coming sometime in the very near future. But the metaseries also hits on some more socio-political points surrounding the abundance of ’90s reboots; aside from Living Single, no one is rebooting any of the classic black shows for a new audience.
“It was like ‘Where is our representation?'” Penny said to Entertainment Weekly. “They’re rebooting Will & Grace, Full House, Roseanne obviously. We’re like, ‘They can’t reboot Living Single, Martin, A Different World?’ So many of these black shows made these networks what they are today, but when it comes to our value and people wanting to see us, why aren’t we doing Living Single? ”
Thankfully, we can more than likely cross Living Single off of the list of ’90s shows that must be rebooted. But Kev’yn does stand as a question to Hollywood about what they think about the value of black-led sitcoms. If much of the ’90s was built on the backs of sitcoms led by black actors, how come much of Hollywood’s sitcom talk is about every show other than the sitcoms that captivated millions and, in the case of Fox with In Living Color and ABC with Family Matters and The WB with Sister, Sister, helped secure networks’ footholds in the television market?
Until we get the sitcom reboots we’ve been waiting for, at least we have Kev’yn to remind us that the charm of ’90s black-led sitcoms hasn’t been forgotten.