The darkly comedic web series Insomnia drops the final episode of the limited series today and to get you ready for the final episodes I wanted to share my thoughts on the show so far. Set in New York City, Insomnia follows bisexual, Indian American writer Nikhil Sharma as he tries to figure out his life. Shown through single camera, the story follows Nikhil in his secret work as a male escort where he is confronted by issues of race, sexuality, loneliness, and just general lack of sleep. The series was inspired by a brief real life encounter when creator and star of the show, Vishaal Reddy, was asked by someone in NYC if he had ever considered being an escort. After seeing a lack of positive representation in the media he took this idea and evolved it into Insomnia.
Based on just the plot I am guessing you’ve already figured out that this series might be a bit inappropriate for some viewers and also NSFW. Any show that can kick off with an off brand Star Wars themed sex scene where someone is narrating the routine of going through this same thing with the same client is definitely coming for the laughs. I was immediately laughing and was stoked to see more. This is followed up by a pretty heavy scene involving someone with a dead partner, but Reddy balances this expertly with his character Nikhil continuing to narrate through the stress. As a bisexual myself I was both laughing and eye rolling at the slew of questions that took place involving Nikhil on his dates. I admittedly didn’t do a lot of dating and avoided a lot of the drama, though I can tell you that bisexual erasure is totally a thing. Reddy handled this element perfectly with men and women both reacting differently to his sexuality. The one I didn’t expect was the assumption by one guy that Nikhil would wind up with a man. This is the same assumption often made in connection to bisexual women, though I had thought that the idea would be reversed for men.
Beyond focusing on a bisexual man of color, Insomnia includes a diverse cast of primarily POC actors. After binging Jessica Jones season three I was also exceptionally excited to see Aneesh Sheth, who appears as someone in the same line of work as Nikhil. The two are meeting up on a sort of date that she is paying for. I loved Sheth as Gillian, Jessica’s new assistant in the final series of the series, and she rocked it in Insomnia. She and Reddy had a great dynamic in their episode together. The series finds ways to examine what it is like for Nikhil navigating the dating world as a bisexual man and there is also an episode devoted to him dealing with a white couple who uses some very racist bedroom talk. As the night takes a turn a dialogue opens up between him and his two clients that shows a level of white privilege and racist thoughts that he wasn’t expecting. If you are looking for something that examines American culture and the world surrounding sex and sexuality in a humorous way you need to add Insomnia to your list. Reddy has created a story that shows a bisexual man of color working his way through life and trying to find himself.
You can get caught up today just in time for the release of episode 6, the final episode of season one, today on the official Insomnia YouTube channel. The episodes are relatively short and you can definitely binge the entire thing in about an hour, which makes it the perfect afternoon watch.