“The Idol,” HBO’s latest sensation, has ignited heated debates online. Created by the minds behind “Euphoria,” this polarising series attempts to capture audiences with a cocktail of light bondage, unabashed sleaze, and supposed biting satire.

Credit: Variety

We’re introduced to the enigmatic main character, Joss (Jocelyn), portrayed by the talented Lily-Rose Depp. Joss finds herself amidst the chaotic preparations for the release of her new album. The troubled pop star is heavily reminiscent of Brittany Spears with her mental breakdowns and stardom.

The episode begins with Joss posing for a photoshoot. Tension arises as she clashes with the intimacy coordinator. Joss fights for her right to bare it all in the photoshoot against her contract rules. Meanwhile, her team anxiously grapples with handling Twitter revenge porn, hiding the crude photo from her.

Once discovering the image, Joss and her closest friends (all of which she employees) decide to go clubbing as a distraction. There she meets sleazy club owner, Tedros, played by Abel Makkonen Tesfayend. Tedros’ cheesy attempts at flirting with Joss, though disturbingly unsettling, pique her interest where the two begin their on screen “romance”.

We later see Joss hanging out with her best friend/assistant Leia, discussing the “rapey vibe” Tedros gives out. Responding “yeah but I kinda like that”, proving that no women were in the room during the writing of this script. As if thats not bad enough, she invites Tedros over within minutes of the conversation. Ice cubes and near asphyxiation make up a rather uncomfortable scene while the two listen to her newest song “I’m a freak”. One review reads “Tedros is so patently repulsive that their sex scenes, while graphic, are not at all erotic”. I couldn’t agree more.

My Unfiltered Thoughts

As we delve into the world of “The Idol”, it becomes apparent that its provocative approach often falls short, leaving the taste of disappointment and superficiality. In this episode, Sam Levinson attempts to shock viewers with its unfiltered exploration of taboo desires and power dynamics.

Yet, instead of offering a nuanced and thought-provoking narrative, the series relies heavily on shock value and gratuitous sleaze. Leaving little room for substantial storytelling or character development. The episode was filled with so much nudity that they seemed to actually forget to add a plot! The relentless attempts at boundary pushing feels hollow, lacking the depth necessary to engage and captivate audiences beyond mere titillation.

We see ranging perspectives on “The Idol”. With some praising its audacity, the majority express reservations about the use of its explicit content and controversial themes. If feels as if the show’s unapologetic embrace of these themes have overshadowed any potential satirical commentary it strived to deliver. Instead of striking a balance, “The Idol” succumbs to superficiality, perpetuating the very elements it claims to critique.

The Disgusting Glamorisation of Mental Illness

At some point we see her managers debating the glamorisation of mental illness. Perpetuating the idea that hot women are only worth pursuing if they’re unstable or mentally ill. Her “craziness” is the justification as to why she’d sleep with you. Her managers argue that this type of pop star marketing is the only way to do it now. They can’t fall behind. May was well use her crazy girl sex appeal to her advantage right?

It becomes clear that “The Idol” strives to address certain concerns before they’re even raised, attempting to justify its approach. However, this tactic doesn’t diminish the underlying critique at hand. Why on earth are we STILL glamourising mental illness on television. 

The series teeters on the edge of sensationalism, leaving audiences yearning for substance and genuine storytelling. So far, “The Idol” proves to be a missed opportunity. While it may capture the attention of the typical Euphoria audience, it’ll likely fail to engage on any deeper level.

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