Throughout the past few weeks or so, The Idol has been getting panned by critics. For those unaware, this is the new show starring The Weeknd and Lily-Rose Depp. Moreover, the show was co-created by Sam Levinson, who is famous for Euphoria, among other things. Overall, the criticism of the show began during the Cannes Film Festival. Many felt as though the show was way too sexual, and that it was beyond good taste. This created lots of anticipation for the show, thus confirming the notion that all press is good press. Last night, the show premiered on HBO, and we got quite an introduction to the main characters.
"The Idol" Presents Us Jocelyn
The first frame of the episode gives us a close-up of Lily-Rose Depp's face as she is in the midst of a sensual photoshoot. Depp plays Jocelyn, a global pop star who is currently on the rise. She is set to drop a new album, and the aforementioned photoshoot is for her cover art. During this scene, Jocelyn plays up the sex appeal as she even flashes her chest in the midst of the shoot. This subsequently angers one of the assistants on set, who claims this violates her nudity rider. However, Jocelyn refuses to listen as she and her team claim that she can do whatever she wants. Right from the get-go, the show is establishing the pop star as someone who is not afraid of embracing sexuality.
While all of this is going on, a new scandal emerges online. This is due to a case of revenge porn against Jocelyn. A picture of her having sex ends up leaking online, specifically on Reddit. Overall, the picture is quite explicit, and it's better to just watch the show if you want to know what's depicted. That said, Jocelyn becomes the number one trending topic on Twitter, and all of this is happening unbeknownst to her. Throughout all of this, her large team of publicists and managers attempt to figure out what to do. It has been established that the artist has had psychotic breaks in the past, and they don't want to push her into another one.
Dealing With A Scandal
Not to mention, Jocelyn has to learn choreography for the music video to her lead single "World Class Sinner." Her team decides it is better to tell her after the practice session, as they don't want her to be in her own head about it. However, during this time, Jocelyn can sense that something is going on. Regardless, she gets through the practice session unscathed before being told of the situation. While the viewer is led to believe that she will be devastated by this scandal, she doesn't seem to care. She claims that it could have been worse, and her team reluctantly agrees. Moreover, some of her team decides that this is good anyway, as she can now be seen as a victim, and a Feminist icon.
As a way to show the paparazzi that she is unbothered by all of this, Jocelyn and her team go out to a nightclub that same evening. While there, she is introduced to The Weeknd's character Tedros. Tedros owns the nightclub, and when he sees Jocelyn, he begins to watch her intently from a distance. He is clearly enamored by her and lets the entire club know that she is in the building. Additionally, he asks her to dance, and she agrees without any reluctance. This subsequently leads to a dance montage in which you can see the immediate chemistry between Tedros and Jocelyn. After a long makeout session, the two end up going their separate ways for the night, and the next day begins.
Jocelyn Hates Her Own Music
During the daytime, Jocelyn sits down for an interview with a journalist from Vanity Fair. The journalist asks her questions about the picture, but she refuses to answer. Moreover, she is also asked about her mom who recently passed away. Once again, Jocelyn is able to maneuver around a real answer. This scene eventually fades out and we get a scene in which Jocelyn is getting ready for a date with Tedros. The date is taking place at Jocelyn's mansion, and she ups the sex appeal again with a red and black lace robe and some high-heels.
When Tedros arrives, he immediately gives off some bizarre vibes. The Weeknd's portrayal of this character is mysterious, but also downright creepy. For instance, he stuns Jocelyn's assistant by giving her a kiss on the cheek as he walks in. Subsequently, he and Jocelyn grab a drink at her mini-bar where they discuss music. This is where Jocelyn admits that she hates her own music. She calls it superficial pop that has no substance. However, Tedros disagrees, noting that Prince made pop music and was a legend. Eventually, Jocelyn brings Tedros to her at-home studio and shows "World Class Sinner."'
Wrapping Up "The Idol" Premiere
Tedros tells Jocelyn that the song is great, however, she sings it like someone who doesn't know "how to f***." It's a ridiculous and cringe statement that is an indictment of some of the writing here. However, Jocelyn vows to prove this is not the case. This eventually leads to Tedros wrapping Jocelyn's head in her own robe and cutting a slit in the mouth so she can breathe. The implication here is pretty clear, and then the episode just ends.
Episode 1 of The Idol certainly leaves you feeling like more could have been explained. However, we imagine there will be a lot of ground covered over the coming episodes. As for the criticisms of the show, it's easy to see where those were coming from. There is a lot of gratuitous sex, and for a lot of people, it may be a bit much. Either way, HBO, Sam Levinson, and The Weeknd are confident they have a hit on their hands, with The Idol. Only time will tell whether or not that's the case.