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The Quinnipiac Chronicle

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The Quinnipiac Chronicle

Soundtrack aside, HBO’s ‘The Idol’ was an absolute disaster

Amanda Riha

After what seemed like five long weeks, HBO’s highly-anticipated “The Idol” has — finally — concluded. Despite a superstar cast, headlined by Abel “The Weeknd” Tesfaye, the dark Hollywood drama was a clutter of sex, drugs and confusion. 

The five-episode series was a story about how famous pop star Jocelyn (Lily-Rose Depp) falls under the influence of The Weeknd’s Tedros, whose off-putting persona felt more like a cult leader than a music producer. 

Throughout the show, the themes of overcoming prior pain and constant relapsing on said pain was overplayed to the point that it was unbelievable. Having the persona of a singer on the cusp of mayhem, Tedros is right there to swoop Jocelyn in under his wing. What started as a relationship founded on instant attraction turned into a power-hungry dynamic that was focused more on  pornography-like sequences than anything else.

When Jocelyn is reliving the trauma she suffered at the hands of her mother at the end of episode three, viewers think the show is leading to an emotional ending to the episode. But nope, it ends with Tedros painfully abusing Jocelyn with a hairbrush while her friends watch. A scene meant to evoke emotion just made me roll my eyes. 

Sam Levinson, who joined the show later on as a director after Amy Seimetz left, made his mark  by creating HBO’s “Euphoria.” Because of this, the show took a fast nosedive. Just like “Euphoria,” the almost-inconceivable amounts of sex and substances made it uncomfortable to watch, even from a distance.

The final episode, hyped up online to have a “twist” ending, had a bland close that made me feel no emotions whatsoever. I think it was because I had no emotional attachment to the characters, as each of them felt too fabricated to even be relatable. To be honest, I don’t even know what the twist was supposed to be because of how confusing the show was at getting the story across to the viewers. 

Maybe because that’s not the world I live in. I don’t live in a glamorous California home with copious amounts of cocaine and half-naked pop stars constantly breaking out into song. It wasn’t a relatable show that would connect with any of the viewers. It felt like five installments of a long music video, not a television show with a $75 million budget.

The only redeeming quality was the soundtrack and its music production. It was also the only reason I tuned in each week. As an avid fan of The Weeknd, the music drew me in with each song dropping on Thursdays, three days before the episode. Listening to the music and then having to watch a half-formulated plot being acted over said songs just divided the two even further. 

Songs like “Take Me Back,” “A Lesser Man” and “Fill The Void” are all great jams that have been added to my playlists, but when I am subjected to hearing the music I enjoy while a group of half-naked groupies are grinding on each other, it makes one question if the show was trying to exaggerate the sexual themes … or just be porn. 

“The Idol” is boring and dull. Sure, there are funny moments from Hank Azaria that ease the ever-increasing tension between the characters, but that’s truly it. It’s an awkward show that focuses more on shocking sex scenes than any substance that really understands the characters. 

Tesfaye’s character and creative juices are what drew me to the show in the first place. Now I am hoping that it never gets renewed. Tedros was a weird, misogynistic character that I do not want to see anymore and I do not recommend “The Idol” to anyone. 

If you want to watch something similar, there is a lot of free stuff online that is the exact same.

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About the Contributors
Ethan Hurwitz, Sports Editor
Amanda Riha, Design Editor

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