If you’ve been paying attention to social media, you’ve probably seen clips of The Idol or memes surrounding The Weeknd’s rat-tail. For those who don’t know, The Idol is the new 6-part drama (now cut down to 5 parts) from Euphoria’s creator, Sam Levinson, who has been known to push the limits with his cast members, particularly Sydney Sweeney, with her excessive nude scenes in the teen drama series.
When the show was first announced back in November 2021, it garnered tons of media attention, since people were keen to see one of the hottest singers on earth and the creator of a fan favourite TV show come together. The hype further escalated when it was revealed that the rest of the cast consisted of big names like Lily-Rose Depp, Troye Sivan, Jennie from Blackpink, Hank Azaria, Dan Levy, and even record producer Mike Dean.
But, as we all know by now, since the show’s official release, it has only received extremely negative reviews from critics. Despite many people urging others not to check out the show, many have still tuned in out of morbid curiosity (including yours truly), and a great deal of them seem to share the same sentiment that the show just sucks. So, if you’ve not watched it, but you still wanna know what all the fuss is about, keep reading (SPOILERS AHEAD)!
The Plot (Or The Lack Thereof)
After watching 3 episodes of the show, it really reminded us of season 2 of Euphoria: not a lot happened. Even with its lengthy 1-hour episode runtime, we were hit with a “that’s it?” every time the end credits rolled. In the first episode, all we got was the introduction of Jocelyn (Lily-Rose Depp’s character), and her meeting with Tedros (played by The Weeknd) in a nightclub. The last thing you’d expect from a show by The Weeknd and Sam Levinson is for it to be boring, and it was. All of that introduction could have been shown in the first-half of the episode, leaving more space to show the backstory or the personalities of the characters.
In the first episode, literally in the first scene, we’re already greeted with Lily-Rose Depp’s bare chest, where she’s posing for a photoshoot. Ironically, the intimacy coordinator at the photoshoot then proceeds to tell Jocelyn’s creative director (played by Troye Sivan) and her manager (Hank Azaria) that she shouldn’t be naked since it’s not written in the script.
Look, we’re all about freeing the nipple, but the show seems to be trying to fit as many nude shots of women as possible. For example, after the photoshoot, the scene cuts to Jocelyn sleeping in her bed and her assistant waking her up. But of course, they had to have a shot of her sleeping naked, even if you can barely see her face due to the lighting.
Glorifying Mental Illness & Abuse
Before we get into this one, we should talk a bit about Jocelyn’s past. Again, spoilers ahead! After Jocelyn’s mom passed away a year ago, she had a psychotic meltdown, which led her to cancelling her tour. It was then revealed that her mom had been physically abusive to her most of her life, and she described the abuse as a tool of motivation.
During the photoshoot scene in the first episode, Jocelyn is seen wearing a medical wristband. When the creative director says that he doesn’t think she should be wearing the wristband, as he thinks it romanticizes mental illness, the label executive, Nikki (played by Jane Adams) argues that “mental illness is sexy”.
To be fair, the show does not claim to represent an ideal reality, but this does not excuse their irresponsible perpetuation of the “appeal” of mental illness. So no, mental illness is NOT sexy or edgy, and showrunners have a responsibility to portray mental illness in sensitive and responsible ways.
The Weeknd’s Acting
As a fan of The Weeknd, it’s unfortunate for me to admit that the ‘bad scenes’ in the show usually occur when he’s on screen. While his character, Tedros, was intended to be a dark, villainous figure, he just comes off as a sleezy (and sometimes goofy) creep who fails to exude any charm that would make Jocelyn, a literal super star, fall for him. Another thing worth noting is The Weeknd’s vocals throughout the show. We’re not saying he sounds bad – he’s great at it, no doubt. But it can be a bit distracting to hear his voice in those scenes when he’s also playing Tedros.
The Cringey Dialogue
Aside from the “mental illness is sexy,” line, the show is filled with a bunch of questionable dialogue. It’s to the point where there’s already ‘The Idol cringe compilations’ on YouTube, listing out all the ‘cringy’ scenes, and the show hasn’t even ended yet! Here are a few of the cringiest lines from just the first episode:
“I was getting f**ked in the a** in the stairwell of Capitol Records and then walking straight into meetings”
“Pop music is the ultimate Trojan horse,” (We’re guessing this line was written by The Weeknd)
“He’s so rapey”
“Yea, I kinda like that about him”
“If you’re gonna release a song called ‘I’m a freak’, you should at least sing it like you know how to f**k”
The show is pure fantasy, trashy entertainment shot in a visually-stunning way. So if you’re planning to hate-watch the show, you should be prepared for unnecessarily graphic sex scenes, the awful dialogue, and the pretentious cringefest that is The Idol.