The Idol is a degrading and demeaning failure - but there is one reason to watch

Full of rough, dehumanising sex, this overtly provocative series has few redeemable qualities.


Hyper-sexualised TV series The Idol has been universally panned, so it's obviously doing a whole lot wrong. Appallingly light on plot, character development and class, the show focuses on Jocelyn, a Britney Spears-esque pop star (played by the admittedly good Lily Rose Depp) who is near-naked, smoking, thinking about sex or having sex in every scene.

Lily Rose Depp and Abel Tesfaye in The Idol
Lily Rose Depp and Abel Tasfaye are shocking viewers with their graphic sex scenes in The Idol. Photo: HBO

Ms Depp does seem to have more talent under her bonnet than simulating sex with her dancers or masturbating to her own music, but Jocelyn is surrounded by enablers, leeches and various other scumbag sycophants, all hanging around to suck their salaries from her. These people are trying to maintain their relevance by clinging to one of the most popular, fragile, sad and lonely singers of the minute, who is working on her "comeback".

Sex, sex, sex

Throughout the first two episodes we see The Idol is bored, The Idol has recently lost her mum, The Idol has a breakdown, but the one thing that features more than anything else? The Idol has sex.


Sex on film. Aaaah, it can be such a beautiful thing. A raw and exquisitely shot, emotionally charged sex scene of people making true, romantic love can make or break the plot of a TV series or any piece of cinema. However, the sex scenes in The Idol, while pleasantly filmed (that's a plus!) are gratuitous, grubby and verging on fantasy rape.

The production team is trying too hard to sensationalise sex, hence, when the second episode aired and Abel Tesfaye (who is better known as The Weeknd and is blessed with zero acting skills) suggested a few sex acts before carrying out said sex acts on the constantly shaking and fragile Jocelyn, the show lost a truckload of followers.

Abel Tesfaye aka The Weeknd and Lily Rose Depp in The Idol
Viewers and critics have panned The Idol. Photo: HBO

The Idol comes from Euphoria creator Sam Levinson, Tesfaye and some other bloke, and seriously, their aim seems to be to titillate, provoke and piss off viewers. Nudity, profanity, drugs, semen, sadism, masochism, mental illness and excessive cigarette smoking attempt to move the show into "edgy and cool" territory, but it sadly fails.

'I needed to turn away'

The way the male protagonist Tedros, played by Tesfaye, treats Jocelyn is beyond appalling. The sexual encounters he has with her have nothing to do with intimacy. They are rough. They are not joyful. They are horrible. They are one-sided. Sure, each to their own when it comes to private sex lives, but I don't see any positives in showing sex scenes so degrading and demeaning, especially when our Gen Z's (and younger) are watching. This kind of sex isn't normal (I know, what is normal?) but the roughness and dehumanising of it stinks.

The despicable power trip Tedros is on is just embarrassing, especially as he thinks he can use it over a small cult of entertainers, dancers, clowns and singers that he has drawn into his Charles Manson meets Jeffrey Epstein-style web. During nearly every sex act shown so far, I needed to turn away because there isn't anything romantic about any of them. They made me feel bashed around and sore.

Lily Rose Depp and Abel Tesfaye aka The Weeknd at the Cannes Film Festival
Lily and Abel premiered The Idol at this year's Cannes Film Festival. Photo: Getty

One good reason to watch The Idol

But by the end of the first two episodes, I had a brainwave. Just a few days earlier, I'd seen The White Lotus star Jennifer Coolidge deliver some brilliant nuggets of wisdom about self-doubt at an event in Sydney, and one of her best suggestions came right into my head as I watched Tedros talk to Jocelyn's vagina, like it was a third person in the room (I know, pathetic). The Coolidge approach to curing any doubt about your own talent is to seek out and watch as much crap as you can. So yes, I'll continue to watch this vapid show simply because it is so incredibly bad it can only make me feel good about my life choices.

And another thing, don't ever put any worth into those five-minute standing ovations at the Cannes Film Festival, because even this got one. I rest my case.

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