When I started seeing billboards around Los Angeles with The Weeknd’s face on them, I knew something was up. I’ve listened to his music since before I could drive a car, so I give whatever he puts out a chance. Lily-Rose Depp, on the other hand, I had no idea existed, but maybe I’m living under a rock. There was almost too much hype around their new show, The Idol, so I started watching as soon as it dropped on HBO. And boy was I in for a ride.
Before I tell you what the show was like, I’ll tell you what it wasn’t: politically correct, safe for work, realistic, or thought-provoking. I could go on. But as soon as I started watching, I knew I had to finish it.
The show centers around pop star Jocelyn (Lily Rose Depp) and her return to the spotlight after a mental breakdown and time away in rehab. Very Britney Spears in ‘07. Jocelyn meets a sleazy nightclub promoter, Tedros (The Weeknd), and the two begin an unorthodox relationship blurring the lines between romantic and professional. It’s an impressive cast, with cameos from Dan Levy (Schitt’s Creek), Alexa Demie (Euphoria), and Mike Dean (your favorite artist’s favorite producer). The show was directed by Sam Levinson, who’s widely known for his work on HBO’s hit show, Euphoria.
While it sounds great on paper, the show has been ripped apart by almost every media outlet. A Rolling Stone exposé in March set low expectations for the upcoming premiere on June 4th. Since then, it’s earned a 20/100 on Rotten Tomatoes and further criticism from viewers. Some didn’t like the torture scenes, some were offended by its glorification of sex, drugs, and mental health issues, and others just thought it was boring. Everything from The Weeknd’s firing of the original director to his goofy acting and rat tail made this series a dumpster fire.
The Idol is objectively bad, but you won’t care. What it lacks in critical acclaim, it makes up for with hot people, good music, and cool visuals. All you need for a hit series.
It’s the perfect show to watch mindlessly. It’s basically Love Island, and I’ll admit there were a few great scenes. Like when Jocelyn’s manager, Chaim (Hank Azaria), scares the hell out of Tedros in the finale using a “Little Red Riding Hood” metaphor. The series also ends with a plot twist that probably 0% of viewers expected, so I guess they get brownie points for that. And as I mentioned earlier, the soundtrack goes crazy. With Mike Dean, Metro Boomin, and The Weeknd on production, that shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone. I’ll sign off with my top three featured songs, all available on streaming services.
As weird as the show was, I wouldn’t be surprised if I watch it again. Something about hot people and good music makes you overlook even the worst acting and storylines. So give it a shot, and you (probably) won’t regret it.