HBO Max’s ‘The Sex Lives of College Girls’ Review

The cheekiest joke in The sex life of college girls that’s the title: It’s one of those scandalous and scandalous promises, only for the show to deliver a bit of it. But that, more or less, seems to be the problem. On the show, the college girls’ actual sex lives aren’t all that exciting – when they’re entertained, the scenes are tame, PG-13 stuff. The real excitement of campus life lies in the unprecedented freedom it gives young people to discover or renew themselves amidst a sea of ​​other young people doing exactly the same. .

On moving day at the fictional Essex College in Vermont, four roommates meet for the first time: Kimberly (Pauline Chalamet) is a sheltered scholarship student; Leighton (Renee Rapp) is a preppy legacy; Whitney (Alyah Chanelle Scott) is the star athlete daughter of the senator; and Bela (Amrit Kaur) is an Indian-American comedian. Each came with her own hopes of who she could become in college that she couldn’t in high school, and throughout the season, each found themselves pushed in directions that She not only did not expect but also could not have imagined.

The sex life of college girls

Key point

Instantly beloved, if a little unsure of itself – like the character at the center of it.

Release date: Thursday, November 18
Cast: Amrit Kaur, Alyah Chanelle Scott, Pauline Chalamet, Renée Rapp, Midori Francis, Gavin Leatherwood, Chris Meyer, Ilia Isorelys Paulino, Lauren Spencer, Renika Williams
Creator: Mindy Kaling, Justin Noble


Most of, The sex life of college girls It feels like the TV equivalent of dorm room pizza: nothing new or fancy, perhaps, but warm and delicious enough to satisfy. Leighton is such a Regina George type that she’s played by an actor who actually played Regina George on Broadway, but it’s equally fun to watch Rapp snort “You think it’s a brunch place huh?” when a schoolmate tries to cut her size with a Dean & Deluca themed insult. Kimberly’s crush on a guy from a very different faction largely follows standard rom-com rhythms, but Chalamet and Gavin Leatherwood share enough flirtatious chemistry to make butterflies fall in love. And while it’s clear that these four girls with little in common will start to bond in spite of themselves, it’s still a treat to cozy up on the couch with them when it happens.

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On the flip side: College stories aren’t nearly as common on TV as high school stories, and even so, some of the show’s storylines already feel like they’re getting old. . Whitney is favored by few by a romantic storyline that foretells disaster from its very first moments, then sprints toward that disaster with very few unexpected turns along the way. And one of the two universities really hasn’t changed in about two decades since I was that age, or The sex life of college girls is the younger generation’s idea of ​​what Gen Z is doing. A story about a reclusive gay student and jokes about Greek life and feminist poems that feel as if they could have come from any point in the last 10 or 20 years. .

However, now and then, The sex life of college girls shows the potential to be something more daring. Out of the top four, Bela felt gripped in a way that the others weren’t quite. This is in part due to Kaur’s effervescent effervescent energy, but also because the character’s overriding process of joining a male-dominated comedy magazine feels clear and concrete in its limbs. its details. Plot B about a “dumb guy” offers a refreshing twist on the usual heterosexual dating stories, and Bela’s uneasy relationship with the women in the anti-comedy comedy. both false assumptions and flirtatious slogans. Both seem to be rooted in close personal experience – perhaps creator Mindy Kaling – in a way, Whitney’s struggle to win over her soccer teammates did not.

Likewise, Kimberly’s class anxiety, stemming from her being one of the poorer children attending a posh private school, deepens what can be encountered as clumsiness. in the garden. Her work-study job at the campus cafe introduces a few colleagues who quickly become two of the series’ instantly likable supporting characters: Deadpan Lila (Ilia Isorelys Paulino) and Canaan (Chris Meyer), the Kimberly, talks about white feminism’s defiance without reducing herself or herself to a magical “teachable moment.” Together with Jocelyn (Lauren Spencer), a physically disabled schoolmate who seems to live her freshman year better than anyone else, they offer glimpses of stories that go even further. the stereotypical New England university experience.

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But The sex life of college girls deserves a chance to come alone with his girls. The strongest of the six episodes sent to the critics (out of a total of 10 episodes for the entire season) is the final one, especially focusing less on the girls’ love lives than the relationship. their developing relationship with themselves and with each other. A hearty parent’s weekend dinner has lessened the rivalry between these girls now and who they are just six episodes ago. Then Kimberly’s mother (Nicole Sullivan) – introduced in episode one, trying to shield her teenage daughter from a scene of a couple working on the lawn – notes with spontaneous interjection. proud, sad, and worried that Kimberly has changed. She’s right, but Kimberly isn’t wrong either when she insists she’s not trying to be anyone she isn’t.

Teenage girls’ sex lives understand that, although nudist parties or one-night stands can be fun and although our characters enthusiastically participate in both, the most thrilling college must provide young women This opportunity to become more perfect yourself.

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