The following contains spoilers for the first episode of “The Idol”.
The expression “from the sublime to the ridiculous” has rarely seemed more apt than watching “The Idol” HBO’s new sexy wannabe drama, one week after the final episodes of “Succession” and “Barry” .
While the series premiere isn’t as bad or offensive as reports of production problems and early Cannes Film Festival reviews may have led people to believe, it is guilty of another sin: being just plain boring.
Created by Sam Levinson mind behind “Euphoria,” star Abel “The Weeknd” Tesfaye and Pray Fahim the show joins a long list of productions that pull back the curtain on the slimy side of the music or entertainment industry.
Despite trying hard to appear provocative, “The Idol” it mostly traffics in loose clichés and very, very stilted performances.
Lily-Rose Depp stars as Jocelyn, a Britney-style pop star (the comparison is openly made) looking to relaunch her career after an unspecified meltdown.
She is introduced as her various handlers worry about her, reacting to a public relations crisis created when a very private photo of her is leaked online.
It all amounts to an extended teaser, though, before Jocelyn agrees to a night out at a club, where she meets its semi-mysterious owner, Tedros (Tesfaye), and seems to be instantly attracted to him.
Although his assistant (Rachel Sennott) is convinced that Tedros is a bad influence, Jocelyn invites him into her home and lets him hear her yet-to-be-released new single.
This creates an opening for him to start his Svengali act, telling her that she needs to open up sexually in order to become a convincing singer.
Where “The Idol” it goes from there remains to be seen, but if the first chapter is any indication, it’s hard to see the show getting anywhere particularly interesting.
On the contrary “Euphoria” which is all about pushing the sexual envelope around teenage characters (played, admittedly, by older actors), the flashy backdrop actually works against the drama, coming across as edgy or distinguished.
HBO took the unusual step of not making it available. “The Idol” in advance to critics who missed the Cannes screening, a sign that the network was hoping to avoid another beating before viewers had a chance to see the production.
As is always the case with these things, it’s possible to run but not to hide, though that decision makes one of Tedros’s homespun phrases to Jocelyn, “You’ve got to stop caring what people think,” especially tongue-in-cheek.
During another exchange, Tedros muses to the pop star, “You have the best job in the world. You should be having a lot more fun.” Whatever “The Idol” is or wants to be, it’s definitely not very fun.
The first episode of “The Idol” premiered June 4 on HBO and is available on HBO Max. Episodes will be released weekly.
Source: CNN Brasil
I’m Robert Neff, a professional writer and editor. I specialize in the entertainment section, providing up-to-date coverage on the latest developments in film, television and music. My work has been featured on World Stock Market and other prominent publications.