Is HBO's 'The Idol' really TV's most scandalous series ever? - Hindustan Times
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HBO's controversial series 'The Idol' fails to live up to the hype: Is it really TV's most scandalous series ever?

Jun 17, 2023 10:21 PM IST

HBO's controversial series 'The Idol' fails to impress with shallow characters, explicit content, and lackluster execution.

HBO's new series "The Idol" has sparked a frenzy on social media, with viewers expressing mixed reactions to its explicit content. Co-created by Sam Levinson of "Euphoria" fame and featuring musician Abel Tesfaye, aka The Weeknd, the show explores the turbulent relationship between troubled pop star Jocelyn, portrayed by Lily-Rose Depp, and self-help guru and cult leader Tedros, played by Tesfaye himself.

HBO's controversial series 'The Idol' fails to impress with shallow characters, explicit content, and lackluster execution.(HBO)
HBO's controversial series 'The Idol' fails to impress with shallow characters, explicit content, and lackluster execution.(HBO)

While rumors about the show's explicitness are true, with frequent nudity and sexually charged dialogues, the exaggerated uproar on social media suggests that "The Idol" is the most scandalous series ever to grace television screens. However, in reality, this is nothing new. Countless shows before it, including the popular "Bridgerton," have featured similar provocative content, even leading to pirated footage ending up on porn sites.

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Despite attempts to titillate viewers, "The Idol" has failed to achieve the notoriety of its predecessors. Linear viewership plummeted from 232,000 for the premiere to a mere 135,000 for the second episode. The show lacks the edge and excitement it aspires to, evident in its lukewarm reception at Cannes.

Co-creator Sam Levinson may tout "The Idol" as a revolutionary product, but its trite material has failed to captivate a wide audience or receive critical acclaim. In comparison to HBO's past offerings like "True Blood," known for its wild and outlandish sex scenes, or "Outlander," which delves into sexual violence while maintaining a compelling narrative, "The Idol" falls short.

Also Read | The Weeknd's shocking sex scene in HBO's 'The Idol' leaves viewers disturbed

The show's attempts to explore the exploitation of female celebrities are undermined by its own shallow portrayal of Jocelyn. She exists merely as an object for Tedros and the cameras to toy with, devoid of depth or agency. The excessive nudity and cringeworthy sex scenes serve little purpose beyond shock value, lacking artistic merit or meaningful commentary.

While social media buzzes with both outrage and fascination over "The Idol," it ultimately fails to break new ground or offer anything groundbreaking. Other shows have tackled similar themes in more audacious and provocative ways, leaving "The Idol" to pale in comparison.

In the end, "The Idol" proves to be a tasteless and poorly executed attempt at pushing boundaries. Instead of making a meaningful statement, it indulges in the very exploitation it claims to condemn. With hollow characters and uninspired scenes, it falls short of the mark set by its predecessors, leaving viewers craving substance, originality, and genuine artistic merit.

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