The Weeknd and Sam Levinson’s ‘The Idol’ Receives Mixed Reviews as a Controversial Male Fantasy

The Weeknd

In the HBO series “The Idol,” The Weeknd plays a corrupting force in the music industry, targeting a young pop singer named Jocelyn, portrayed by Lily-Rose Depp. Jocelyn is a rising star who experiences a leak of compromising photos, causing panic among her label executives and tour representatives. The show initially explores the dynamics of damage control in the music industry but quickly veers into explicit scenes and a focus on Jocelyn’s relationship with The Weeknd’s character, Tedros.

“The Idol” delves into the dark side of the music industry, perpetuating the idea that pop stars have no control over their own image-making and are mere puppets of corporate interests. Despite this, the series allows The Weeknd to call the shots and even reshoot certain scenes to suit his preferences. Jocelyn, on the other hand, is portrayed as a vulnerable and impressionable figure, constantly influenced by those around her.

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The show opens with Jocelyn in the midst of a photoshoot, attempting to negotiate the terms of her nudity rider in the contract. She desires more control over her image and wants to showcase her body in a way that goes beyond the typical “side boob” shots. However, the costumes she wears throughout the series are revealing and leave little to the imagination. Jocelyn is surrounded by a group of yes-people who prioritize telling her what she wants to hear rather than offering genuine advice.

The initial photo scandal creates chaos within Jocelyn’s team, with label executives and tour representatives worrying about the impact on her image and ticket sales. However, the scandal quickly fades away, and Jocelyn encounters Tedros, a mysterious figure in the music industry who aims to corrupt her. Their relationship lacks depth and is characterized by explicit and kinky scenes.

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The script of “The Idol” underwent significant changes during production, resulting in a disjointed narrative. The show fails to establish why Jocelyn is considered an “idol” or what kind of role model she represents to her fans. While it touches on Jocelyn’s struggles with mental health and her journey towards self-expression, these aspects are not fully developed. Instead, the focus shifts towards the explicit and sensational aspects of the story.

“The Idol” attempts to offer social critique and explore the complexities of the music industry but falls short. The show prioritizes shock value and titillation over meaningful storytelling and character development. It raises questions about artistic independence and the control exerted by external forces but fails to provide nuanced answers. The involvement of The Weeknd in the production seems to overshadow the show’s potential for a more insightful exploration.

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Overall, “The Idol” misses the mark in its portrayal of the music industry and its impact on artists. It relies on clichéd tropes and explicit scenes rather than offering a thoughtful examination of the subject matter. The series feels like a missed opportunity to delve deeper into the complexities of fame, control, and artistic integrity.