A story about a pop star who, on the one hand, would like to make good music, on the other, mainly plays with her naked body and is surrounded by yesmen on all sides, just waiting to be able to assure her that everything she touches turns to gold. So Here is the Idol (2023) – Review.
The new HBO series was drowning in controversy long before the premiere episode aired. There was a buzz that the sexualization of the main character dances on the border between art and soft pornography, sometimes gently falling off it, which led to friction between producers, directors, and screenwriters. At least one director left the series during filming, some scenes had to be re-shot elsewhere, and the entire series was hailed as vulgar without even being given a chance. And just as I can’t say that Lily-Rose Depp parading around half-naked and sometimes completely naked disturbs me in any way, in fact what is happening around her, how others treat her, repels me a bit…
Idol (2023) – Review, Opinion After The First Episode of The Series [HBO]. Nothing Happens Here
We start the first episode with a great close-up of the face of the main character, Jocelyn (Depp). Someone tells her from behind the frame what faces to make, and her face responds with the smallest, most “different but the same” grimaces in the universe. It’s also easy to notice numerous imperfections on her face – uneven makeup, pimples on her forehead. However, they all disappear as soon as the camera takes a step back, which seems to be an intriguing commentary on the whole phenomenon of being a star and how it is perceived by “ordinary people”. Although I’m not sure if the effect was intentional, especially considering how subtle the rest of the first episode is.
The first 15 (more or less) minutes are basically the same non-stop. Jocelyn sits on the table with her boobs out, people take pictures of her, her agent (Hank Azaria) is happy that she went all out and exposes her body, while the intimacy specialist whines that it can’t be like this, that the contract needs to be renegotiated, closed set and come back in two days. He gets punished for being a bore, and Jocelyn’s crew faces another challenge with which they don’t do anything specific, just hang around looking busy, even though nothing really changes. Later, equally little happens in another place and finally again in the fancy villa of the main character. The drama here is situations like: Everyone is worried about how Jocelyn will react to another scandal with her participation and they don’t know how to tell her, so … They stare at her cheekily and wave as if she is handicapped, and they wanted to show their sympathy in an incompetent way .
Idol (2023) – Review, Opinion After The First Episode of The Series [HBO]. A Famous Name Is Not Everything
Problematic, at least in this first episode, is also the main character herself. Lily-Rose Depp inherited extraordinary beauty from her parents, but in terms of acting talent, she has nothing to show off yet. She’s rather stiff, lacks charisma, and once the viewer gets the hang of seeing her body, she just becomes boring. Her on-screen partner is the Weeknd, who is also one of the show’s co-creators. He played it smart, I won’t say. What is known about his character, Tedros, is that he is the owner of the club that Jocelyn visited Courses and he is quite a pervert. Perhaps I give the impression of being extremely perfunctory and olewowy in relation to the work of the creators of the series, but there really is nothing more to talk about, even though the first episode is almost an hour of television. How nine writers managed to make so little story in so much time, I have no idea.
If anything deserves praise after this first episode, it’s the photos. The frames selected by the operators can intrigue with the composition, various elements of the set regularly contrast with each other in an eye-catching way, the light emphasizes the figure of the main character (although in places I had flashes of cheap Playboy erotica, broadcast in the nineties on Polsat after 11 pm), and the movement of the camera always it balances somewhere on the verge of showing everything and showing nothing. He can be quite sensual, indeed. It’s just that without a solid plot layer, the whole thing looks either like a music video or the already mentioned cheap erotica…
I’ll give the second episode another chance, though I’m afraid the defenders of morality may have been right this time. But not because the series emanates with sex – let it emanate. Just let it serve something more than that! I’m hoping they’ll bounce back, but I’m not counting on too much.