Well, the first episode of The Idol has finally premiered, and viewers have a lot to say.
If you’ve been keeping up with early reviews of the HBO original, which is created by Euphoria creator Sam Levinson, you’ll know they haven’t exactly been stellar. Back in March, Rolling Stone dropped a bombshell early review, calling the production a “rape fantasy” and “twisted torture porn,” something stars Lily-Rose Depp and The Weeknd quickly tried to strike down.
More recently, the controversial show debuted at the 2023 Cannes Film Festival, where it was met with abysmal critiques, followed by the lowest critical scores for any HBO project in history.
Now, the general public has finally gotten a chance to see the first episode for themselves, and let’s just say saving this show is seeming more and more far fetched.
The setup for the episode was that Jocelyn (played by Depp), a pop star who is looking for a career comeback after a public breakdown was triggered by her mother’s death, has an intimate photo leaked. Soon after, she meets Tedros (played by The Weeknd, whose real name is Abel Tesfaye), a mysterious nightclub owner, who inputs on her comeback single in a controversial way… No spoilers, but we’ll just say Rolling Stone wasn’t too far off.
One TikTok user broke it down, detailing Levinson’s “hollow” direction. Watch (below):
Over on Twitter, users weren’t exactly sold on the plot, either — and DEFINITELY not on The Weeknd’s acting abilities:
“Just watched #TheIdol and Jesus Christ it’s like a student film with a big budget. Sam Levinson is trying to be deep but his writing is just f**king weird. Also The Weeknd’s character is f**king creepy as f**k and makes me hate the actual Weeknd”
“Let me save y’all from watching the first episode of the idol. The dialogue was bad. It was boring as hell. The best thing about it was Jocelyn’s song. And abel… baby… stick to singing, boo”
“the idol first ep was kinda boring with the weeknds performance being even worse than i thought it would be…the dialogue is cringey and the ending of that first ep is so scary i didn’t really like anything except a few of the shots…i’m not feeling this show”
A few fans took issue with the abrupt nosedive in Sunday night streaming quality on the prestige network following months of The Last of Us and Succession, writing things like:
hbo going from tlou to succession to the idol pic.twitter.com/zhmclGRcjB
— maría celeste ???????? (@mariacelestetp) June 5, 2023
HBO Sunday nights going from Succession to The Idol pic.twitter.com/Al1DoWi3fo
— Aaron Serna (@AaronSerna) June 5, 2023
The only real positives folks had for the episode were praise for BLACKPINK‘s Jennie Kim, who had a small role:
the idol is ass like idgaf sam levinson and the weeknd should thank jennie for making people tune in pic.twitter.com/Ld0KljTHXv
— my final days (@sillyassblunt) June 5, 2023
she's so hot oh god. Watch the idol for the plot
— jennie random things (@randomjenniekim) June 5, 2023
See more reactions (below):
LOL. How did The Idol make it to the airwaves? It’s comically bad. Ejaculatory and vapid. They clearly think it’s subversive but it isn’t! It’s boring! Lily Rose Depp is interesting and it’s a shame she wasn’t given better material.
— roxane gay (@rgay) June 5, 2023
The Idol is simultaneously awful self-parody, a pretentious art project, and grotesquely exploitative of its subject matter. Sam Levinson's dialogue is about as natural as a chicken nugget. The Weekend's performance is awful. It feels like a show made by CIS men cause it is. pic.twitter.com/7gEid4lxLB
— Lord Edge (@cgd0911) June 5, 2023
the real scandal of the idol is how the show drummed up all this controversy prior to release but still managed to be super fucking boring
— christian. (@wildcagedanimal) June 5, 2023
Lily Rose Depp is hot as hell and that’s the only reason I’m watching The Idol. The writing sucked, plot felt empty and The Weeknd’s AliExpress wig got me fucked up
— Elle (@aminadrex) June 5, 2023
I wanted badly to enjoy #THEIDOL but this was a disaster,my takeaways are
A. Lily Rose Depp is bad asf
B. Sam Levinson can’t write & The Weeknd can’t act
C. This shit was forcibly sexual in a weird way.. no way a major plot line was ab a photo of her having nut on her face????
— Brandon Martinez (@Brandoncmartine) June 5, 2023
Not exactly a great outlook for the five episodes that remain! However, if there’s one person that’s going to celebrate The Weeknd’s performance, it’s his co-star. In a breakdown of the episode that premiered directly after, the 24-year-old shared:
“I love Abel so much. He was able to melt into this role in a way that is really difficult for anybody to do.”
Well, we can’t blame her for trying to hype up a show she’s the face of!
Did YOU watch The Idol, Perezcious readers? Let us know your thoughts on in the comments down below!
[Image via HBO/YouTube]