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‘Sex Lives of College Girls’ is way more than just that

In an age where it seems that most television shows are either about being in high school or being an adult, shows about college life are few and far between. As a college student, I want to watch a show that I can connect with. HBO Max’s “Sex Lives of College Girls” (SLOCG) feels like what I have been looking for. Do not let the raunchy name throw you off, because this is truly a terrific show. Created by Mindy Kaling, known for her work on “The Mindy Project” and “Never Have I Ever,” SLOCG follows four college freshmen as they tackle every challenge thrown at them, both academic and personal. Despite coming from four different backgrounds and having four unique personalities, the girls are all enrolled at the fictional Essex College in Vermont, which context shows to be a prestigious liberal arts college. We see them at their highs and lows, their outstanding grades to academic struggles, their hot hookups (the show did get its name for a reason) to their romantic rejections and everything in between. As of Dec. 9, all 10 episodes are available on HBO Max for you to binge in a day like I did.

This is a show filled with a fun main cast, and everyone can find a character they relate to. I liked all of these characters, and they were all fleshed out in ways that made them feel real. First, there is naive Kimberly (Pauline Chalamet). She comes from a lower-middle-class background in a predominantly white area. She is not used to the affluence and diversity of her fellow classmates, and she can sometimes be awkward around her peers. Then there is bubbly Bela (Amrit Kaur). Bela cares about two things: joining her school’s prestigious comedy magazine and sleeping with as many hot guys as she can. She was a nerd when she was in high school, and college is a time where she can be cool. Next up is sporty Whitney (Alyah Chanelle Scott). Whitney is a star soccer player who also is the daughter of a popular U.S. senator. She wishes that she could step out of her mother’s shadow sometimes and she always tries to prove her worth on the field. Finally, there is posh Leighton (Reneé Rapp). Leighton is a legacy student that comes from a lot of money and always acts as if she is the coolest girl in the room. She may give off a standoffish vibe, but she has some secrets she is trying to protect so that she can have a perfect reputation. All of these girls appear to have nothing in common on the outside, but they soon form bonds that only college can provide.

As soon as I started this show, I was hooked. Everything about this show was solid. The storyline flowed very well. Having four main characters with mostly separate lives means that a lot has to be jam packed into each episode. Luckily the writers were able to put multiple plot lines into each episode without giving a clunky feel. While some points may have been stronger than others, I feel that each of the stars has multiple moments where they shined. The show was also able to introduce multiple side characters that were each fleshed out. From Kimberly’s coworkers to Whitney’s teammates to Bela’s fellow writers to Leighton’s volunteer group, and any love interest that these characters cross, everyone is a full character. I also have to applaud the show for its terrific writing. Often in TV shows or movies about young people, the adult writers will try too hard to sound young, and that can make for some cringe-worthy lines. While there are a few moments here and there that seem a bit much, I feel that these girls actually talked like college girls. The writers of this show had clearly done their research as the dialogue felt very natural. The 10 episodes flew by as this was an easy and fun show to watch.

A lot of people watch television so that they can escape reality, or to live vicariously through people’s lives. While I’ve had a lot of fun in college, I would not say it has the excitement to sustain an episode of a television series. I watched this show because it promised crazy college times, and I wanted to see that craziness. Luckily, this show delivered. While some events seem far-fetched and some character choices make me want to look away from the screen, I had a lot of fun watching this. Not only that, but I also felt that there were moments that I felt I could relate to as a college student. From new crushes to new clubs to new friends, I could see some of myself in them. I also enjoyed the inclusivity of this show. SLOCG had a diverse cast with representation from various ethnicities, body types and sexualities, which created an enjoyably progressive environment. I also liked seeing a female-led show that had an incredibly sex-positive message, showing that women can be driven by sex without being slut-shamed. I loved getting to know all of the characters, from the main cast to the supporting cast. I wanted to be friends with a lot of these characters because they were captivating and felt real. 

This show has been confirmed for a second season, and I am waiting for the release date to be announced. Mindy Kaling has been having several successes lately in terms of television comedies and it looks like that streak is continuing. Do not let the lewd name turn you off because even though it is about sex, it is so much more than that. If you want a fun, sex-positive, female-driven television show with a lot of heart, or you are just a bored college student that wants to see crazy college lives, watch the first season of “Sex Lives of College Girls” on HBO Max today, and then wait patiently with me for the second season.

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