This post contains spoilers for The Idol episode one, “Pop Tarts & Rat Tails”
A veil of secrecy has been shading The Idol, the new HBO jawn from Sam Levinson. The show has been mired in controversy, with accusations of exploitation and “sexual torture porn” coming from its production. The show premiered at Cannes last month to a standard-issue five-minute standing ovation and mixed reviews. Many questions have surrounded The Idol, mostly centering on what this show is even about. Is it about Jocelyn (Lily-Rose Depp) and her journey through the underworld of L.A.’s music scene? Or is it about Tedros Tedros (Abel “the Weeknd” Tesfaye) and his groovy murder cult? Does it depict or endorse the abuse of women? These questions are not fully answered by the show’s first episode. Instead, more questions arose. Namely:
➽ How much did Fiona Apple get for “Criminal” playing during that photo-shoot scene, and did any of that money go to her new favorite nonprofit, the National Courtwatch Network?
➽ Who was Troye Sivan’s accent coach? He’s doing great!
➽ How much would someone need to pay you to temporarily kidnap an intimacy coordinator?
➽ Is it a coincidence that Jennie from Blackpink is positioned as the Mila Kunis to Lily-Rose Depp’s Natalie Portman, Black Swan–style, the same weekend that movie was in the tabloids? Or is there some sort of quantum gossip field that needs to be studied?
➽ Were the stairwells at Capitol Records a good place to have sex in?
➽ Am I really so jaded by all the celeb nude leaks of the 2000s, or is one cumshot selfie really not that big of a deal? Andrew Finkelstein says he can’t sell teenybopper tix with that pic out there, but isn’t Jocelyn in the middle of her sexuality-forward adulthood pivot era anyway? Her Bangerz era, if you will?
➽ What is everyone’s job? What is the division of labor between Hank Azaria and Da’Vine Joy?
➽ Is it weird that I barely recognize Abel without giant aviators on?
➽ Where can I get some of those “skinny legend” cigs Jocelyn’s always smoking?
➽ Why can’t L.A. mansion doors be fucking normal?
➽ Did they have the dead-mom angle before or after I’m Glad My Mom Died?
➽Is freak/nun the new madonna/whore?
➽ “Criminal,” “Like a Prayer,” and “Darling Nikki,” in this economy? Is most of The Idol’s budget going to music licensing, or is there some Warner Music deal lightening the load?
➽ What is the choke hold that choke holds have on these characters?
➽ Did Talia get enough for her profile?
➽ Will? Weeknd? Ever? Show? Hog?