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The most bizarre moments in HBO’s short-lived ‘The Idol’

***Warning for spoilers and mentions of sexual assault*** 

After the apparent success of HBO’s “Euphoria,” show creator Sam Levinson went on a mission to create another exciting TV series in hopes of gaining the same sense of admirability. Thus came Levinson's daring and exotic series “The Idol,” starring noticeable faces Lily-Rose Depp and music chart-topper Abel “The Weeknd” Tesfaye. However, what was thought to be the “biggest show of the summer,” according to Levinson, did not turn out as such.

Upon its release, the show was immediately deemed as controversial due to some unnecessary extremities in the plot, including sexual assault and consistent misogyny. In the end, the show about a young, upcoming popstar, Jocelyn (Lily-Rose Depp), and her growing relationship with nightclub owner Tedros (Abel “The Weeknd” Tesfaye), received low ratings, low viewership and overall severe criticism. It eventually led to the show’s cancellation after just five episodes, which originally had six episodes planned. 

In honor of the absurd, short-lived series that sparked tons of attention, here is a recap of the most bizarre moments that took place in “The Idol.”

Tedros threatens a Valentino sales worker

One of the heavily “memed” parts of the show was this moment in the series’ third episode, “Daybreak.” Jocelyn's exciting shopping day at an empty Valentino store took a turn when Tedros got weary of a sales associate who kept staring at the pop star. An angry and jealous Tedros decided to confront said worker, threatening to “curb stomp” him and drag him down Rodeo Drive. What’s more bizarre about this moment is Tesfaye’s acting, as his lines consisted heavily of the f-word while his short stature and rat tail hairstyle made him seem way less intimidating than he was supposed to.

Tedros tortures Xander with a shock collar

Things definitely took a shocking turn when Tedros found out that side character Xander, played by musician Troye Sivan, could sing. Tedros then brings out the shock collar on Xander to learn that Jocelyn’s mother forced him to sign a contract, prohibiting him from singing professionally. And that wasn’t the only truth that came out of Xander’s mouth, as he went on to say that Jocelyn has control over anyone and everyone. Saying so, gave him more painful shocks and the scene just kept getting more and more painful to watch.

Tedros abuses Jocelyn with a hairbrush

Just after Jocelyn had shared a heartbreaking story about how her mother would abuse her with a hairbrush, Tedros decided that he would ask Jocelyn to let him hit her with a hairbrush soon after. To explain why he wanted to, he said that it would help her cope with that trauma and use it as potential “inspiration,” for her music career. Thankfully, Levinson spared viewers from actually seeing this horrific action, but you see Jocelyn scream and wail as Tedros hits her. What really ties this absurd moment together is Jocelyn saying to Tedros after the incident, “Thank you for taking care of me.”

All the sex scenes

Every sex scene was bizarre, and of course, there was an abundance of them. From the back of a driving convertible to the Valentino dressing room and the unforgettable first encounter where he suffocated her with her own robe, these were sex scenes that were just extremely cringeworthy to watch. The sexual encounter in the second episode was so racy that the internet rightfully turned it into a joke, which Tesfaye said was the “intention” of that scene. Essentially, the torture porn as a whole played a pivotal part in the show’s downfall, even if it was just “satire.”

Jocelyn’s ex-boyfriend Rob being falsely accused of sexual assault

As the show was coming to a close, they added this plot line to stir things up. However, it was a plot line that was completely unnecessary and abhorrent. Using an orchestrated, suggestive photo to dramatically destroy someone’s career was directly meant to give Tedros his inevitable downfall after Jocelyn realized it was his doing. But it felt like there were far better ways that the show could have given Tedros his timely demise, instead of using a false accusation of sexual assault.

The twist ending

In a twist that absolutely no one saw coming, Tedros finds out that the hairbrush that Jocelyn’s mother supposedly used on her was brand new. Meaning, that Jocelyn had completely made up everything about her past abuse and Tedros was the one betrayed, somehow. The twist ending tried to frame Jocelyn to be a whole mastermind, even though it doesn’t make any sense. It felt like a twist more focused on shock value because there wasn’t a glimpse of foreshadowing in sight.


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