Note: This story contains spoilers from the “The Idol”, Episode 1.
Weeks after The Idol caused a stir at the Cannes Film Festival when audiences saw the first two episodes of Euphoria creator Sam Levinson’s new series, viewers around the world were finally able to experience the debauchery firsthand when the HBO series made its debut.
Co-created and produced by Levinson, Abel “The Weeknd” Tesfaye and Reza Fahim, “The Idol” revolves around pop star Jocelyn (Lily-Rose Depp) as she tries to regain public attention after having a nervous breakdown on her last tour. Jocelyn relies on Tedros (Tesfaye), a nightclub owner with a sordid past, who leads her down the path of corruption.
After its Cannes debut, reviews and comments poured in about the show’s scandalous moments, which included sexual content and nudity that many found outrageous. Several critics who have shown the first two episodes called out the sex scenes as falling in male fantasies while Depp’s character is being disempowered.
As expected from the creator of “Euphoria,” the premiere of “The Idol” didn’t fall short in terms of the shocking moments that left us in suspense:
Chaim locked an intimacy coordinator in the bathroom for $5.000
The debut episode kicked off with a steamy photoshoot for Jocelyn’s new album cover, with the pop star dressed in a barely-tied satin gown. The set’s intimacy coordinator sets off alarm bells when Jocelyn bares her nipples – which goes against her nudity tab. While the intimacy coordinator told Jocelyn’s team that the nudity rider had to be obeyed to protect vulnerable individuals, her team poked fun at the suggestion, quipping, “She looks pretty vulnerable.” When the team learned that reversing the nudity rider meant the photo shoot would be disrupted and the day’s work lost, Jocelyn’s manager Chaim found a new solution: he locked the intimacy coordinator in the bathroom and offered a co-worker $5,000 to make sure he stayed there.
Jocelyn wore a hospital bracelet for the cover of her comeback album
In a nod to her recent nervous breakdown, Jocelyn donned a hospital bracelet alongside bottles of tequila for the photoshoot for her comeback album. While Xander (Troye Sivan) wondered if the bracelet might romanticize mental illness, record label exec Nikki (Jane Adams) assured him that “mental illness is sexy” — adding that for everyday consumers, mental illness can be a great way to start a relationship to build up to the pop princess.
Jocelyn choked while enjoying herself
For many viewers in Cannes, this was the moment that cemented the series’ scandalous status. After briefly meeting up with Tedros at his nightclub and returning home alone, Jocelyn choked herself while she was enjoying herself and appeared to be referring to Tedros grabbing her throat while they kissed on the dance floor.
jocelynVanity Fair interview
While speaking to a Vanity Fair journalist (Hari Nef) who was working on a profile of the pop star, Jocelyn told the reporter that “everybody has to be accountable to someone.” When asked who she was replying to, Jocelyn replied “God,” leaving the journalist stumped.
jocelyn I liked Tedros’ “Rape-y Vibe”
After Jocelyn and Tedros’ brief rendezvous at the club, Jocelyn told her assistant/best friend Leia (Rachel Sennott) that she wanted to invite Tedros over to the house. Leia winced slightly and told Jocelyn she thinks Tedros has a “rape mood,” to which Jocelyn replied that she kinda likes it.
Tedros greeted Leia with a kiss on the lips – and other spooky things
When Tedros arrived at Jocelyn’s house, Leia let him in while Jocelyn finished preparing. Tedros greets Leia with a kiss on the lips, which immediately unsettles Leia. She told him to make himself comfortable, and he oddly replied, “Are you sure?” He then continued acting odd while waiting for Jocelyn, sniffing around her furniture and practicing which line of “Hey, Angel.” he would try when he met Jocelyn.
Tedros choked Jocelyn with cloth and pulled out a knife
As Jocelyn and Tedros were flirting, drinking, and hearing her new song, Tedros told her she wasn’t singing like she “knows how to fuck” and offered her his help. Tedros then covered Jocelyn’s face with the red fabric of her robe and tied the waistband around her neck, revealing her features beneath the fabric. Tedros then pulled out a knife and told Jocelyn to get her mouth out from under the fabric and make a small opening so she could breathe through the mouth. “Now you can sing,” he said before the episode ended.
Bonus: Jocelyn has been compared to Simone Biles
While the HBO series lives up to its Britney Spears nods, we couldn’t have expected it. After explaining that Jocelyn’s team pushed ahead with her tour and refunded tickets during her meltdown, her team compared her to Olympic gymnast Simone Biles for prioritizing her mental health to prepare for her next professional chapter.
The Idol Episode 1 is now streaming on Max.