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“The Idol:” Hollywood’s unrealistic and over-romanticized fantasy into female fame

Original released photos
Original released photos

When the television series “The Idol” starring Lily-Rose Depp, Abel ‘The Weeknd’ Tesfaye and Jennie Kim that was announced, people on social media said it would be the next series to shock the web.

This series focuses on famous popstar Joslyn (Depp) and her struggles within the industry while she falls into a complex relationship with a self proclaimed life coach/cult leader Tedros (Tesfaye).

Originally directed by Amy Seimetz, the show was pitched as an inside look into the life of a female pop star and the struggles she experiences within the industry. Photos were released behind the scenes of the first production, depicting the show as a 2000s pop culture nostalgia.Fans were upset after seeing the photos of the original set and then seeing the final product and how different the outcome was.

Due to creative differences, Seimetz left production in the middle of filming and director Sam Levinson became the director. Levinson produced “The Idol” alongside supporting actor Tesfaye. After Levinson gained control, the show became a dark, masochistic, misogynistic fantasy. Although this may not have been the intention, after seeing the series and the photos of the original set, it’s impossible to ignore the significant differences.

In Levinson’s series, the first episode starts off by illustrating Joslyn (Depp) in a photoshoot, while the audience simultaneously sees her management team dealing with an explicit leaked photo of her. This depiction alludes to her public persona that they push throughout the show, but as the episodes progress Joslyn falls into a relationship with Tedros (Tesfaye), a manipulative sociopath who is essentially a cult leader. Tedros believes that he can elevate Joslyn’s performance/music by breaking her physically and mentally, then putting her back together so that she feels loyal to him.

During this entire process, other artists Tedro brainwashed move into Joslyn’s house, and essentially he builds a cult by utilizing Joslyn’s house along with her wealth and his methods. The show depicts an oversexualized and hyper-romanticized fantasy of abuse without really any plot, character arc or growth.

Levinson has a distinctive cinematic touch which has been seen in his other works, and the cinematography in “The Idol” added significant effects to the series. The shots felt invasive and were one of the only things that portrayed the show in the right manner. It felt exploitative almost like the camera was hidden, and the audience was looking at something that they shouldn’t be.

Tesfaye’s performance was highly anticipated as this was his acting debut, but,unfortunately, he did not meet expectations. Tesfayes delivery was over preformative and un authentic. The acting was also a mix of just horrible writing and cringe delivery. Depp, on the other hand, met my expectations in terms of acting– she felt raw and authentic.

Tesfaye produced the music for the show. The sound was unique and it did add a lot to the show. The music set a dark tone throughout the whole show that actually fit nicely within the whole show. However, even in the production of the music, the lyrics were vulgar and unnecessary.

In the middle of the serie’s release, viewers were informed that the first season was cut short to five episodes instead of six. The cut down on episodes had fans wondering if it was because of the extreme controversy from critics. Producers said it was only because the story needed five episodes. This absurdity left audiences completely confused about the end where they did a massive plot twist painting Joslyn as the villain all along which discredited all that she went through and didn’t make sense.

In conclusion, “The Idol” is an obscured look into fame, money and morals or lack thereof that invalidates all viewers that have gone through intensive mental and physical abuse. It felt like I was watching someone mansplain their disturbing and deranged fantasy that started as one thought and turned into a five episode series.

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