Mindy Kaling is back with her latest tv comedy venture, The Sex Lives of College Girls, on HBO Max. Strap in, kids, Sex Lives is a hilarious dream college comedy. Co-created with Justin Noble, the show follows four freshman college roommates as they navigate campus life, sexuality, new friendships, social issues, and so much more together, filled to the brim with the pitch-perfect dialogue and hijinks that Mindy’s known for.
Let’s dive into the core four girls with their naturalistic comedic chemistry together.
Kimberly is the girl we all know who’s so naïve it gets her into trouble. She’s both endearing and deeply embarrassing. Played by Pauline Chalamet, Kimberly’s midwestern roots have created a very sheltered, initially reserved, goal-oriented young woman. She’s the type to have her entire life mapped out at age 9. Kimberly’s naivety serves as not only an endless supplier of hilariously awkward situations, but also as an opportunity to force her to come to terms with her blind spots and learn from them. I can already tell that Kimberly’s job at campus café is going to house some of my favorite scenes due to her dynamics with her charismatic coworkers. When her high school boyfriend comes for a visit, being sure to hide his toxic masculinity behind posturing like he’s actually a feminist, Kimberly discovers that her future isn’t quite as set in stone as she thought. She may have had a terrible first sexual experience, but Kimberly’s disarming charm will take her far this season. To say the least, I’m sure that her prominent Elf movie poster will be a good conversation starter.
Amrit Kaur’s Bela is confident, supportive to her friends, and beyond eager to expand her experiences. She’s been sexually sheltered, due to her upbringing, it appears, but Bela’s ready to go speedily into exploring herself sexually. Bela’s ready to embrace her Ben Affleck back tattoo era with open arms, hysterically sound-tracked by her own recorded voice to power her through the hard parts. Bela chose Essex College because of its notable comedy magazine, alums of which have gone on to do big things in the comedy world. Bela has romanticized the prospects of entering the comedy world so much that she never stopped to think about how harsh the environment could be for a woman. The staff claim that there’s only a select number of spots for females and, with a rightful rage, Bela’s determined to disprove that rule. Resolute to prove everyone wrong, she links her first comedy dream with her new sexually uninhibited path to entice the influential voting boys to get her on the staff. It works, Bela’s stoked, but the action definitely does walk the line for the audience of whether or not she’s leaning into her newly empowered sexuality or compromising herself to get ahead in her career. It’s not really for us to say, but I do wonder what her Seth Meyers poster thinks.
Reneé Rapp’s Leighton is introduced as the poshest of the group. She feels elitist, her Chanel perfume wafting through the screen, as she huffs in disinterest when meeting her roommates for the first time. It’s apparent that there’s more to Leighton than just her haughtiness, though. Her vulnerable moments are some of her most striking, even more than her fiery comebacks. Once she embraces her new friends, Leighton takes on an advice giver role for the girls quite easily. It’s unclear how much experience she’s actually mining from, but judging by her brief scenes with her brother Nico, there’s a lot more insecurity and vulnerability in her that she’s not comfortable releasing with the girls yet. Leighton thrives in her mysterious reputation, so it’s naturally surprising when she’s off on her own matching with females on a dating app. It suddenly clicks why she was avoiding hooking up with interested guys so far in the season. I am deeply looking forward to her journey of self-acceptance as the season moves forward.
Alyah Chanelle Scott’s Whitney is a strongminded, talented soccer player, lover in secret, and assured in herself young woman. Her mom’s a famous politician and it’s clearly made Whitney feel neglected. Being secondary to her mom’s job has definitely informed their slightly tense dynamic, especially since that’s what people acknowledge about Whitney first and foremost. It’s her designated identity, not the one she chose or created for herself. As a result, she focuses her attention on soccer and, simultaneously, hooking up with her assistant soccer coach. He seems sweet at first, in the sense that the power dynamic is uncomfortable, but it appears his intentions initially aren’t terrible. Well, that is until it’s revealed to Whitney that he’s been married the whole time. Headstrong Whitney does not want to be defined by anyone else’s standards, thus her path forward is going to be delightfully unpredictable.
I highlight these women individually, because, while they intertwine so beautifully, each of them brings a unique perspective to their college experience. Their individual talents working in, sometimes chaotic, harmony together is what makes the show such a success. It’s a very funny raunchy show, where the dynamics of the core group lend itself to endless messy situations. It’ll be exciting to see where the girls evolve to as humans and sexual beings.
Episodes of The Sex Lives of College Girls are on HBO Max.