HBO Max’s new comedy The Sex Lives of College Girls, from creators Mindy Kaling (Never Have I Ever) and Justin Noble (Brooklyn Nine-Nine), is bringing the hilariously hot-and-bothered antics of coeds to the forefront.
Thursday’s series premiere introduces us to Essex College, an elite school in Vermont that attracts a diverse quartet of unlikely freshmen roommates: Indian American Bela (played by Amrit Kaur), who is “super sex positive — in theory more than in experience”; wholesome Kimberly (Pauline Chalamet), who comes from a small Arizona town and has a high school boyfriend; soccer player Whitney (Alyah Chanelle Scott), aka the daughter of a well known senator (Trial & Error‘s Sherri Shepherd); and the posh Leighton (Reneé Rapp), who’s not actually supposed to be rooming with the other three girls. Leighton filled out the roommate application with her two best friends from high school, but because they’re “a–holes,” as her dad (Childrens Hospital‘s Rob Huebel) says, they screwed her over. One of her so-called BFFs tells Leighton that being friends with her felt like being friends with a stranger because it’s like she always has a wall up. (Well, with friends like these, can you blame her for not opening up?)
Leighton’s hot upperclassman brother Nico (Chilling Adventures of Sabrina‘s Gavin Leatherwood) convinces his sister to giver her new roomies a chance. So naturally, she buys them all iPads as her way of starting over. The girls further attempt to bond by hitting a frat party. But as they head inside, Leighton pretends to have forgotten her phone and says she’ll meet up with them later.
Meanwhile, Kimberly’s attempt at forgetting her woes — she just lost her virginity to her dolt of a boyfriend, then promptly got dumped by him — hits a snag when someone spills a drink on her. Nico notices that she’s leaving and offers her one of his shirts. He also points out that she was ogling him as he was running shirtless on move-in day, which a flustered Kimberly tries to play off.
Kimberly and Nico’s friendly exchange is broken up by Bela, who’s already made enemies on campus. In her quest to secure one of the few “female spots” on the school’s highly exclusive humor magazine (and then go on to become a TV comedy writer), she happily gives hand jobs to the male writers. (This is definitely not what Leighton meant when she told Bela “to make them like you.”) Bela gets one of the magazine spots, but some of those guys have girlfriends on staff, who now hate Bela.
As for Whitney, she’s hooking up with her soccer coach Dalton (James Morosini), who says troubling things like, “I like your skin tone.” Then while out for a run, Whitney bumps into him… and his wife! Whitney takes off before Dalton can see the tears in her eyes. At the frat party, she makes a beeline for Kimberly’s cafe coworker Canaan (Tell Me a Story‘s Christopher Meyer) and bluntly asks to see his room.
And where’d Leighton go? Well, she’s at a casino, scrolling through a dating app for a casual hookup… with another woman. With that, Leighton’s walls suddenly make so much sense, as does her lack of interest in Nico’s friend Cory, who clearly has the hots for her.
We also have to go back to Kimberly for a minute, who, after stepping in it with her new coworkers (“I’m excited to have a Black friend!”), redeems herself with an amazing rant. When a student dumps his trash on the floor in front of Canaan, Kimberly goes off on the jerk. “Some of us have to work these jobs because, even if we didn’t know it until we got here, we’re kind of poor,” she exclaims. “So yeah, maybe I don’t have the newest iPhone, and maybe I don’t know what couscous is, but I’m still a f–king person, and so is he! So treat us like we f–king matter, OK?!”
What did you think of The Sex Lives of College Girls? Grade the first episode, then hit the comments!