Fans — and hate-watchers — of the first, freaky season of HBO’s controversial “The Idol” said goodbye to the weird, controversial world inhabited by wannabe pop star Jocelyn (Lily-Rose Depp) and her creepy mentor, the rat-tail sporting Tedros (Abel “The Weeknd” Tesfaye), after the show’s fifth and final episode, “Jocelyn Forever.”
After Jocelyn struggling under ex-pimp/cult leader/star-maker Tedros — Tesfaye is a co-creator of the show, along with Sam Levinson (“Euphoria”) and Reza Fahim — last night was all about the character demonstrating her power.
With audiences dwindling for the show, which is said to have offered “the worst sex scene in history” during an earlier episode, we are finally given access to the badass pop diva lurking underneath, ready to strike with the same venom being poured into her by Tedros and company.
In the season finale, “Jocelyn Forever,” Jocelyn (Lily-Rose Depp) proves to Tedros and her team she’s the one in charge.HBO
Jocelyn, it turns out, is ruthless.
The shift in power balance is clear from the start — while everyone gathers at Jocelyn’s house for a tour meeting, a disheveled Tedros is kicked out of Jocelyn’s life, seemingly forever.
And why not? She has his singers. She has his twisted inspiration etched into her songs. She has record producer Mike Dean. Tedros has been drained of all his purpose, leaving him a battered, lost, in-need-of-a-perm loser.
To deal a final cutting blow, co-manager Chaim does what any person trying to ruin another person would do — he weaponizes the media, this time in the form of Vanity Fair reporter Talia (Hari Nef), promising her a career-making story that’s designed to destroy Tedros forever.
But while Jocelyn may have read Tedros the riot act, it soon becomes clear that he’s not going anywhere — even if others, like the double-crossed Dyanne, her also-aspiring assistant, are.
The Weeknd has received backlash from critics and viewers for the show he created with Sam Levinson and Reza Fahim.HBO
One minute, Tedros is toast; the next Jocelyn is confessing to her audience — her “angels” — that success isn’t going to mean much without him. As she whispers to Tedros that he’s hers forever, we finally see her for what she is — a master manipulator, seemingly trained by the best. Also: Was Jocelyn ever actually abused by her mother, as she claimed?
And so, the problematic pair lie, twist and extort, all the way to the bitter end.
The short series has been beset by controversy, losing more than 100,000 viewers following its premiere.
Its excessive and graphic displays of sex led Rolling Stone to describe the series as a “rape fantasy.”
British GQ gave the second episode the distinction of having the “worst sex scene in history.”
Intimacy coordinator Marci Liroff, who did not work on “The Idol,” told Variety she felt “betrayed” by HBO after seeing the premiere episode, where a fictional intimacy coordinator gets locked in the bathroom so Jocelyn can show her nipples at an album cover shoot.
Liroff pointed out the eyebrow-raising reversal from the network that made a groundbreaking move in 2018 by hiring Alicia Rodis, the first intimacy coordinator for a major US production, for “The Deuce.”
“The Idol” was projected to have six episodes, but a source claimed it “was never meant to be a long-running show,” wrapping after just five installments.HBO
Page Six previously reported that The Weeknd isn’t planning a second season of “The Idol.”
“This was never meant to be a long-running show, it was always … a limited series,” a source said.
“It is being misreported that a decision on a second season of The Idol has been determined. It has not, and we look forward to sharing the next episode with you Sunday night,” HBO’s publicity arm said in a tweet.
There were also rumors that the first season had been cut short, with initial announcements promising six episodes.
However, TVLine reported that a source said things changed “after Sam [Levinson] took over,” resulting in a story that only required five episodes.
While critics and viewers criticized “The Idol,” some actors on set praised each other or the care they received.HBO
Levinson created HBO’s hit drama series “Euphoria,” another show circling around betrayal, sex, trauma and drugs.
Recently, an eyewitness exclusively told Page Six the director ordered a “nonconsensual semen scene” shot for last Sunday’s episode, which did not make it to air.
Selena Gomez fans have recently been pointing out similarities between “The Idol” and the Disney-reared teen sensation. Gomez dated show co-creator and co-star Tesfaye briefly in 2017.
“Selena IS Jocelyn,” posited one TikTok user in a video that toggles between scenes in “The Idol” and points in pop star Selena Gomez’s career around the time she was dating Tesfaye.
“Ever since finding out the idol is probably just the weeknd’s selena gomez fanfic i haven’t been able to sleep,” one user tweeted.
“The Weeknd is a nasty person. The comparison between jocelyn and selena is scary and disrespectful. The idol lacks originality,” another sniped.
There is no announcement yet from HBO on if the series will be renewed for a second season.HBO
Amid controversy, support has come from the actors on set.
Depp praised The Weeknd for melting into his role. Da’Vine Joy Randolph, who plays Jocelyn’s manager, also stood up for the singer when she told Variety she trusted The Weeknd’s vision.
The Weeknd, who said he expected the negative reaction to “The Idol,” told GQ the lack of “sexy” was intentional in creating the graphic, second-episode sex scene said to have been horrifying for viewers to watch.
In an interview for Vogue Australia’s July cover story, Depp defended the show’s controversial scenes as “important,” saying we “we live in a highly sexualized world.”
Against other claims about the safety on set, Depp told the outlet, “I’ve never felt more respected and more safe on a set, honestly.”