During the month-long winter break, I found myself laying in bed most days, desperate for some form of entertainment that was not mindless scrolling through social media. Thankfully, I found a hilariously captivating new show on HBO Max — “The Sex Lives of College Girls.”
The risqué title intrigued me, so naturally, I binge-watched the show in what seemed like a day. The Sex Lives of College Girls follows four relatable freshmen through their first semester of college. The show creators, Mindy Kaling and Justin Noble, do an excellent job of balancing the girls’ newfound sexual freedom, while focusing on the other aspects of college life, including making new friends and learning to coexist with a wonderfully diverse group of people.
Their naivete and excitement for college made me feel seen, as I had experienced similar feelings when I first began school in the fall.
I found Kimberly, portrayed by Pauline Chalamet, the most relatable. Coming from a small town without what seems like an ounce of life experience, she finds her way through college, struggling and learning through her mistakes. Although tone-deaf at times, she remains loveable as she looks at the world with child-like wonder. Due to my similar lack of real life experience, I saw myself in her.
Although I see myself most in the starry-eyed innocence of Kimberly’s character, the show seems to encompass the different kinds of coming-of-age struggles that college students endure within each of the four girls.
Leighton, played by Reneé Rapp, is challenged this season to come to terms with her sexuality — after suppressing it due to her upbringing in a conservative household. Bela, portrayed by Amrit Kaur, learns to overcome sexism in a professional setting and demonstrates the courage of speaking out against sexual assault. Lastly, Whitney, played by Alyah Chanelle Scott, depicts the effects of a young girl who is groomed by an older man in a position of authority.
Along with the relatable characters, the show’s creators gently touch on issues that unfortunately coincide with seemingly all college campuses, while keeping the show lighthearted and comedic.
As the show progresses, conversations begin about sexual assault and gender, as well as discrimination based on race and sexual identity. The show’s creators demonstrate the incredible courage of raising awareness about the common problems found on college campuses, while holding the show in a comedic light.
As I lay there, binging episodes, I felt a close connection to the girls on my computer screen.
Peering into the screen, I saw four girls who worked hard to attend a prestigious school in the Northeast, only to realize that their hard academic work was only the beginning of their transition to adulthood. While they are terrified to make mistakes, they make them regularly, and learn from each misstep while bonding over their shared experiences.
Although many people have not experienced the same gendered problems the girls did throughout the season, everyone who has been to college can peer into the lives of each of the characters and find a bit of themselves and laugh at their mistakes.
Unfortunately, the first season ended after only 10 episodes. However, I am looking forward to the second season, as I expect as much laughter and relatable heartfelt conversation starters as the first season entailed.