Screengrab from 'The Idol,' HBO.
The Weeknd HBO Show ‘The Idol’ Called ‘Toxic,’ Gets Poor Reviews
Created in part by The Weeknd, 'The Idol' is getting poor reviews for its graphic sexual content and bland storytelling.
HBO is facing the wrath of critics of the new show, The Idol. Although the show, starring The Weeknd neé Abel Tesfaye and Lily Rose-Depp, is slated to debut on June 4, the first two episodes of The Idol made a world premiere at Cannes Film Festival earlier this week. Created by Tesfaye alongside Sam Levinson (Euphoria) and Reza Fahim, an overwhelming amount of negative reviews have landed the show with a current score of 17% on Rotten Tomatoes. Initially, the show debuted with a 9% score.
In The Idol, Tefaye plays cult leader Tedros, who becomes a love interest of a rising pop vocalist Jocelyn, played by Lily-Rose Depp. The story begins when Jocelyn’s career experiences a slump, initiating a complicated relationship between her and Tedros.
But it appears that early viewers weren’t sold on the plot. Some critics have panned the series for reportedly glorifying "rape culture" with a detailed emphasis on “torture porn.” However, Collider shared that the show’s sexual nature didn’t make up for a lack of storyline. "What Levinson perceives as provocative and subversive is rather underwhelming. How can a show with so much nudity, sex, and eroticism be so bland?" the publication said in a review.
In March, Rolling Stone published an exposé of The Idol and its much-delayed premiere because of behind-the-scenes troubles, also revealing twisted scenes, some which ultimately didn’t make the show. The publication followed up with another review, calling the show “nasty” and “brutish” and warning viewers that it is “way, way worse than you’d have anticipated.”
The Weeknd clapped back to Rolling Stone’s report from March in a tweet, also calling the article “ridiculous” in an interview with Vanity Fair. “I mean, this isn’t a secret. Hollywood is a dark place. Which makes for great art,” he told VF.
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