Well it wouldn't be a Monday morning if I didn't wake up early to write my stray thoughts on The Idol. The more I think about it, the more I feel like this might be the most perfect television show out there. A mere five episodes, perfect for any busy person to still have time to guzzle down...and guldurnit, every episode feels like something is happening in it...I wrote down the word "soapy" in my notes app — not referring to the lather-filled scene where Tedros Tedros tenderly shaves Jocelyn's legs in the bathtub (ladies, don't we all want a man to shave our legs? Jewel's "Intuition" starts to play softly in the background), but to the soap opera-esque feel of this mini season of TV, in which characters who seem duplicitous in one scene are vulnerable and pitiful the next and vice versa...shifting alliances, hidden depths revealed, all of it following a lush logic in this HOUSE OF DAMN MIRRORS that Jocelyn calls home!
Let's get into it.
- Opening and closing with a strangely jaunty The Weeknd cover of "Jealous Guy"...I wonder what Tedros is thinking and feeling right now...I wonder what is going through his character's mind...
- Yes, le male gaze is all over this show, to the point where Jocelyn's craftily art-directed ass seems like it's its own character. But we've got the female gaze here in full effect as well when Izaak does yoga (?) in the yard and Leia watches, drooling like her wisdom teeth were just removed.
- Okay so we have found out Tedros Tedros is not just a "bad man" but a man who has served time in federal prison for kidnapping and assault. Categorically this is not just a bad man but a very bad man indeed. I absolutely love Destiny's hardboiled undercover detective infiltration plotline. She is a fantastic character, not afraid to go full Joan Didion in Haight-Ashbury to get to the bottom of this weird little family (and Destiny snorted some drugs to keep her cover! Joan didn't even do acid, she waved off the offer of it, saying she was "unstable." Aren't we all, sweetie...), even giving Chloe some vocal lessons so her freak folk song about a lonely crocodile will sound better. I am excited to see if her diligence pays off and she is able to rescue Jocelyn from this publically orgasmic perma-party.
- Also WELCOME MIKE DEAN AND CONDOLENCE BONG! This crafter of pop smashes emerges from his fancy car in a cloud of marijuana smoke, holding a gigantic bong and a blunt in the same hand, not even able to take a step or two before needing to hit said bong in the driveway. This is pop music, this is what hits are made of. Music is 10% persistence and 90% marijuana.
- The Idol is just crushing it at showing the insanity and sheer awkwardness of being both a musician and a celebrity. Jocelyn is never alone. Even when she's intimately divulging her traumatic past to her fans on a livestream, she has an internal audience watching in the background. When she shoots her music video and regresses into a grief-stricken mess, she does so in front of an entire crew of workers. And dear lord, during this Mike Dean production session, she gets fingerbanged at the mic in front of everyone. Thank god she's blindfolded so she can't see the dudes around her rolling their eyes. Making music is vulnerable enough as it is — must she be brought to climax for an unusable vocal take?
- Matter of fact, why does every Jocelyn song sound like an outtake of an outtake of a The Weeknd song from 2011? Why does distorted synth continue to blerg out everywhere over this hookless nonsense? Mike Dean is not bringing his best to the mansion. This shit makes "World Class Sinner" sound like "Gimme More." I am always listening to music and saying "This is fine but it needs way more breathing on it."
- It's neat how even the innocent characters are getting popped, one by one, as parasitic Jocelyn bloodsuckers. Best friend / assistant Leia has a makeup line with Jocelyn. Her creative director Xander might have a The Little Mermaid-style deal with Jocelyn's abusive mom to hide his own vocal talent, and it's still unclear how complicit he was in hiding the abuse as well. Everyone wants a piece of Jocelyn, everyone benefits from her association, and everyone wants her to keep working because if she's working, they're working. In sweeps Tedros Tedros to cancel all her meetings. No wonder Jocelyn's obsessed. Don't we all want all our meetings canceled so we can focus on our creativity? How nice that someone cares enough about her to let her write and sing in peace. It's too bad the songs suck ASS. It's enough to make you want to call Jack Antonoff to pick up the pieces. Though Jack would probably be more interested in turning Chloe's crocodile rock into a wistful ballad with a muted drum machine beat.
- A huge curveball is pitched down the...mound...(? I'm not big on baseball) when Jocelyn finds out her meeting with Tedros was orchestrated by the dastardly dancer Dyanne, and texts her ex to come over. That is stone cold. I didn't think our girl had it in her. He arrives and first must battle an enervated Tedros, who challenges him to go shot for shot while Mike Dean plays Black Sabbath tunes on the piano, then embarrassingly starts dry heaving like an overstimulated cat, does some kung fu, then absconds to Jocelyn's Prince portrait to weep and lick his wounds while Jocelyn gets laid by someone who really knows her.
- I am obsessed with The Weeknd's performance. He has given himself so much freedom to be truly gross. Whackin' it in the dressing room, gagging after too many tequila shots, honking gobs of phlegm and cocaine from his sinus cavity down his throat, whispering horrific come-ons ("I want you at the edge of cumming") in his reedy voice...he is becoming more and more difficult to look at and I just think his performance is very brave.
- Jocelyn's life is in such shambles that when she gets an offer to travel on a movie studio's private plane for a press tour around the world for her ex's superhero flick, I want her to go. Get away from the madness, eat junket room cheese plates, watch Shark Tank on hotel television. The music she's making is bad, her backup dancer stole her single, the Clase Azul tequila is staining her teak pool furniture, and Tedros is doing too much blow. It's weird that all of this counts as "work" but never forget, pop stardom is labor and the enemy of every pop star is overworking.
- Just like last week, about halfway through the episode, it's Torture Time™. We even grabbed the remote to see how much of the episode was left. It was at 50% run time on the dot.
- I can't be the only one who is excited to see what is going to happen in the finale (other than, I assume, being 50% music biz satire and 50% torture)! Oh my god! Will Jocelyn get out from under the intoxicating spell of the incredibly sexy and alluring Tedros Tedros? Will the deceptive Xander exact his revenge for the cruel hiding of his light under a bushel? Will Dyanne's version of "World Class Sinner" contain enough breathing to top the charts? Will Jocelyn smoke more cigarettes? There weren't enough cigarettes in this episode. They should make one of the cigarettes record a song. And will Tedros take a goddamn nap? All this will hopefuly be revealed in the fifth and final episode of The Idol, a show I'm enjoying way more than I thought I would...