The Idol co-creators Sam Levinson and The Weeknd have spent the past few months insisting that their upcoming Max series is really a provocative piece of heightened commentary about the perils of fame rather than the self-indulgent piece of “torture porn” it’s been accused of being. The Idol’s latest trailer makes it seem like it might be a little from column A and quite a bit more from column B — all the while trying very hard to show you how willing it is to “go there.”
Sex is an important part of the twisted power dynamic that exists between The Idol’s spiraling superstar Jocelyn (Lily-Rose Depp), and Tedros (Abel Tesfaye), the manipulative, new age cult leader who comes into her life after she has a very public mental breakdown. Sexual attraction seems to be what draws first Tedros and Jocelyn together, and the new trailer details how the duo — as a unit — set themselves to infusing some of their personal erotic energy into her public persona as a performer.
All of this tracks with The Idol’s story about Jocelyn working to reestablish herself as America’s sexiest pop singer while being drawn further into (and probably financing) Tedros’ burgeoning cult of personality. But rather than exploring these ideas with any degree of nuance, The Idol’s newest trailer makes the show seem like it might err on the side of being risqué simply for the sake of titillating and / or scandalizing viewers.
The Idol premieres on June 4th.