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‘The Sex Lives of College Girls’ Season 2 review: Goes beyond sex to reveal what’s underneath

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As winter hits Essex College, the location of Mindy Kaling and Justin Noble’s comedy The Sex Lives of College Girls, our four protagonists remain just as raunchy as ever, but with a twist. If season one used sex to explore power dynamics, season two uses it as a medium through which these young women explore themselves. While having a lot of fun, of course.

In this season, the women waste no time disrobing, be it to participate in a nearly-naked winter run or to sell their eggs, as was the case with Kimberly (Pauline Chalamet). After losing her scholarship, Kimberly, who is clearly the most financially strapped of her roommates, is stuck: despite Leighton’s (Reneé Rapp) best efforts to help her finesse a loan, Kimberly still needs her oblivious parents’ co-sign. When writing subtitles for a Love Island-esque show fails, Kimberly decides to sell her eggs, realising that she “might be able to fix [her] problem with something that’s in [her] body. That seems cool and, like, feminist.” With Leighton by her side, injecting her hormones and driving her to her surgery, Kimberly finds a way to stay in Essex, develop a closer bond with Leighton, and even slide into bed with her sexy neighbour. Despite these advantages, her choice never comes off as ideal, which is an important point considering how many college students are targeted for egg donation.

‘The Sex Lives of College Girls’ Season 2

Creators: Mindy Kaling and Justin Noble

Cast: Pauline Chalamet, Amrit Kaur, Renee Rapp, Alyah Chanelle Scott and Gavin Leatherwood

No. of episodes: 10

Storyline: Follows the lives, loves, and laughs of four college roommates as they continue their freshman year at New England’s prestigious Essex College

This ability to weave serious issues with comedy is perhaps the show’s greatest strength. While Leighton supports Kimberly, she gets the support she needs from Kimberly as well. After being closeted in season one, Leighton embraces her sexuality, coming out to her other roommates and eventually to her father. Leighton is formal and composed, but unlike in season one, she is far more comfortable with leaning on her friends as she processes casual dating (and the accompanying chlamydia), her insecurities as she tries to impress a love interest, and what’s really important to her: being a part of the Kappa sorority, or standing up to homophobic comments. As the season progresses, we see Leighton, who easily could have continued to be a “rich, snobby, New Yorker,” evolve into someone who is still as chic as ever, but far less judgemental of other people, but more importantly, herself.

Meanwhile, as soccer season ends, Whitney (Alyah Chanelle Scott) realises that beyond the sport, she hasn’t really explored her other interests. While her teammates disperse to pursue other activities, Whitney tries and fails to do the same. Newly single, hurting and insecure, Whitney focuses her attention on a biochemistry class she accompanies Bela (Amrit Kaur) to, where she discovers that science just might be her “thing.” Surprising Bela, her mother and most of all, herself, Whitney pushes herself to excel at one of Essex’s hardest classes. But Whitney’s journey isn’t limited to her academic growth. Her biochem teaching assistant repeatedly confuses her with the only other Black woman in the class, and when confronted, he acts as though he is the victim. Her cocky classmate goes from underestimating her, to hooking up with her, to thinking he’s dating her in the most painfully cringey way.

While the other three roommates see their characters grow, Bela finds herself making the “wrong” choices, in her fight to get to the top. After launching The Foxy, the all-women-run competitor to The Catullan, Essex’s renowned comedy magazine, Bela’s competitive nature consumes her, reflexing into panic mode when things don’t go her way. When The Foxy doesn’t do as well as she hoped, she runs to Eric, the editor of The Catullan who briefly becomes her boyfriend, asking for her place back. When she introduces Eric to a famous late-night comedian who she guides during his visit to campus, she’s overcome with the fear that he could get an internship instead of her, leading to her sleeping with the comedian (who tells his staff about it but does not give her a job), and losing Eric. This pressure to succeed also leads to Bela disregarding the work of her fellow Foxy colleagues, forcing them to take a backseat while she soaks in the limelight of a feature in a popular, influential magazine. The breaking point comes when another student, who greatly admires Bela, asks her for feedback, only for Bela to suggest she quit comedy altogether. Yet, in true Kaling style, despite her flaws, it’s hard to not keep rooting for Bela. There is an underlying understanding of where she is coming from and why she is compelled to push others to the side to claw her way to the top in a male-dominated world. Still, everyone, viewer and character alike, has a breaking point.

The finale ends up being a sort of exposition of just how much each character has grown in their own ways, and what kinds of choices each character is okay with making if that is what they believe is best for them. It’s not uncommon for people to grow out of their freshman-year friends. The roommate selection process ends up revealing that our quartet aren’t as solid as we think.

Continuing season one’s seamless ability to weave together heavy issues, comedy, and just the right amount of GenZ flair, Kaling and Noble give viewers a taste of the experiences and choices young women are confronted with, with a side of hunky frat boys and FOMO.

‘The Sex Lives of College Girls’ is currently streaming on Amazon Prime Video



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