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Sex Lives of College Girls Season Review: HBO Max’s Hit Series Experiences a Sophomore Slump

Photograph by Courtesy of HBO Max

The Sex Lives of College Girls is back to HBO Max for its second season. After watching “Winter is Coming” and “Frat Problems,” it becomes clear that the show should have ended after its first 10 episodes. While college life is multidimensional and complicated, the show’s title limits the scope to college sex and the pursuit of it.

Since everyone in the show is perpetually horny, every character makes bad decisions because their libido overrides their frontal lobe. For example, Kimberley (Pauline Chalamet, The King of Staten Island) narrowly avoided being kicked out of Essex College because she was more interested in sex with Nico (Gavin Leatherwood, Chilling Adventures of Sabrina). However, everyone at Essex now hates her and her roommates because they handed over the exams the Theta fraternity used to cheat. To top it off, Kimberley lost her scholarship and can no longer afford to stay, yet cannot find a suitable solution that doesn’t require telling her parents the truth. Rather than introducing a viable way for Kimberley to work off her increased tuition, the writers intend to drag this storyline out for as long as possible, even though it’s no longer compelling.

Whitney (Alyah Chanelle Scott, Reboot) and Bela (Amrit Kaur, The Heatwave) go through their own troubles, but they are minor plot points. Mostly, they are about Whitney not knowing what to do outside of the soccer season and Bela’s difficulty in finding funny female writers for the launch of her humor magazine. Of course, they’re still getting laid when they are not searching for a path forward. If the non-sex-related stories were developed more, the series might be a fairly accurate depiction of college life.

The biggest missed opportunity in The Sex Lives of College Girls is Leighton (Reneé Rapp, Broadway Whodunit: Murder at Montgomery Manor). Her family is rich and expects her to marry an equally wealthy husband, except that is unlikely to happen if Leighton values her happiness over her family’s desires. Leighton is a lesbian, who has been closeted up until the end of last season. While her family knows nothing about her attraction to women, Leighton works up her courage to come out first to Kimberley, then to Whitney and Bela, and finally to the entire Essex campus when she openly makes out with a woman.

The Sex Lives of College Girls is Sex and the City with 20-year-olds women instead of 30-somethings. Like Sex and the City, which has the sequel series And Just Like That…, the show should have quit while it was ahead. The first season’s 10 episodes were well-written and created interesting characters. The first two episodes of Season 2 turn Kimberley into an unlikeable character and her roommates into Kimberley’s lackeys.

As it did with the show’s first season, HBO Max is releasing 2 episodes per week for 5 weeks. This season may improve, but The Sex Lives of College Girls Season 2 should be moved to the bottom of your “To-Watch” list.

The Sex Lives of College Girls Season 2 is now streaming on HBO MAX.


Allison Lips
Allison Lips
Anglophile, Rockabilly, Pompadour lover, TV and Music Critic


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