The Idol Episode 2 Lily Rose Depp music video
ManOfTheCenturyMovie Tv ‘The Idol’ episode 2 throws good money after bad

‘The Idol’ episode 2 throws good money after bad

The Idol Episode 2 Lily Rose Depp music video

(Editor’s Note: The following review contains spoilers for “The Idol” Episode 2, “Double Fantasy.”)

Nikki (Jane Adams) doesn’t give the impression that she likes being “called up”. Wearily trudging through her client’s mansion, past two framed records lying right against the barren wall, Nikki plops down beside her fellow handlers and immediately begins to lament: why would Jocelyn (Lily Rose-Depp) change the single her? “And the sound we created for her?” Is her mother dead? Who cares! “Mothers die”.

Meanwhile, Jocelyn is waiting upstairs. Nervous about the remix she made with Tedros Tedros (Able “The Weeknd” Tesfaye), she texts him, seeking some support before taking on the looters downstairs. “I’ve tried that before,” she types. “I’ll call you later,” she admits.

The version of “World Class Sinner” heard by his team is certainly not of high quality. Extra breathing room and with a jagged melody, it’s less suited for a car stereo or night club than playing in private while pleasuring yourself – which is exactly what Jocelyn does once management leaves. But at the moment, it’s no surprise that her unsuitable song of hers is met with silence. What are four pseudo-adults supposed to say when a tune meant to relaunch a pop star’s career has been turned into a fantasy mix for one listener and one listener only? (No, I don’t think Tedros Tedros legitimately likes this cut either.)

Nikki knows what to say. After dropping a bunch of forced exposition about Jocelyn’s recent breakdown, she cries out, “You’re going to sit here and tell me, ‘It’s not me. I don’t like’? Well that’s a shame. It’s too fucking late. That train has left the station, and whether you like it or not, you’re going to make that journey!

From there, let’s see what “the rush” will do to Jocelyn. She doesn’t touch the healthy meal prepared by her private chef. She doesn’t react when she scrolls through the leaked photo of her on Twitter. She logs out of production meetings and combs her hair with the force of a Bagglyport stylist. When it’s time to perform—to record the music video for the song she hates—she can’t stay focused. Between being criticized by Tedros Tedros and mourning her mother’s death (not to mention ending her career), Jocelyn is emotionally drained and falling apart physically, all from a single she doesn’t believe in and people of which he is starting to distrust.

It’s obvious how anyone in such a state could fall victim to a parasite like Tedros Tedros, but where “Double Fantasy” falls apart isn’t in convincing us of Jocelyn’s vulnerability; she’s about getting us to care. Nobody wants Jocelyn to suffer. No one wants to see people exploited and abused, but it’s clear that’s what we’re being asked to watch anyway.

“The Idol,” after two episodes, is selling like a shipwreck. She’s asking the audience to stare in amazed horror (with the occasional awkward chuckle) as this woman is destroyed—first by an industry eager to work her to the bone, then by a club owner ready to prey on the emotions of she. Whether it’s clarifying how fans treat pop stars, or how Hollywood creates them, or something else is still too vague to pin down. All that is apparent is that the loop she’s in is going nowhere, certainly not for Jocelyn, and so far, not even for moviegoers.

Jane Adams in “The Idol”Eddie Chen

Just look at Nikki. It seems like she’s destined to be a villain equal to Tedros Tedros (whose full name is one of the most boring and stupid creative choices ever), but she’s arguably the lesser of two evils. “The Idol” loves blunt metaphors, and it’s clear from the episodic structure and all the crosscutting that writer-director Sam Levinson wants to juxtapose what Nikki is doing to Jocelyn with what Tedros Tedros is doing to her. One is cheeky, the other restrained; one is always poised, the other never there when he’s needed; one is emotionally cold, the other too hot. But apart from Tesfaye’s charismatic portrayal that works against this latest contradiction, Episode 2 also works against his own confrontation.

Don’t get me wrong: Nikki is a terrible human being. She’s still pissed at Jocelyn about the refunded concert tickets and the canceled tour. You have no sympathy for a grieving daughter. Today she makes fun of Jocelyn’s mental health issues, when yesterday she was exploiting them for a “sexy” photo shoot. Tomorrow she may abandon Jocelyn altogether – for Dyanne, the “better” dancer. Nikki is a bad person™ and there is so much time and effort put into painting her that way, so…why am I on her side this week?

One simple reason is that I understand where it’s coming from. Nikki may be acting out of self-interest, but she’s still offering Jocelyn the safest path forward. Rather than risk ruin with an unlistenable remix, she pushes for easy success. Yes, the new cut of ‘World Class Sinner’ is what the pop star thinks she’s into right now, but she’s not good music. This is evident only by listening to him, and it is even more evident if he takes into account his rat-tailed collaborator. The original cut isn’t good either, and Nikki knows it, but she also knows she’s going to sell. She will rack up plays and back an album full of “huge fucking hits.” Success will take the pressure off Jocelyn, which in turn will help Jocelyn recover.

Time off isn’t an option for Jocelyn right now, and “The Idol” could have used the episode 2 story to blame Nikki for driving the pop star crazy. But is not so. The disastrous music video shoot is largely framed as Jocelyn’s fault. She is too perfectionist and too focused on the wrong things. “World Class Sinner” is a bad song and the video is a bad idea. (Dancing in a strip club? Is that all? Is this the whole plan?) No matter how well Jocelyn moves, she can’t make sweet lemonade out of spoiled lemons, and Nikki seems to know it. She’s fine with the first shoot and ready to wrap long before Jocelyn. She knows spending any more time on this is just throwing money after money.

Did you see the puppets in Tedros Tedros’ house or were you too distracted by Isaac (Moses Sumney) pushing on command? It doesn’t matter, since the club owner’s demeanor is already so controlling, but that scene opens right after Jocelyn’s bloody feet force the video footage to pause. If Nikki (or anyone, really) had asked her to move on, to get over her pain, then all that time spent watching her suffer might have served a purpose. There would have been parallels between Hollywood’s abuse of Jocelyn and Tedros Tedros’ abuse of Jocelyn. But as it stands, the abuse seems rooted within the star herself, and any guilt or narrative conflict falls by the wayside.

Would Jocelyn be better off without Nikki and Tedros Tedros? Absolutely. Could “The Idol” be holding this discussion in the coming weeks? Maybe, but it’s hard to say. For now, we’re just watching a woman get beaten up at work and at home. How much more can he bear? And how much longer can we expect to stare at the train wreck?

Grade: D+

“The Idol” airs new episodes Sundays at 9 p.m. ET on HBO and Max.

Related Post