i need to have a word with mindy kaling
unpacking my disappointment with season two of hbo's the sex lives of college girls
the feeling of one of your favorite television shows returning for their incoming season is a euphoric emotion. the unfortunate reality is that a lot of tv shows have been canceled this year (damn you, david zaslav), and the odds for a show’s renewal are fleeting.
although i’m grateful that hbo max renewed their fun college-centered coming-of-age show the sex lives of college girls (slocg) for a third season — a move they should’ve made for love life — i’ve got to be serious for a second and say that we all have to be feeling a bit…disappointed and confused with the pace and plotlines of this season.
spoilers ahead. i warned you!
some of the best parts of this season includes the increased screen time of its recurring characters, specifically lila and willow. i’m quick to root for women of color, especially if they’re queer or witty, and these two quickly won me over. i’ve also enjoyed the pairings of pals during the first half of this season, specifically leighton and whitney, bela and whitney, leighton and kimberly, and lila and bela.
i’m also so proud to see leighton’s character growth revolving around her sexuality, self, and friendships. go reneé rapp, go!
anyways, let’s dive into the icks of this season.
whitney needs more therapy and less white men in her life
following whitney’s dilemma with her sneaky link/former soccer coach in season one, i was truly hoping that this season would offer her character more self-love and a healthy relationship. well… at least we’re celebrating women in STEM!
after binge-watching episodes one to four during thanksgiving weekend, i immediately texted my friend ruth, who tweeted about the show teasing whitney’s new love interest. andrew, played by charlie hall aka julia louis-dreyfus’ nepo baby, is incredibly rude and condescending to whitney, so why the hell am i seeing them become romantically involved?
this led to ruth and i having a hour-long facetime call about a black woman’s experience at a predominantly white school, whitney’s lack of black friends, and the rushed breakup with canaan. the conclusion is: we’ve been stuck in a resurgence of interracial romance within television shows and movies, primarily the dastardly doings of mindy kaling, kenya barris, and shonda rhimes.
as ruth described it, i’m tired of seeing women of color succumb to this trope and fawn over an objectively not-nice white man. i haven’t watched mindy’s popular netflix show, never have i ever, or the mindy project, but i quickly learned that this isn’t miss mindy’s first time setting characters (with zero chemistry) up like this. i am a firm believer that the only chemistry that should’ve existed between whitney and that himbo should’ve been their chemistry homework! he doesn’t receive a pass just because he is the son of julia-louis dreyfus! what is going on?
as far as canaan, i can admit that the chemistry between him and whitney wasn’t the strongest, but i still wanted them together in the name of black love and wanting a win for my girl! i’m unsure what season three has in store for whitney and kimberly’s friendship, but haaniyah angus made a great point in this substack post (among their well-written review of the season) about the reality of freshman friendships not advancing far past the first year of college.
also, whitney is moving into a white sorority house? does the divine nine not exist as essex? when will whitney make more black friends? what about the black student union? i have so many questions.
in an interview with popsugar, alyah chanelle scott (who plays whitney) discussed the backlash toward canaan and whitney’s breakup and hopes that "homegirl catches a break." girl me too!
bela’s character demise
let’s talk about this tweet.
philip lewis, recently named black twitter’s source of the year, tweeted that the “real villain” of this season was bela, which is incredibly wrong. i do not condone teenage girls/young women being deemed the villain when they’re just a little off their rocker. blah, blah, blah, i support women’s wrongs. plus, we all know the real villain here is mindy kaling and the writers’ room!
among her infidelity, jealousy, and self-centered personality, bela didn’t have the best moments this season — homegirl really went through it during her freshman year. throughout the semester, bela comically acknowledged her poor grades, and by the season finale, viewers were met with several cliffhangers, including bela’s interest in transferring universities.
her character, who is quite literally a recent victim of sexual assault, needs a therapist, to address her SA and the misogyny that she endured during her time at the catullan. and unfortunately, it seems like she’s carried it throughout the foxy. with the way she treated her staff, jorja, and priya, these traits will hopefully lead her to a journey of self-reflection (and no blue-colored contacts) in season three.
kimberly’s chaotic love life and her questionable pull
after nico exited slocg, it was clear that this season was setting up jackson, the new transfer that resembles a younger buzzcut-era channing tatum, to be kimberly’s next hookup. i am once again asking, how can that girl can pull? their sexcapade was off to a rocky start, but it developed into a short-lived relationship prior to kimberly catching feelings for whitney’s ex-beau, canaan.
there are valid criticisms of canaan and whitney having an awkward relationship, but what about the room for growth and development? did we really have to see kimberly and canaan progress into a romance after the mild flirting that they did on the clock? what happened to friendship? is whitney going to beat her ass? how is kimberly even swooping all of these men?
and i’m sure lila foreshadowed how season three will be set up for kimberly: if she acted upon her crush on canaan, it would wreck her friend group, rooming situation, and work life. was it worth it?
the only productive thing that kimberly did this semester was lead a union protest for her staff at the coffee shop.