The Sex Lives of College Girls

play article
Subscribers can listen to this article
Pauline Chalamet and Amrit Kaur in The Sex Lives of College Girls.
Pauline Chalamet and Amrit Kaur in The Sex Lives of College Girls.
Photo: Showmax


The Sex Lives of College Girls




4/5 Stars


This series follows the lives of four young women who have just entered Essex College as freshmen. From hormones to one-night stands, the girls' journey is packed with humour and wisdom.


The Sex Lives of College Girls follows four freshmen roommates as they navigate school, work and their new social scene. But from Mindy Kaling comes a series unlike most coming-of-age shows or comedy dramas set in those truly awkward college years. Bela, Kimberly, Whitney and Leighton are real; they're flawed, believably naïve, and, above all else, relatable. You can't help but love them, even when they slip up and fall flat on their face. Literally.

Let's start by talking a little about the characters. Bela (a lot like Mindy Kaling herself, who had to fight for a producer credit on The Office) dreams of becoming a comedy writer, pledging a club dominated by men and lying to her Indian parents, who've got dreams of their own for their daughter. Kimberly isn't as well off as her roommates and finds it challenging to balance school and work. Whitney is brilliant on the soccer team but has an inappropriate relationship with her coach. Leighton is battling with her sexuality and identity. Throw in raging hormones, and it's a party. A naked party. Literally.

Not only are the characters diverse, but the casting also is, and much like Mindy Kaling's done with Never Have I Ever – in fact, I can see Devi Vishwakumar graduating from Sherman Oaks High and attending Essex College – the actors look like ordinary college-going girls. By that, I mean they're beautiful, in that they look like you and me.

Amrit Kaur brings vibrant and energetic Bela to life; Pauline Chalamet's performance is probably the most underrated and understated as awkward and dwanky nerd Kimberly, while you'll love to hate cold Leighton played brilliantly by 22-year-old Reneé Rapp. Alyah Chanelle Scott does a fine job playing Whitney, the senator's daughter, but they could have given her more to work with. Both her character and storyline's been done – it's forgettable – and there are far greater themes they could've incorporated and paid more attention to.

That being said, the series does well in exploring themes like friendship, love, and of course, sex, but there are also more serious themes such as sexual assault. The show balances the comedy and drama in a way that doesn't force any of it on you. Much like the show itself, the themes aren't boisterous and loud; it leaves a quiet and subtle impact that leaves you wanting more. Hours later, you'll be thinking about gawky, "I'm excited to have a Black friend," Kimberly's conversation with Canaan, and genuinely hilarious and "super sex-positive — in theory, more than experience" Bela's HANDS on approach at networking to ensure she gets into the college's male-dominated comedy magazine.

Listen, there's a lot of sex. It's The Sex Lives of College Girls. Literally. But this series is different to other college-set shows that preceded it. And there's been a few. Mindy Kaling's come a long way from The Office and is producing comedy TV that's relatable, with a whole lot more substance and heart, and characters you'll love or fall in love with in all their clumsy, graceless glory.


We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For 14 free days, you can have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today. Thereafter you will be billed R75 per month. You can cancel anytime and if you cancel within 14 days you won't be billed. 
Subscribe to News24