Here's Everything You Need To Know About Mindy Kaling’s New HBO Comedy That Is Being Filmed Right On UCLA’s Campus

If you have been walking around campus recently, you may have noticed some new filming going on. UCLA’s campus is no stranger to Hollywood as it has served as a set to iconic productions from Gilmore Girls to Legally Blonde. Now, the upcoming HBO Max show entitled The Sex Lives of College Girls is the latest production to be added to the list. 

Royce Hall Original photo by Audrey Choong

According to Variety’s Will Thorne, the show has been picked up for 13 episodes and is being co-produced by Mindy Kaling. Deadline's Alexandra Del Rosario has followed the show since it was announced. She states Kaling is not only producing, but also writing the script with her co-writer, Justin Noble. The show features four roommates at Essex College who will be played by Pauline Chalamet, Amrit Kaur, Renée Rapp, and Alyah Chanelle Scott. Each girl comes from different stories and socioeconomic backgrounds, and will collide together to create characters HBO describes as “sexually active college girls [who] are equal parts of lovable and infuriating.”

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Deadline breaks down what we know so far about each character. Pauline Chalamet plays a college freshman named Kimberly. Kimberly is from the humble Arizona suburbs and was an academic rockstar in high school, graduating as valedictorian. She is ready for college academics, but she doesn't know if she is ready for the social life. Doing a quick Google search of Chalamet, one will see she is an actress most well known for her role in The King of Staten Island, as well as being the sister of one of Hollywood’s biggest heartthrobs, Timothée Chalamet. 

The series is also a notable role for Amrit Kaur who has previously both produced shows and acted in smaller roles. Kaur’s character is named Bela. Like Kimberly, Bela is a college freshman, but she is more social. She is known for liking comedy and being upfront with her sex-positive opinions. 

Renée Rapp is leaving the stage for film. The actress is known for playing Regina George in the Broadway production of Mean Girls. Rapp’s character, Leighton, is a senior and legacy student from New York City’s Upper East Side. Like Regina George, Leighton comes from an affluent family and is perceived as blunt, entitled, and judgemental. 

Finally, Alyah Chanelle Scott, a small actress most known for her role in Book of Mormon and the short film “Walk Off,” will be playing a girl named Whitney. Whitney is a confident student athlete who has a dry sense of humor. Like Leighton, she also comes from a prominent family, as she is the daughter of one of America’s most prominent Black senators. 

The actresses were announced in fall 2020, and excitement was added when 2000s Disney Channel child star Dylan Sprouse was announced to join the cast this past December. According to Deadline, not much is known about his character except the fact that his name is Nico, and he is a junior at Essex College. Nonetheless, everyone is excited to see Sprouse’s return to TV acting after almost a decade-long break. 

Camera filming a scene Photo by Donald Tong from Pexels

As a female college student, I am intrigued by the show and interested to watch it upon its release. The portrayal of college girls in the media usually follows stereotypes such as “the nerd” or “the rich girl who spends daddy’s money.” Based on the brief character descriptions we have so far, it appears the series may fall towards these stereotypes. However, there is hope and potential for Kaling and Nobel’s characters to be more complex than they seem. The show also provides an opportunity for a celebration of diversity, not only because it is being co-written and produced by an Indian American, but also because two of the four main girls are women of color. I wonder if the show is going to approach themes of race relations within the college setting, for it definitely is a relevant topic, and it would be interesting to see how they unpack it. Either way, I’ll find myself on the couch with my roommates in front of the TV when the show is released. 

I’m not the only one who has been querying about the show. Upon research, I found multiple comments of dialogue and disagreement. Some people are very excited and looking forward to Kaling’s newest project after enjoying her hit Netflix series, Never Have I Ever, this past summer. On the opposite end of the spectrum, other people are disgusted that the co-writer and co-producer are middle-aged white men. There is a fear that their influence will take away from the female perspective and create a gross hyper-sexualization of college women. 

Without a confirmed release date, the show is already creating quite a dialogue. Only time will tell to see how Kaling and her peers’ visions come together. Until then, take a walk on campus and keep an eye out for Dylan Sprouse.