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Why You Should Watch “The Sex Lives Of College Girls”

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

The Sex Lives of College Girls is the perfect show for any college girl to enjoy, especially with its new Season Two release on HBO Max. When the show first came out, I binged it in a matter of days. I was absolutely hooked by its hilarious scenes and deeply relatable characters. Created by the beloved comedian and actress, Mindy Kaling, this show revolves around four college freshmen girls navigating their way through the drama, social struggles, and excitement of their first year at college.

Although they are a seemingly unconventional group of girls, Bela, Leighton, Kimberly, and Whitney all work perfectly together. Each character’s intrinsic qualities are captivating to follow along with and as a viewer, I found myself deeply connected to each one of them. Not only is the comedic writing of the show brilliant, but the casting is spot on. The lead actresses portray their characters in a way that makes us relate to and fall in love with them. The combination of diverse storylines, accurate representation of Gen-Z culture, and complex themes makes The Sex Lives of College Girls both an entertaining and thoughtful watch. 

Diverse Storylines & Relevance

Each primary character arc revolves around the navigation of college as an outsider, something almost anyone can relate to. Kaling takes classic teen drama tropes – the rich, perfect girl who actually has insecurities, the student-teacher promiscuous relationship, and the hot boy falling for an average, nerdy girl – and elevates them. By providing more depth and context to these relationships, these tropes are far from surface level. Leighton, a rich, privileged blonde girl, struggles to keep her “It Girl” image, but combats her own sexual identity issues. Kimberly, an intelligent student, explores her new romantic options while also struggling to maintain her financial scholarship. Whitney, a star athlete, grapples between the pressure of her Senator mother and keeping her intimate relationship with her coach a secret. Bela is perhaps the most enjoyable character to me, and most reminiscent of Kaling in her college life. She is an Indian-American, sex-positive, aspiring comedy writer who deals with issues of sexism as she tries to get into her school’s premier comedy writing club. 

Kaling takes these tropes beyond their superficial roots and modernizes them. By adding Gen-Z flare and a more dynamic plot than the classic high school rom-coms, The Sex Lives of College Girls is a show so many viewers can relate to, through both their emotions and experiences. The lead girls are not completely lovable; they are flawed, still mess up, and make dumb decisions, but they pull each other through it. Just like the majority of college girls, they are naive too, but it’s a fun, realistic watch to see them get through their problems. In a Rotten Tomatoes review, Nina Metz, writer for the Chicago Tribune, stated “Figuring out where you belong – or if you even want to belong – is a right of passage college will foist on you whether you like it or not. ‘The Sex Lives of College Girls’ gives that truism the right sort of fizzy kick.” Metz’s comment perfectly encapsulates the identity crisis we all experience when feeling like an outsider at specific moments through our lives. The show sheds light on so many issues young adult women endure, and it’s a perfect time for the story to continue with a second season.

Accurate Representation of Gen-Z College Girls

Many pop culture TV shows revolve around teenagers in high school – Riverdale, Euphoria, Pretty Little Liars, and Gossip Girl to name a few. Typically, these shows also dramatize, and often glamorize, the teenage high-school experience. The Sex Lives of College Girls is one of the first shows I have seen that accurately portrays the realism of young adults maneuvering through college in this day and age.

The actresses speak in a way that matches the vernacular and slang I use with my friends as a twenty-year-old. Rather than having forced, cringey, unnatural lines that Gen-Z girls would never say, these girls keep it current. This way, you know real Gen-Zers had a say in these lines, or that Kaling herself is an expert at Gen-Z lingo! Unlike many of the cheesy high school shows out there that glamorize intimate scenes, Kaling’s show accurately portrays sex in its real, most flawed ways; it’s awkward and sometimes even a bit embarrassing, but it’s a growing part of life. 

Kaling skillfully depicts the modern young adult girl in each of the four lead female characters. I feel that everyone can find a piece of them in Leighton, Bela, Kimberly, and Whitney. Along with Kaling’s other teen hit success show, Never Have I Ever, Kaling writes characters audiences can easily root for, even though they are flawed, and casts the perfect actors for them as well. 

It’s More Than Just Sex

Despite the raunchy title, this show doesn’t revolve around sex. Sure, Bela’s character may come across as sex-obsessed at times, as she is incredibly determined to lose her virginity to a good-looking guy with abs, but this show mainly focuses on the camaraderie and friendship between the four leading women. Each girl is quirky and unique in their own way, so you wouldn’t typically catch this odd group getting along together outside of their respective cliques. Yet, somehow they fit perfectly together. 

In his Rotten Tomatoes review, TV critic John Doyle stated, “The Sex Lives of College Girls is more about emotional feelings, fun and friendship, than it is about sex. The characters are fully drawn, and their antics offer rewarding entertainment.” Beyond sex, The Sex Lives of College Girls covers so many themes in one show, including race, sexuality, sexual harassment, and personal freedom. Each character goes through their own personal journey and I feel that any college girl can relate to at least some portion of it.

Some critiques of the show argue that the show covers too much, and tries to cram in too many themes in one. For some, it may feel forced that each character has a completely different character arc rooted in some classic tropes. Personally, I think Kaling balances these themes perfectly, giving light to each character and their storylines evenly. The Sex Lives of College Girls allows its audiences to find a deeper connection with each girl through its relevant, diverse storylines, accurately depicted Gen Z culture, and complex thematic elements. Kaling’s talent surely shows in this show, and I’m looking forward to seeing more when I get to watching season two.      

Hi! I’m Nina and I’m a third year student at UCSB. I am majoring in Communication and pursuing the Professional Writing minor. I am originally from San Diego, but I love Santa Barbara as my second home. In my free time I love going to the beach, playing the drums, and dancing.