‘The Idol’ Premiere: Breaking Down the Most Explicit Moments

SPOILER ALERT: This story contains spoilers from the series premiere of “The Idol,” now steaming on Max.

It’s the show everyone’s been waiting for. HBO’s “The Idol,” led by Lily-Rose Depp and Abel “the Weeknd” Tesfaye, premiered on Sunday night and — to no one’s surprise — was filled with explicit moments. The series has been surrounded in controversy following reshoots and reports of toxic behavior by creator Sam Levinson but the cast has stood by the director.

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“Never have I felt more supported or respected in a creative space, my input and opinions more valued,” Rose-Depp shared in a March statement following accusations. “Working with Sam is a true collaboration in every way — it matters to him, more than anything, not only what his actors think about the work, but how we feel performing it. He hires people whose work he esteems and has always created an environment in which I felt seen, heard, and appreciated.”

Depp portrays pop star Jocelyn, who is filming a music video when the pilot begins. She is working on a comeback after choosing to cancel her tour following her mother’s death — and may be on the edge of a breakdown. Not to worry, however, as one of her handlers notes, “mental illness is sexy.” Apparently, that’s why she’s wearing a hospital bracelet for her cover art. (There’s also an odd comparison to Simone Biles, since she too, prioritized her mental health.)

During the shoot, she tells the photographer she wants to go completely topless but because of her rider, she’s unable to. Her manager (Hank Azaria) finds a solution by locking the intimacy coordinator in the bathroom and paying a staffer $5,000 to keep the door locked.

While appearing confident for her team, it’s clear she’s struggling while filming; but team watching is proud, comparing her to Britney Spears. Meanwhile, everyone finds out that a photo of her has leaked online — a selfie she took with her face covered in bodily fluids.

After finding out about it, she’s gets upset but notes that it could be worse and goes to a club to unwind. There, she meets club owner Tedros (Tesfaye) — a modern-day cult leader, who she has a hallway hookup with. After she goes home, she masturbates, while choking herself.

The next day, she tells her best friend and assistant Leia (Rachel Sennott) the same thing she told Tedros — she isn’t liking her new music and in fact, is embarrassed by it. She also says that she’s interested in Tedros, but Leia is disgusted and says he’s “rapey.” Jocelyn responds, “I kinda like that about him.”

With that, she invites him over and lets him know she’s unhappy with how the album is coming. Down in her studio, she plays him her upcoming song, which she feels is superficial. He volunteers to help, telling her — while rubbing an ice cube up her leg — that she needs to “sing it like you know how to fuck.”

He then tells her to trust him; says she doesn’t, but allows him to take her robe off and wrap it fully around her head. To secure it, he uses the belt and wraps it around her neck, and she begins to choke. He tells her not to be scared as he takes out a knife, poking a hole in the mouth so she can finally breathe.

With that, he says, “Now you can sing.”

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