Euphoria creator’s new show The Idol receives dreadful Rotten Tomatoes rating: ‘Trauma porn will never win’

Lily Rose Depp in The Idol

Sam Levinson’s controversial series The Idol is sitting at just 9 per cent on review-aggregator site Rotten Tomatoes – and Twitter has so many thoughts.

From the very first reports of Sam Levinson’s The Idol appearing on the lawless land of the internet, it seemed the sleazy Hollywood satire from the Euphoria creator was doomed.

The Idol drew hefty criticism and endless debate since pop star The Weeknd announced it was in development in 2021; claims of a “toxic” set and a storyline that amounts to nothing but “disturbing sexual content”, according to a Rolling Stone investigation, were just the start.

Following Lily Rose-Depp as vulnerable, up-and-coming pop star Jocelyn, and Abel Tesfaye (The Weeknd) as an exploitative modern-day cult leader who seems all too eager to steer her on a path to destruction, The Idol seems designed for maximum scandal over minimum actual substance.

The series recently premiered at Cannes Film Festival, but despite a reported five-minute standing ovation and a stellar cast of queer talent such as Dan Levy, Hari Nef and Troye Sivan, The Idol has not found quite so much favour on review-aggregator site Rotten Tomatoes.

The series’s critic score continues to sit at just 9% on the site at the time of reporting.

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One user wrote: “Trauma porn will never win,” seemingly referring to the show’s “constant sexual and financial exploitation” of Depp’s character.

Another particularly acerbic fan noted that “maybe the 5 min standing ovation was bc it ended” and a third turned their attention to The Weeknd’s co-creator of the series:

“We are really watching the downfall of Sam Levinson in real time.”

A lot of Twitter has focused on the Sam Levinson angle of The Idol‘s poor reception; the director’s time at the project’s helm has been plagued with accusations of “toxic work environment[s], last-minute script rewrites and budgets gone wild”.

A Rolling Stone report revealed a set in chaos, with “scripts… being changed daily and scenes… constantly being shot and reshot” – allegedly encouraged by Levinson.

It seems that that chaos may have translated into the final project:

The Idol flopping in real time it’s rlly over for you sam levinson,” one Twitter user wrote.

It’s not just Twitter that has reacted harshly to the show; full critic reviews have branded The Idol as “Nasty, brutish, [feels] much longer than it is, and way, way worse than you’d have anticipated,” (Rolling Stone) and “sleaze and torture porn” (The Evening Standard).

The Idol is set to release on HBO and Max on 4 June in the US and on Sky Atlantic and NOW TV in the UK.