To help bring an entertaining look at the multi-layered quest for identity and self in HBO Max’s upcoming comedy The Sex Lives of College Girls, co-creators Mindy Kaling and Justin Noble enlisted a writing team that could speak to the main characters experiences.
“We stacked our writers room with truly incredible staff that is almost entirely female – all different ages, all different walks of life,” Noble said during the coming-of-age comedy’s TCA session on Wednesday. “They were all brilliant and so smart and funny and great and they contributed to each of these characters and such huge ways.”
The Sex Lives of College Girls stars Pauline Chalamet, Amrit Kaur, Renée Rapp and Alyah Chanelle Scott as four roommates at the the prestigious New England Essex College. A bundle of contradictions and hormones, these girls are equal parts lovable and infuriating as they live out their new, free lives on campus.
The new HBO Max series touts a diverse collection of characters, hailing from different racial, socio-economic and educational backgrounds. Noble shared that the process of putting together the series started with the writing staff sharing their own collegiate experiences.
“Just listening to [the writers’] experience and their thoughts on what these characters would do was – it made it kind of the easiest job in the world just to stand in the middle and say ‘Yes, I love what that person is saying,'” he said.
During the panel, Kaling shared that the series, though not auto-biographical, takes from her and Noble’s experiences at Dartmouth and Yale, respectively. Their love for comedy especially in their college days inspired Bela’s (Amrit Kaur) desire to join her campus comedy magazine – which gives rise to notable alumni and future comedy writers.
In addition to showcasing the leading character’s various (s)exploits and their growing sense of self, Kaling said she and Noble intended to showcase the “good and bad” of the college experience. While the characters participate in club sports, attend their first “naked parties” and take in the liberation of college life, they also face the more grounded and often serious parts of higher education, Kaling teased. Beyond gender and race quotas at a school publication, she shared that the series will also touch on the specter of of Title IX” and the socio-economic inequalities that some students may encounter while in college.
The panel came to a close with Noble and Kaling reflecting on the Covid-19 pandemic’s place in the series, both on-screen and behind the camera. While The Sex Lives of College Girls takes place in a “post-Covid” world, the creators revealed that viewers can expect the leading ladies to acknowledge the pandemic, and even joke about it.
Beyond the obvious obstacles the coronavirus pandemic posed to the series’ production, Noble said that the Covid-19 crisis allowed he and the rest of the creative team to find the ideal lead cast. The cast members first met over Zoom, but when they finally saw each other in person, the young women bonded almost instantly.
“Immediately, I knew it was going to be great,” Noble said.
HBO Max has also unveiled the first teaser for the coming-of-age comedy. Watch it above.
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