top of page

Does Race Play A Role: The Hypocrisy in Critics' Reception of HBO's 'The Idol' and Netflix's 'YOU’

In the realm of television criticism, inconsistency often lurks beneath the surface. A glaring example of this is the contrasting reception of HBO's 'The Idol' and Netflix's 'YOU.' While 'YOU' continues to enjoy a warm embrace from critics, 'The Idol' has been met with a chilly reception. This discrepancy raises questions about the standards by which we judge television series and whether these standards are consistently applied.

Firstly, let's consider the premise of both shows. 'The Idol' revolves around an aspiring pop idol, Jocelyn, portrayed by Lily-Rose Depp, and her complex relationship with Tedros, a self-help guru and cult leader played by The Weeknd. On the other hand, 'YOU' follows Joe Goldberg, a charming yet deadly stalker and serial killer, brought to life by Penn Badgley.

Both series delve into dark themes and present morally ambiguous characters. Yet, it appears that critics are more forgiving of 'YOU,' despite its protagonist being a cold-blooded murderer. Meanwhile, 'The Idol' is criticized for its depiction of a manipulative cult leader and his complicated relationship with a young pop star.

The portrayal of Tedros in 'The Idol' is as nuanced as Joe's portrayal in 'YOU.' Both characters are flawed, complex, and engage in morally questionable actions. However, while Joe's character is celebrated for adding depth to 'YOU,' Tedros is seen as a liability to 'The Idol.' This discrepancy seems hypocritical, considering both characters provide their respective series with their central tension and intrigue.

Moreover, both series offer commentary on contemporary societal issues. 'The Idol' explores the dark side of fame, the manipulation within the music industry, and the allure of cult personalities. 'YOU,' on the other hand, delves into the dangers of obsession, the misuse of social media, and the ease with which appearances can deceive. Despite these similarities, critics seem to laud 'YOU' for its social commentary while dismissing 'The Idol' as pretentious or overwrought.

This differential treatment could be due to a variety of factors, including differing expectations, bias towards certain themes, or even the influence of popular opinion. However, it's essential to recognize this inconsistency and question whether it's fair to condemn one show while praising another for similar elements.

Some suggest that race could be a silent factor in the way people perceive these shows. Many claim if 'Tedros' was played by a Chris Evans, most critics would be clamoring for a season two, but to continue to watch a television show where black men are controlling the minds and having sex with various white women, just don't play well to some crowds.

Furthermore, it's worth noting that many successful TV series, such as 'Breaking Bad' and 'Game of Thrones,' were initially met with mixed reviews but went on to achieve critical acclaim and massive fan bases. Therefore, the initial backlash against 'The Idol' doesn't necessarily predict its future success or failure.

In conclusion, the divergent reception of 'The Idol' and 'YOU' exposes a degree of hypocrisy in television criticism. It's essential to apply consistent standards when evaluating different series and to give each show a fair chance to evolve and prove itself. After all, in the world of television, as in life, things are rarely as simple as they first appear.

23 views0 comments
bottom of page