“Mom, I’m not bringing my teddy bear to college with me,” one complains during the moving-in stage at New England’s Essex College, nicely capturing the middle ground between independence and childhood that this period uniquely represents.
Cue the slow-motion shots of shirtless guys jogging, the skepticism about a boyfriend who wants to wait until marriage (“Boys are born ready, so something’s up”) and issues about grappling with sexual identity.
While this is hardly new terrain, “Sex Lives” manages to be occasionally sweet in addition to funny, such as when a couple of them attend a “naked party” and get chided for looking down at others’, um, nakedness.
“So we’re not supposed to look? What is this, a naked party under Taliban rule?” Bela complains.
Later, Whitney — the daughter of a senator — grudgingly attends a fraternity party along with the wealthy Leighton, telling the sea of blond girls that she meets, “I look forward to seeing you all on ‘Selling Sunset’ one day.”
Amid the jokes and uncomfortable situations (including a positively cringeworthy dinner during parents’ weekend in a later episode), there’s an almost palpable sense of the desperate desire to fit in, as well as how significant the college years are in defining people as they mature.
In that sense, “The Sex Lives of College Girls” is a rather simplistic, marketing-friendly title for a show that’s refreshingly about a lot more than that.
“The Sex Lives of College Girls” premieres Nov. 18 on HBO Max. CNN and HBO Max are both part of WarnerMedia.