If you wanted to gouge your eyes out while watching the latest ep of The Idol, good. Because according to Abel Tesfaye, FKA The Weeknd, those sex scenes were meant to make us uncomfortable.
Yes, that ick you’ve developed around Tesfaye and his character of Tedros is intentional, especially after that sex scene in episode two.
In case you need a quick recap (although I can’t see why you would, given it’s seared a hole in all of our brains), episode two of The Idol ‘gifted’ us with a ten-minute sex scene that honestly made many of us want to hurl and subsequently yeet ourself off the planet.
In the scene, Tesfaye’s (fully-clothed) character Tedros orders Jocelyn (played by Lily-Rose Depp) to… uh, well… I’ll just leave you with these quotes:
“Fucking stretch that tiny little [REDACTED]”, “let me see those [REDACTED]”, and of course, “I want to grab you by the [REDACTED] while I suffocate you with my [REDACTED].”
Prose, pure and simple.
Understandably, the ordeal has garnered some controversy. The controversy around the show isn’t new — since its inception, there’s been extensive criticism, with one source from the show’s production team telling Rolling Stone that “it was like any rape fantasy that any toxic man would have.”
Similarly, viewers have reacted in mostly disgust and ickiness over the show, especially scenes that include Tesfaye.
But in a new interview with GQ, Tesfaye says that all our gross feelings around these sex scenes and the never-ending controversy are actually intentional.
Yes, according to him, Tedros is meant to give us the ick, especially in that sex scene.
“There’s nothing sexy about it,” he told GQ.
“However you’re feeling watching that scene, whether it’s discomfort, or you feel gross, or you feel embarrassed for the characters. It’s all those emotions adding up to: This guy is in way over his head, this situation is one where he is not supposed to be here.”
Tesfaye also spoke about Tedros’ general douchebaggery aura, even potentially drawing attention to the direction the series is going in calling him a “psychopath”.
“The guy’s a douchebag. You can tell he cares so much about what he looks like, and he thinks he looks good. But then you see these weird moments of him alone—he rehearses, he’s calculated. And he needs to do that, or he has nothing, he’s pathetic.”
“You look at him, and this is a score — Jocelyn might be the biggest score he’s ever had. It’s very obvious. He’s over-indulging, he walks into this house looking around like, Goddamn, am I way over my head? This can be the biggest job I’ve ever done.
“Even the sex, it’s so gluttonous. Especially in episode two. ‘Gluttony’ is the only word I can think of [to describe it]. He can’t believe he’s there. He comes off like such a loser. Those moments are the humanity that you find in a psychopath, the chink in his armour.”
If you ask me, this whole thing reeks of ‘PR recovery mode’, especially given how cooked the show has ended up being. It’s giving “trust me bro, I swear it’s high art”.
When discussing his rats-tailed embodiment of an ick of a character, Tesfaye hints that each episode will unravel an extra layer of this dude’s ickiness.
“Piece by piece, week by week, we’ll reveal who he is. But he’s what you see on screen. He’s definitely a challenge. He’s despicable, a psychopath—why sugarcoat it? But he’s somehow useful to this girl, and it’s unfortunate and we hate to see it.”
Unfortunately, that probably means that we still have plenty of skin-crawling sex scenes ahead of us. I’ll even take a bet that in a couple of eps time, we’re going to be looking back on episode two fondly, if not for the fucked material we’re inevitably going to be served up in the next few episodes.