[Warning: The below contains spoilers for The Sex Lives of College Girls, Season 2, Episodes 1 & 2.]
The Sex Lives of College Girls has returned and is setting up plenty of back-to-school drama for the ladies of Essex as they come back from fall break.
While some relationships are blooming, others are facing the fallout of their Season 1 actions, and TV Insider caught up with the stars — Pauline Chalamet, Amrit Kaur, Reneé Rapp, and Alyah Chanelle Scott — and co-creators Mindy Kaling and Justin Noble to talk all things Season 2.
As viewers saw in the first two episodes, Kimberly (Chalamet) is dealing with the financial challenges that come with losing her scholarship, questioning what’s best for her moving forward, especially when she doesn’t want to tell her parents. Chalamet says Kimberly “is really focused on the pressing issue at hand, which is she gonna be able to stay at Essex and how is she gonna make that work?”
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That being said, don’t expect her to sit on the sidelines when it comes to romance. Sure, her Season 1 hookup, Nico (Gavin Leatherwood) may be gone and expelled for his academic cheating, but that doesn’t mean there’s no potential for a new relationship. “This show is called The Sex Lives of College Girls,” Chalamet says, “so I can say that Kimberly is not gonna be sexless in this season.”
Could Kimberly’s next match be uber-steamy “climate refuge” Jackson (Mitchell Slaggert)? Chalamet is staying mum, but offers, “Mitchell brought a whole new energy to our plateau, to our set.”
Meanwhile, comedy career-oriented Bela (Kaur) is focused on making a name for herself after her experience with The Catullan last season. Of course, that doesn’t mean her ties to the school publication are non-existent, she’s just not labeling it. “Bela doesn’t like to bind herself in a relationship status,” Kaur says of her character, despite her clear connection with Eric (Mekki Leeper).
“Competition gets the best of her,” she teases, hinting at what could be next for the competitive comedians. “She’s so driven in getting revenge and we see that in her relationships. We see that everywhere,” she adds.
(Credit: HBO Max)
As for Scott’s Whitney, she’s testing the waters with Canaan (Christopher Meyer) and experiencing a bit of an identity crisis when it comes to her academic pursuits. “Whitney has quite the journey involving relationship statuses,” Scott teases. “She thinks she’s somewhere else than she is when the season starts, with Canaan specifically. That kind of takes its own life and journey and you watch her insecurities come out in ways that are very human,” the actress adds.
And Leighton? Rapp says, “she is doing the post-breakup [thing].” As viewers will recall, she’d connected with Alicia (Midori Francis) last season, but their relationship ended when Leighton wasn’t willing to be out publicly as a lesbian. Now, she’s embracing that aspect of her life with the support of her roommates, and she’s not just dipping her toes into the pool, but diving in without much reservation.
“She has a really good time with it clearly. And it also teaches her a lot about herself,” Rapp says. “But you also see her get into a lot of s**tty situations and maybe not be the best person. But the girl is trying,” the actress promises. “[Leighton] needs a little humbling. I don’t feel like she’s had much humbling, to be honest. I wanna see her kind of get her s**t rocked a little bit.”
When it came to the handling of Leighton’s coming out to the group, co-creators Kaling and Noble had a lot of conversations about deciding which direction to take it. “Justin and I wrote that scene and it was trickier than you think in a way because we really wanted her to be funny about it,” Kaling says of Kimberly’s rainbow balloon arch that arrived in the dorms before Leighton filled in Bela and Whitney on her sexuality.
“That would be really bad if she outed her friend without her consent. And so I thought we had a really thoughtful discussion going into that scene,” Kaling adds.
“And Kimberly’s got so much going on all over the place,” Noble chimes in. “She has her whole life at stake right now and she’s so earnest, of course, she would wanna celebrate Leighton coming out in a prolific way, in the most fancy way Kimberly could ever imagine with balloons from a Rite Aid.”
Stay tuned to see how their Essex experience continues as Season 2 of The Sex Lives of College Girls unfolds on HBO Max.
The Sex Lives of College Girls, New Episodes, Thursdays, HBO Max