Mindy Kaling grew up watching movies like pet house and appreciated how it captured the revelry and hard partying that goes with college life. But women were always relegated to vapid roles that involved them running by “topless and screaming,” she admits, which is what drove her to create The Sex Lives of College Girls for HBO Max.
“I love college stories and there aren’t that many of them,” says Kaling, who was joined on stage with co-creator/EP Justin Noble Sunday at Deadline’s Contender TV event. “Movies like The Social Network really capture that college environment, those ambitious nerds doing something. We’re always talking about The Social Network.”
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Before telling the story of four roommates who navigate their new freedom at the prestigious Essex College, Kaling said she and Noble visited East Coast campuses to see what the kids are like right now. She and Noble also packed the writers room with women who draw upon their own experiences to help write scripts. Kaling told a story about how one writer came back from lunch one day and unloaded about a very unfortunate hookup in her junior year.
“The show is densely filled with observations about being a young woman in college so it makes sense to hire a lot,” continued Kaling about the show’s freshman season. “Being able to be honest about your time in school and your heartbreaks [is important]. There’s real vulnerability. I grew up, and am still, very repressed. It’s fun to work on a show where the characters aren’t. Young women should be able to grow up and not be embarrassed by their sexual desires, sexual identity. I’m 42 and in our writers’ room, we are learning so much from our staff, our cast.”
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For season two, Kaling said they will continue to tell these “fun, serialized dating stories that we don’t get to see that often. It’s a fun show about romance and bad dates. When you turn it on you know it will be funny. There will be women being there for each for other.” The comedy stars Pauline Chalet (Kimberly), Renee Rapp (Leighton), Amrit Kaur (Bela) and Allah Chanelle Scott (Whitney).
“There’s a lot of embarrassment for each of the girls,” promised Noble of the new season.
But the new season won’t include the creepy — and very married — soccer coach Dalton (James Morosini), who carried on a very inappropriate relationship with Whitney. “He’s gone,” assures Kaling.
Deadline Contenders Television is sponsored by AppleTV+, Eyepetizer, Final Draft, Los Siete Misterios and Michter’s. Partners include Desalto, Movie AlUla, Four Seasons Resort Maui, Jason Mizrahi Design, ModMD, The American Pavilionand Tidelli.