From shows like Gossip Girl and Euphoria to Sex and the City and Friends, both high schoolers and late twenty–somethings get their fair share of media representation. By focusing on teenagers and adults trying to figure life out, Hollywood consistently overshadows the ups and downs of being a young adult or college student. Many young adults either have to base their lives on characters who are supposed to be younger than them or aspire to one day be the characters they see on TV that are way older than them. 

Finally, Mindy Kaling may have just answered all of our prayers with her new HBO Max show The Sex Lives of College Girls. As the title suggests, the show explores the sex lives of four young women and their time navigating their first semester of college. The show is set at Essex College, a fictional New England liberal arts school seemingly resembling Dartmouth (Kaling's alma mater). 

The show's four main characters are suitemates. Bela, played by Amrit Kaur, is an Indian American girl who wants to become a comedy writer despite her parents' pushes towards the medical field, and she is outwardly sex–positive. Kimberly, played by Pauline Chalamet, is a work study student from a predominantly white town who experiences a sexual awakening. Whitney, played by Alyah Chanelle Scott, is a soccer star and senator's daughter who has an affair with her married coach. Lastly, Leighton, played by Reneé Rapp, is a formerly popular girl from New York City who questions her sexual identity. 

Laced between lines of humor and awkward moments that give the viewer insane amounts of second–hand embarrassment for the main characters, the show reveals the true nature of what it’s like to be young and away from home for the first time. For people like Bela, that means experiencing sexism and racism from the people you least expect—like a famous alumni or a member of your college’s comedy group. For others, like Kimberly, it might mean meeting people from vastly different socioeconomic backgrounds than you or having sex for the first time with your high school sweetheart before he dumps you and leaves the next day.

Contrary to what the title may suggest, the show’s main focus is not solely centered around sex. The show focuses on the girls’ relationships with parents and friends, clubs, social lives, financial burdens, and academic stress. In an interview with Mindy Kaling and showrunner Justin Noble with Collider, Kaling says, “Life can be really hard on campuses for young women and we wanted to show all of that, and not just the fun, sexy part, but the parts that were a little uglier, to be honest.”

The show is incredibly honest. In addition to the high school boyfriend troubles, Kimberly has to navigate a new romantic relationship with an older student and has a tougher transition from her high school classes to her college ones. Due to the stress of balancing schoolwork and her job, she makes some problematic decisions which lead to her facing potential expulsion from the college and losing her scholarship. 

Bela makes many questionable choices in an attempt to get guys' attention. She joins The Catullan—the school’s comedy newspaper—and even though she succeeds in the end, she realizes that there are many things fundamentally wrong with the club and decides to quit. She even decides to tell her parents about her dreams of becoming a comedy writer. 

Leighton struggles to fit in socially and comes to terms with her sexuality. She is unable to accept that she is romantically attracted to a certain girl, which causes her to lose her first girlfriend. Last but not least, Whitney struggles with maintaining a good relationship with her parents due to the pressure placed on her by her public figure mother and her largely absent father. On top of that, she struggles to fit in with her soccer team.

Similarly to Kaling’s other shows, The Sex Lives of College Girls is funny and lighthearted enough to watch with a few friends. Viewers might not relate to every single moment of the show, but it finally allows young adults of various backgrounds to have some representation in the media all while dealing with heavy topics in a fresh and comedic way. Hopefully, with the success of The Sex Lives of College Girls, we’ll be seeing more shows aimed at the lives of younger twenty–somethings.