The Idol explained: the meaning of Jocelyn & Tedros

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The Idol is presented as a TV series about “the dark side of Hollywood,” and that’s definitely the frame that surrounds the events. But we can surely see that there is something more: Jocelyn and Tedros represent something that needs to be explained, something closer to our lives, to a certain kind of people that enter our lives from time to time, or to some way we feel in some isolated moments of our evolution. That’s why it’s interesting to understand the meaning of their characters, what they represent, and what’s behind their psychology. Let’s explore the protagonists of the 2023 HBO series.

You can watch the official trailer for HBO’s The Idol here on Youtube.

The Idol explained: the meaning of Jocelyn & Tedros, what do they represent?

Yes, The Idol is a story about Hollywood, the music industry, and the meaning behind the system that builds a famous star. But we can definitely read something more in the show’s main characters, Jocelyn and Tedros. Something closer to what we are and the people that sometimes enter our lives—the symbol of a type of relationship that is not uncommon in people’s experiences.

The relationship between Jocelyn and Tedros can teach us a lot about the kind of abusive, manipulative relationships we want to keep as far as we can in our lives. The conditions, unfortunately, are perfect for that kind of relationship to kick in: on the one hand, we have Jocelyn, a girl who’s passing through a difficult time in her life. Her mother died recently, and suddenly she feels she lacks important guidance. She feels weak; she struggles to recognize what’s best for her and what’s the right thing to do. The absence of her parents represents the death of those figures that symbolized authority in her life: now she’s alone, insecure, and confused. When we feel weak, every decision requires effort, every evaluation requires lucidity, and we may not always be ready for it. That’s where we feel tempted to just “delegate” that effort to a strong figure present in our life. Someone who can just tell us simply what we have to do, lifting the burden of that responsibility from our shoulders.

Unfortunately, this context sets the perfect conditions for manipulative personalities to enter our lives. And this is what Tedros represents in The Idol. Tedros presents himself as a savior, someone who can take care of Jocelyn in a moment when nobody seems able to understand what she needs. His character shows confidence and authority: he looks like someone who always knows what to do. Therefore, if you were tempted to trust someone at the point that your life can be guided by this selected person, you may feel you have found the right one. And you could end up ignoring all the red flags around it.

In The Idol, the relationship between Jocelyn and Tedros is surrounded by many elements that could justify unconventional dynamics to settle. We are in the pop music industry, where every extreme experience could be an added value for creativity (that’s the message Episode 3 wants to deliver). There is the pressure of new music that needs to come out, and that drives everybody’s priorities (no one seems to truly care about Jocelyn’s mental health, except perhaps Leia, who unfortunately doesn’t have the authority to change things). Jocelyn definitely needs a guide, and Tedros entered this extraordinary context by answering that need. 

What also happens, unfortunately, is that Tedros has the chance to introduce his aggressive behavior into Jocelyn’s life. Tedros is the prototype of a manipulative mind: you recognize it in how he exerts control over all the people in the room (you should have noticed it in the scene in Episode 3 when he leads Jocelyn to fire her long-time chef Andres). He wants everybody to follow his instructions, and when someone enters our life with that kind of attitude, we should immediately ask ourselves: what’s their objective? What are they trying to obtain inside our existence? This is something that The Idol should have explained before we come to its ending.

Unfortunately, Jocelyn is precisely in those typical conditions of weakness that make her unable to answer that. So she tries not to think too much about it, and she relies on the only assumption that could sound partially reassuring: Tedros is doing all that for her because he loves her and cares about her. And, of course, Tedros knows that this is the only perimeter that could allow him to “run the show.” So, we see Tedros adopting aggressive behaviors over Jocelyn, telling her what to do and actively changing her life in a way that will make it spin around himself. But while he does all that, most of the people (including Jocelyn) believe he does it for Jocelyn’s benefit. That peaks at the ending of episode 3, where Tedros beats Jocely with the hairbrush used by her dead mom, hurting her, and she ends up thanking him for taking care of her.

However, as the series progresses, we may discover something different is happening. On the one hand, it seems clear that Tedros is an aggressive, manipulating personality who wants everyone under control. But as we see from Episode 4, it’s not sure that Jocelyn is just passively accepting all that. We have some elements that can make us think that she’s actively allowing her for a reason, and whenever she feels she needs to set a limit to Tedros, she can do it: that would be the meaning of her decision to invite Rob, her ex-boyfriend, making Tedros jealous.

The relationship between Jocelyn and Tedros will surely evolve, and we will see it. Undoubtedly, the show promises some meaningful lessons, and we will wait to see how The Idol has explained the meaning of all these events to us.

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