How The sex life of college girls Brought comedy, heart and authenticity to his queer character

School has resumed for the girls of Essex College!

The fun and quirky binge-watch that got us through the end of the pandemic is back for its second season. The sex life of college girls centers four (unlikely) freshman roommates who get their first taste of independence, giving sex and the city meets the prequel Girls – all with a very 2022 comic flair.

Out chatted with show co-creator Justin Noble of the HBO Max series, which he paired with comedy queen Mindy Kaling.

“We just got creative,” Noble said. Outgiving a nod to the couple’s initial work on the hit Netflix show I have never.

Noble and Kaling’s writing chemistry for high school comedy led them to their next big thing: college.

It wasn’t long before the two wandered around each other’s alma maters, reminiscing about their college days and discovering hidden gems that would later be inserted into the lives of their four leading ladies.

“We were constantly drawing from our own experiences – it basically morphed into group therapy,” Noble jokes. “We’re airing our dirty laundry all the time to find intrigue for these girls.”

And with a mostly female writing staff, the stories flow. Even if you haven’t gone to a naked party like Kimberly (Paulette Chalamet) and Bela (Amrit Kaur), driven to the casino for a secret date like Leighton (Renee Rapp), or had an affair with your football coach like Whitney (Alya Chanel Scott) stories are easy to pin down to those “Roaring Twenties in College.” I have the impression that you too might have hooked up with your coach, if only you had been recruited for a D1 sport.

Much of Noble’s college experience has been spent on the queer character, Leighton. Himself confined to the university, the writer’s objective was to “externalise the internal struggle” of coming out.

Although this is a universal experience among queer people, Noble acknowledges that the inner battle often goes unexplored on screen because it is “historically very difficult to dramatize”.

“I’ve seen so many stories of coming out where it’s about parents who are religious and don’t accept them…and yes those [stories] are absolutely true. But for me the most interesting thing is the universal experience where you have to accept it yourself.

Throughout the first season, we watch Leighton grapple with his sexuality, driving a firm wedge between his college life and his romantic life. In college, she dates men and exudes a cool confidence that other girls envy. Behind closed doors, she meets women through dating apps and hates herself for being queer. Everything changes when her two worlds collide in the final episode, and she finally speaks the words she’s tried so persistently to deny: “I’m gay.”

“The one detail I was adamant about to survive in [Leighton’s coming out] scene was that she didn’t want this, it wasn’t a win for her,” Noble says. “She thinks it’s really going to make her life harder, and that’s a real fear that a lot of queer people have.”

As a Judge, ultra-rich and slightly elitist from New England, it would be easy for viewers to write Leighton off as an out-of-touch mean girl. Yet she still manages to make viewers want to root for her — which Noble calls a testament to queer actress Rapp’s talent. Despite the series’ extensive casting process, the creators knew almost immediately after meeting Rapp that they had found their Leighton.

“She had the part in her hand pretty much the entire time. She just oozes Leighton for us,” Noble says of the tongue-in-cheek actress who once won hearts as Regina George in mean girls on Broadway.

“She had this look about herself where we immediately believed her to be this person who could crack a scathing joke at another character’s expense without coming across as off-putting or unsympathetic, and that’s such a difficult needle to thread.”

The season two trailer teases a bolder and much more confident Leighton: a college student who becomes herself on her own terms. So what does this mean for the character? Well, lots of sex (obviously) and an open door to a genuine relationship with his three housemates. Because – salacious title and all – the show is really about female friendship.

And Noble says it best: “It’s really just a love story between four girls who have been randomly assigned to live together.”

The first two episodes of The Sex life of college girls Season 2 premieres Thursday, November 17 on HBO Max.

RELATED | Watch the fabulous and emotional trailer for We are here Season 3