Bright, rowdy, and lots of fun, this sparkling series endears itself to viewers with fresh, funny writing, and a quartet of lovable female characters finding their way into young womanhood. From the start, it's clear that The Sex Lives of College Girls is a walk down memory lane for creator Mindy Kaling, who attended pricey private New Hampshire college Dartmouth. She's created a fictional campus that's a New England moneyed hothouse, and characters that read as aspects of Kaling herself, as least as viewers know her from afar. Bela (Amrit Kaur), seems particularly on the nose as a fledgling comedy writer who's overjoyed to be at a fancy new school with a shot at writing for the prestigious school comedy magazine, though there are also Kaling vibes connected to Kimberly, Whitney, and Leighton, all characters with big dreams (which they're happy to share with each other) and embarrassing secrets (which they're not).
Plotlines are familiar campus romps: parties, hookups, boyfriends who cheat, parents who show up for weekends and embarrass their kids. But College Girls distinguishes itself from similar also-rans with the affection and warmth it shows for its characters, who do dumb stuff and stumble around, especially when it comes to romance. But in their relationships with each other, the four anchors of the show are solid gold, cheering each other on in triumphant moments and cheering each other up when the chips are down. It's a look at female friendship that's genuine and powerful, and occasionally insightful. As Bela says in an early episode, encouraging her bummed-out roommates to attend a party, "We don't have power over when guys treat us like s--t, but what we can control is how much we let it affect us. So let's go out and get tanked, and maybe we'll meet a guy who doesn't treat us like garbage. Or not, and it doesn't matter because we'll be having fun anyway." TV shows and college students could have a worse raison d'être, truly.