Note: The following contains spoilers for “The Sex Lives of College Girls” Season 2 finale.
“The Sex Lives of College Girls” finale undeniably raised the stakes as our four central suitemates quietly turned away from one another and wrestled with their own personal struggles – from Bela (Amrit Kaur) taking the first step to transfer from Essex to Whitney (Alyah Chanelle Scott) switching up her living plans after seeing Kimberly (Pauline Chalamet) and Canaan (Christopher Meyer) kiss.
After being renewed for season 3, showrunner Justin Noble teased that we might see more of the Women’s Center and the KJ House in the next season, which will likely pick up in the final two weeks of summer before Leighton (Reneé Rapp), Whitney and Kimberly steps back on campus—and Bela cements her fate at Essex.
“I cannot tell you how much Mindy [Kaling] and I love writing scenes in the Women’s Center. We find that environment so funny, and those performers are so magnetic and amazing,” Noble told TheWrap. “I want to see what the KJ house looks like through Kimberly and Canaan, maybe, together or what Whitney’s [relationship with] the KJ House looks like perhaps after she sees Kappa might not be the right fit for her.”
Keep reading to get seven burning questions from the “The Sex Lives of College Girls” finale answered by showrunner Justin Noble.
TheWrap: Why does Kimberly go after Canaan and eventually kiss him even though she knows it will endanger her friendship with Whitney?
Justin Noble: Kimberly Finkle cannot help but spill a little chaos, despite the fact that her good natured little heart does not intend it. Kimberly does know about the baggage that Whitney has with Canaan, for sure, but Kimberly met Canaan first—in our pilot, we meet Canaan through Kimberly at work—they have a completely different relationship that is independent of Whitney having dated Canaan. So it’s really up in the air in a way that feels real and you could see either side of it. Is Kimberly wrong to pursue Canaan? Is he untouchable because Whitney is her girl? Or is she a girl who has a crush and she should be able to act on it? Kimberly just had to follow her heart from her.
Canaan and Kimberly have had such a deeper connection from the moment we first saw them—there’s such a chemistry between them. They have a lot of things on paper that are the same, and they just match. So when she’s suddenly taken with a deepening of their relationship at the end of the season, she knows that Jackson was not the perfect fit for her, and I think she is a good-hearted individual where she knows she won’t stay with Jackson when she’s crushing on someone else.
Why does Kimberly choose not to come clean to Whitney?
She’s terrified. Even though she is following her own heart of hers, she’s well aware that this would hurt Whitney or at the very least she fears that would be the case — and she just ca n’t bring herself to say it.
Kimberly and Whitney go to each other in this very cute little vulnerable scene both saying the one thing I know for sure is I want to live with you, and we’ll figure out with the other people. And then with one swift move, Kimberly puts that on ice and drives Whitney to the last place we would ever have thought she would be living in: Kappa.
Why does Whitney want to pursue living at the Kappa house instead of with the rest of the girls?
Whitney is in full spiral mode. I think that there is a piece of paper on her desk that says, “Hey Frude, I am going to be living with Kimberly next year,” and she can’t help but choose any option other than to hand that paper in. The one thing she knows for sure is that Leighton gave up this room at Kappa and she grabs it.
I’m excited to potentially see what comedy comes out of Whitney being in the Kappa world without Leighton. Leighton has been Whitney’s training wheels at Kappa, so it’d be interesting to see what it looks like when Leighton is not there to soften that environment for her.
Why does Bela pretend not to know anything about the magazine spread when her colleagues confront her about it?
Bela is a character who makes knee-jerk reactions. I think Bela is so singularly focused on her own dreams and success, and she, in any given moment, is thinking: How can I best set myself up for exactly where I want to be in five years, 10 years, 15 years? She is running to that “SNL” writers’ room, and she is going to bump into people and knock them over as she gets there. And I don’t think she’s trying to—she’s just so determined that she’s going to have some casualties along the way.
When she’s in trouble, she tries to deflect—we see that a couple times this season. She keeps learning slowly that her actions have consequences on other people’s emotions. We see that most with Eric through the middle of the season, leading to this scene at the end of episode 7, where, for the first time, we get to see her sit with her own thoughts at the end in that little stupid mental health bubble and think, “Am I doing this all wrong? Does Eric have a point? What could I have done differently?”
Then the show gives her an opportunity in the finale to do things a little differently. Even though the stakes could n’t be smaller, with helping this younger writer who is so beta to her, she cannot help but be her de ella own ambitious self de ella, and be blunt because she thinks that’s a good approach for this person . But she just is herself, and that leads her to where we find her at the end of this season — that’s the moment of real reflection for her, where she hears the laundry list of things that have happened this year, that clearly have not gone her way. And she thinks the best choice is to cut and run.
Why doesn’t she confide in her friends about what she’s going through?
I think that for a person who’s interested in the creative field, sometimes there’s a lot of perfectionism that comes with that DNA. When she hears how bad these things are and just how her first year of college clearly did not go as planned, it’s too much for her to own. She doesn’t want to think of herself as that dinged, as that knocked down. She wants to be at “SNL” — [and] imperfect people don’t make it to “SNL” in her mind. So rather than stay at Essex and acknowledge her mistakes from her and find ways to fix them, she thinks that the best approach is to start fresh somewhere else where she has an unscathed record.
Why does Leighton choose to drop Kappa?
Kappa, in many ways, was the last piece of the old Leighton Murray. Leighton grew up in New York wanting to be a specific type of person, and Kappa was something that was pushed upon her and she decided that she was part of who she was going to be. But when she made that decision, she was closeted, and she was projecting who she was going to be to the world at that point. Kappa was part of that mask.
As she got to Essex and as she met new personalities and discovered more about herself, and she’s having conversations with Alicia, Ginger and Tova at the Women’s Center, she comes to realize that there’s something more authentic about her coming out in that space.
It simultaneously felt effortless and real for Leighton to be in Kappa, but there’s these elements where you can see that she’s a slightly different person. Her backbone of Ella is very straight, and her eyes of Ella are wide, and it feels like she is projecting something. I think it was the last, little piece of her closetedness from her, so we had to remove it.
Why was this the right moment for Leighton to get back together with Alicia?
Leighton and Alicia—they bring out such interesting things in each other and I could not help myself but to bring back Alicia.
The only thing that broke them up was this very heartbreakingly true situation where Leighton and wasn’t ready to be with Alicia, and Alicia couldn’t be with Leighton in the way that she was closeted, so they had to part their separate ways. They had a very clearly defined barrier between them, and then through season 2, we forget about that when we see Leighton coming out to her de ella suitemates [and] going into that very tried and true promiscuous phase that happens when you’ve not been out and proud for your entire life.
We see her dating her doppelgänger, Tatum, and then we get a surprising twist when that relationship with Tatum develops to be deeper than we thought it would, particularly motivated by her dad telling her that he thinks Tatum is a good girl for her.
At that point, the boundary that had existed between Alicia and Leighton is gone—Leighton out on this campus, everyone knows her. The clearly defined thing that separated them is no longer valid. So it was time for Alicia to come back into the picture.