“The Sex Lives of College Girls,” a new HBO Max original show, is a realistic and honest look at college’s rites of passage as well as its difficulties. The series, created by Mindy Kaling and Justin Noble, features an excellent cast and script, providing the perfect mix between fresh humor and relatability.

At the time of writing this article, the final two episodes of season one have not aired, but they will be available on HBO Max on Dec. 9.

“The Sex Lives of College Girls” follows the daily lives of four freshman college roommates: Kimberly, Bela, Leighton and Whitney, played by Pauline Chalamet, Amrit Kaur, Reneé Rapp and Alyah Chanelle, respectively. Each girl explores romantic and sexual relations while balancing friendships and school opportunities. The show includes a lot of common freshmen experiences, like struggling to keep up with classwork, understanding party life and even having to find the weird smell that all students in dorm rooms have to deal with.

With Kaling’s name attached to this project, it is no surprise that the show’s humor is a star component. While the performances from the actors are very strong, it is clear the genius behind the humor is the writers’ room. They make sure that each character has their one-liner moment, and the way the situations are written themselves lead to some genuine laughs.

Touching on the performances, Chalamet, Kaur, Rapp and Chanelle lead this project with expertise and strength. All four leads embody their characters with ease and make the script feel both alive and true to life. Chalamet is a standout actress with her perfect blend between awkwardness and likability that almost everyone can relate to. Chanelle and Kaur handle their difficult scenes with grace, and Rapp balances the line between embodying the mean girl trope and being secretly insecure extremely well, turning a potentially cookie-cutter character into a great and necessarily nuanced one.

The highlight of the show, however, is the authenticity that Kaling and Noble provide. The show has a representative cast and does not hesitate to touch on mature themes that plague college life. In just eight episodes thus far, the show has dealt with class insecurity, unethical relationships, difficulties with one’s family and sexual assault.

At the same time, the show introduces many situations that feel nostalgic and relevant to all that have attended or are attending college, like finding one’s place at a party, trying to make it into a school club and having to complete community service after getting in trouble. Though the title suggests otherwise, this show is not actually focused on sex but instead on finding one’s footing in the craziness that is 18-year-olds being left to their own devices in a gated campus.

While the show does an excellent job touching on these hard topics and delving into deep themes, the humor is not always able to quell the cringey moments. While everyone has had their awkward and embarrassing moments in college, watching those unfold on the screen can incite a too-strong feeling of secondhand embarrassment that is uncomfortable to sit through. Though I believe those moments were completely intentional on the part of Kaling and Noble, there are definitely moments where you will need to pause and take a breath.

With the final episodes coming out, there is much to look forward to with this season, as hopefully the drama gets wrapped up and there is a nice conclusion to the character arcs seen so far. I have full confidence that the final episodes will be just as good as the eight that are already released.

While this show does not hold back in any way, it is a great show to reminisce or relate to, and it gives the audience plenty of comedic relief. It is 100 percent worth a full-season binge.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars