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10 Shows To Watch If You Love HBO Max's Sex Lives Of College Girls

HBO Max's "The Sex Lives of College Girls" has won fans over with its colorful depiction of the college experience. Kimberly Finkle (Pauline Chalamet), Bela Malhotra (Amrit Kaur), Leighton Murray (Reneé Rapp), and Whitney Chase (Alyah Chanelle Scott) are new roommates at Vermont's Essex College. While they quickly bond and become friends, they also learn that their newfound independence comes with a great deal of uncertainty, drama, and responsibility. There are troubles around every corner, whether they be awkward flirting with cute classmates, the struggles of self-discovery, terrible jobs that pay for college, or the quest to land a coveted spot within Essex's most prestigious comedy organization. Luckily, these four friends are there for each other through it all.

Portrayals of leaving the nest are thick on the ground in the world of TV. Few handle them as well as "The Sex Lives of College Girls" does, but fans looking for something else to watch still have plenty of options to consider. Some series tackle college at its most raucous. Others contemplate the complex lives of community college students. Many delight in youth's soapiest possibilities. But no matter what draws you to Kimberly, Bela, Leighton, and Whitney's story, there's another series out there with your name on it. These are 10 shows to watch if you love "The Sex Lives of College Girls."


Freeform's "Grown-ish" is the perfect show to binge after "The Sex Lives of College Girls." A spin-off of ABC's popular "Black-ish," "Grown-ish" follows Zoey Johnson (Yara Shahidi) through her first few years at college. Zoey and her friends quickly discover that the world doesn't always give them what they want, and with adult life looming around the corner, the pressure is on. But of course, they're still eager young undergraduate students looking to get a great social experience out of their time on campus. Time must be spent on books and having fun.

With a dazzlingly talented cast (including Emily Arlook, Marcus Scribner, and Halle Bailey) and a team of skilled writers (some of whom made the jump from "Black-ish") behind the wheel, "Grown-ish" does a spectacular job of embracing the messy real-life issues that face modern college students. Whether the characters are learning how to navigate sex, dealing with peer pressure and drugs, or handling family problems, "Grown-ish" manages to tackle delicate topics head-on without any old-school, lecture-y vibes. This makes the show shine as its own thing, rather than a shadow of its parent series. "Grown-ish" certainly offers the sort of genial tone and smart writing that made "Black-ish" famous, it just makes a little more room for a younger audience. No wonder "Grown-ish" has accumulated such an impressive slew of award nominations


College Greek life offers students a tight-knit community on campus. Sometimes, where one chooses to rush can determine their entire college experience, and their later life. ABC Family's "Greek" explores the ins and outs of this long-standing world of fraternities and sororities with charm and wit. Rusty Cartwright (Jacob Zachar) is on his way to attend the same college as his older sister Casey (Spencer Grammer). But he's come to a decision: It's time for a new image. He no longer wants to be seen as the sort of geek he was in high school — he wants more. Unfortunately for Casey, no matter how the other students view Rusty, she's still stuck going to college with her little brother. 

Aside from the central sibling rivalry of Rusty and Casey, "Greek" touches on nearly every other aspect of life within frats and sororities. Classic college drama flourishes amidst love triangles, frat parties, and shocking realizations that the rest of one's life is trembling on the horizon. These are only a few of the tropes "Greek" explores with humor and heart. Notably, though, as "Greek" moves into later seasons, it becomes more about the relationships between characters, who are about to move into the post-graduate landscape, rather than rushes and parties. This results in some of the show's best moments. Though it ended in 2011, "Greek" is still hailed as a uniquely apt portrait of the college experience. As The Ringer wrote in 2021, "'Greek' cracked the college TV show in a way no series had before or has since."

Dear White People

The college experience isn't always perfect, nor is it always equal. The Netflix original series "Dear White People," based on the critically acclaimed film of the same name, knows this well. This series follows Black students attending the predominantly white Ivy League school Winchester University. When white students of one of Winchester's fraternities host an extremely offensive party, college radio host Samantha White (Logan Browning) takes to the airwaves to express her criticism. As tensions between white and Black students come to a boiling point, students from the university's Black organizations come together to decide how to move forward. But accomplishing this is a lot more complicated than anyone anticipates.

If you're looking for a real-world example of a modern college campus, this is a good place to start. "Dear White People" puts up a mirror to the issues that young adults and activists face today. It takes a wide range of views and opinions and lays them all out on the table with little sugarcoating. It also features a plethora of strong performances from its young cast. "Dear White People" earned impressive reviews and a slew of awards from the African-American Film Critics Association, the Black Reel Awards, the Humanitas Prize, the Society of LGBTQ Entertainment Critics, and the NAACP Image Awards, among others. It's not hard to see why.

Gossip Girl

The CW's "Gossip Girl" was a titan among teen-centric TV shows when it first aired in 2007. Several actors made their mainstream debut on this searing drama series, including Blake Lively (who played Serena van der Woodsen), Leighton Meester (who played Blair Waldorf), and Penn Badgley (who played Dan Humphrey). 

"Gossip Girl" is all about the salacious and scandalous lives of wealthy teenagers living on New York's Upper East Side. Not one bit of gossip regarding their doings is safe, as the omniscient blogger known only as Gossip Girl reveals all their dirty laundry the moment it's soiled. Despite the fact that these teenagers are in high school for a significant chunk of the series, it's thematically on par with "The Sex Lives of College Girls": Due to their money and privilege, the teens of "Gossip Girl" are essentially allowed to live adult lives. In later seasons, some of the characters are accepted into New York University, where the once-elite are forced to readjust. Before long, they're back on top — but can they stay there? 

Fashion, mystery, and scandalous New York City vibes make "Gossip Girl" into a teen classic. It's so good, in fact, that it got two shots at the TV-watching public. After the original show ended in 2012, "Gossip Girl" was revived in 2021, putting a new generation of wealthy New York high school students under the scrutiny of the mysterious titular spectator. It's juicy, dramatic, and a little bit ridiculous — which is exactly how fans like it.


While HBO's "Girls" might not follow college students through four years on campus, this series still has all the components that fans love about "The Sex Lives of College Girls." Namely, it follows a gaggle of young women as they try to make the best of early adulthood.

Hannah Horvath (Lena Dunham), Marnie Michaels (Allison Williams), Jessa Johansson (Jemima Kirke), and Shoshanna Shapiro (Zosia Mamet) are four friends living in New York City. They navigate all the classic hurdles of the post-grad years: Relationships, job struggles, and sticky social situations are just some of the goings-on in this HBO hit. Not everything works out well after one leaves school, the titular girls discover — some even enter a classic faltering phase, where strife and disappointment reign. Aspiring writer Hannah, for example, falls into a rhythm of stumbling, picking herself up, and stumbling again. 

But "Girls" isn't all doom and gloom: It's also about finding what it takes to make it in the adult world in wonderfully unexpected ways. Hannah flails, for example, but she also gets into the Iowa Writers' Workshop, begins and ends a number of important relationships, and handles unexpected familial developments with increasingly large reserves of strength. Her story, like those of the other characters, dramatically zig-zags, but as anyone out of their 20s can tell you, that's just life — and few would have it any other way. This journey proves fruitful: Through six seasons, "Girls" accumulated strong reviews and a plethora of awards, including a number of Primetime Emmys. 


If the shows on this list teach us anything about life, it's that not everything is shiny and perfect once we leave high school — or even after we leave college, as is the case with HBO's "Insecure." This brilliant series touches on what it's like to struggle with life's imperfections while everyone around you seemingly has it all together. It's an all-too-familiar feeling that plagues just about everyone. But here's a little secret for those of you too young to have figured it out for yourself yet: Everybody else is just as lost as you are.

The heroines of "Insecure" don't quite know this yet. The series follows long-time best friends Issa (Issa Rae) and Molly (Yvonne Orji) as they try to figure out how to navigate life in their late 20s and early 30s. Issa, a youth liaison for a non-profit organization, has a tendency to fumble when it comes to taking control of her life. Molly, a hot-shot corporate attorney with a killer wardrobe, has things figured out career-wise, but struggles to make meaningful romantic connections. The two young women lean on each other for support and reassurance that they're pointed in the right direction. At this stage of life, that bond is invaluable. 

All five seasons of "Insecure" hold their own, buoyed by witty comedy that slashes through the sorts of stereotypes that plague Black female characters. The critics took notice, showering the series in glowing praise for its strong performances, sharp writing, and thoughtful topics. "Insecure" is a perfect blend of witty commentary, vibrant comedy, and heartfelt drama, all aimed at one of the most complex times of life.

Deaf U

Netflix's "Deaf U" is a reality show unlike any other. It takes a vivid look at the students of Gallaudet University, a Washington D.C. school geared towards those who are deaf and hard of hearing. "Deaf U" explores campus life, academics, revelry, and dating through the eyes of 13 students, over the course of eight episodes. What results is a truly one-of-a-kind production. If you like "The Sex Lives of College Girls" for its compassionate portrayal of many different kinds of college students, "Deaf U" should definitely be the next thing on your watch list. Not only does it focus on deaf and hard-of-hearing students, it touches on the experiences of LGBTQ+ students, adding yet another perspective to the show's many viewpoints.

"Deaf U" aims to bring Deaf culture to the small screen with authenticity and warmth. It succeeds wildly: The series earned excellent reviews, the award for outstanding achievement in reality programming from the Television Critics Association Awards, and a nomination for outstanding reality program from the GLAAD Media Awards. If "Deaf U" has a flaw, it's that it can tend towards soapiness, which might turn some viewers off. But for others, this is a plus. As Time Magazine put it in their review, "Yet despite — or more likely as a result of — all the gossip, 'Deaf U' ... offers a fascinating introduction to the deaf community." It's an introduction you won't regret making.


Created by TV superstar Dan Harmon, best known now as the creator of "Rick and Morty," NBC's "Community" is a quirkily heartwarming and often sardonic sitcom about community college. When ex-lawyer Jeff Winger (Joel McHale) has no choice but to enroll in Greendale Community College to earn his degree after his license is revoked, he quickly meets a number of eccentric students. There's Troy Barnes (Donald Glover), who flew through high school as a king of the gridiron. There's Abed Nadir (Danny Pudi), the uber-nerd with a pop culture reference for every occasion. There's Annie Edison (Alison Brie), an academically inclined wunderkind. They, and a number of other colorful characters, soon form a study group unlike any other.

This group proves to be a potent source of friendship and hilarity within the endlessly entertaining environment of their school. Greendale is a community college, but it's also a bizarre laboratory of weirdness, from the offbeat dean's costume closet to Halloween parties that accidentally unleash a zombie plague. The show never misses an opportunity to do something unique: Some of the best episodes of "Community" parody Ken Burns' celebrated documentaries, explore the multiverse, and turn games of Dungeons & Dragons into multifaceted adventures. Many years after it premiered, the show remains a pillar of comedy in the world of small screen entertainment. Its collection of one-liners is enough to make anyone buckle over in stitches, and the genuine warmth between characters like Troy and Abed is pure gold.

The Magicians

For TV watchers who enjoy a fantasy element to their academic shows, Syfy's "The Magicians" is a stellar pick. With shining stars like Olivia Taylor Dudley (who plays Alice Quinn) and Jason Ralph (who plays Quentin Coldwater) at its helm, "The Magicians" puts a gothic twist on the classic undergraduate lifestyle. The students who enroll in the secret Brakebills University for Magical Pedagogy possess fantastic supernatural powers, which they learn to control as they go through their years at school. Sounds pretty fabulous, right? But the students of Brakebills — and the viewers — are in for a shock: This fantabulous fictional world has a dark secret. Magic never comes without a price, after all, and this one is supremely dangerous.

 The characters of "The Magicians" vary widely, which makes for some wonderfully vivid dynamics. Besides dealing with relationship problems and classic curriculum struggles, these young people must also handle issues of mental health, which are intensified by their world's magical elements. This grounds the series in real-world experiences, without ever making things truly mundane. Though it can get a bit soapy at times, "The Magicians" delivers a fresh take on what young adults get up to in their first independent years. Those who love "The Sex Lives of College Girls" and "Harry Potter" are sure to love it.

If you or someone you know needs help with mental health, please contact the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741, call the National Alliance on Mental Illness helpline at 1-800-950-NAMI (6264), or visit the National Institute of Mental Health website.

Gilmore Girls

One of The WB's most beloved shows, "Gilmore Girls" has become a bonafide classic. Even after all these years, fans just can't get enough of Stars Hollow and its myriad comforts. Lorelai Gilmore (Lauren Graham) and her teenage daughter Rory (Alexis Bledel) are two forces of nature. Fiercely independent Lorelai, who gave birth to Rory when she was 16 years old, runs an adorable inn. Whip-smart Rory has her eyes on the Ivy League. This mother-daughter duo is irresistible, and only grows more and more fascinating. 

Over the course of its run, "Gilmore Girls" explores family strife, first love, heartbreak, and loss, among other events and milestones. The show starts in Rory's sophomore year of high school, and follows her to Yale University, offering a lengthy look at young adulthood along the way. But of course, this is Lorelai's story as well. Viewers who'd like a little more maturity in their college-bound stories are especially encouraged to check "Gilmore Girls" out, especially since Netflix's "Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life" miniseries follows the two women into Rory's adulthood. With a glowing cast, famously quick-witted writing, and enough drama to satisfy anyone, "Gilmore Girls" is a must-see for fans of young adult stories.