Mindy Kaling certainly has her finger on the pulse of the small screen! Following her nearly decade-long stint writing and acting on the hit NBC series “The Office,” the prolific Hollywood multi-hyphenate has parlayed her talents into a successful producing career, churning out such staples as “The Mindy Project” and “Never Have I Ever” for Fox/Hulu and Netflix, respectively. And now, the powerhouse’s latest offering, “The Sex Lives of College Girls,” which she co-created with “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” writer/producer Justin Noble, has hit HBO Max to rave reviews, leading to a prompt second-season renewal.
Set at Essex College in Vermont, the dramedy follows the scholastic trials and romantic tribulations of roommates Kimberly Finkle (Pauline Chalamet), Bela Malhotra (Amrit Kaur), Leighton Murray (Reneé Rapp) and Whitney Chase (Alyah Chanelle Scott) as they navigate their freshman year at the fictional Ivy League school. Though it’s drawing comparisons to HBO stalwart “Sex and the City,” “Sex Lives” leans far more heavily into the comedic side of things, despite digging into some decidedly serious subject matter, with all ten episodes of season one proving laugh-out-loud hilarious, not to mention thoroughly binge-able.
Filming of the series was an ambitious undertaking that took the cast and crew from the East Coast to the West, with the vast majority of exterior scenes captured at Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, New York. As reported by the Poughkeepsie Journal, the production utilized a plethora of locations at the grand campus, including “the main gate, athletic fields, the President’s House, the Vogelstein Center for Drama and Film, Rockefeller and Blodgett Halls, and several quads,” as well as the interior of the stunning Frederick Ferris Thompson Memorial Library.
Following the three-week shoot in Poughkeepsie, “Sex Lives” moved to Los Angeles, setting up shop at Warner Bros. Studios in Burbank, where the show’s elaborate sets, including the dining hall where the girls regularly congregate, were constructed. While in town, the series also made use of several real-life locales, including the Sheraton Universal Hotel, which was transformed into a bustling casino for episode one, “Welcome to Essex.” The girls host a fancy dinner for their parents at The Derby restaurant in Arcadia in episode six, “Parents Weekend.” And South Pasadena’s Torrance-Childs House pops up repeatedly in interior scenes involving the Catullan comedy club. (Exteriors were shot at Vassar’s President’s House.)