‘Starstruck’ Season 2 Delivers On All Counts

Emma Sidi, Rose Matafeo in Starstruck Season 2
Photograph by Mark Johnson/HBO Max

Starstruck Season 2 is finally back, and the only central flaw is how quickly it ends. It’s easy to want more, not because the series isn’t satisfying, but because it’s so good, you never want it to end.

Continuing from where they left off at the end of Season 1, Jesse and Tom are trying to make things work. Still, much like any relationship, it’s complicated, it’s messy, and it’s in their organic development where much of the beauty can be found. A modern-day romantic cometic was always going to work best through organic storytelling, and that’s especially the case for the “celebrity and an ordinary person” trope. It seldom works for me personally, but it’s never done in such a way that it feels believable until Starstruck came along. This series not only nails the trope, but it allows viewers to connect with the characters in multiple ways.

Starstruck Season 2 is full of hilarious moments left and right, but at the same time, it’s the casual intimacy I’m always here for. The brief smiles, the longing looks, and even, amidst everything, some of the confusion that unravels. It all works to create something special with this series.

Rose Matafeo and Nikesh Patel in Starstruck Season 2
Photograph by Mark Johnson/HBO Max

The season also has one of the most joyous openings I’ve ever seen, and no one other than Rose Matafeo could’ve done such a remarkable job with it. We already knew that she’s a class act, and much of Jessie’s likability directly results from Matefeo’s performances (and it’s even better in Season 2). It’s all heightened. If you thought you were in love with Nikesh Patel in the first season, then he will quadruple that adoration in Season 2 with the added layers he brings to Tom.

As the stakes are much higher now, the series fleshes out the characters by digging into the seedier bits of their personalities and the growth that they need to go through for themselves and each other. The conflict that arises never once feels forced, and the humor continues to add layers to pivotal characters.

In true romantic comedy fashion, where the show works best is in its way of coupling the farcical moments with vulnerability through bold declarations that feel entirely natural. There’s a particular moment in the finale where I thought, this is “so dramatic and so perfect and I love every minute of it”—words that really shouldn’t go together, and yet, with Starstruck, there’s no better way of putting it.

In allowing the relationship between Jessie and Tom to go forward, the series could’ve easily given them issues that would’ve weighed in on why the trope generally doesn’t work. Instead, character imperfections, doubts, and complexities are why it works. Tom might be a celebrity, but he has much to learn, and how his flaws intermingle with Jessie’s allows their love story to feel as though it’s amongst equals—two lost souls who find joy and comfort together even when it gets messy.

Starstruck Season 2 doesn’t fall in the sophomore slump; it thrives. In its imperfections, it’s somehow even better than its debut season, giving us plenty of incredible moments to hang onto and appreciate. In the short amount of time we have, the series provides the characters chances to breathe, panic, question things, enjoy themselves, and most importantly, love. It’s easy to love in every area, giving us

Starstruck Season 2 is now streaming on HBO Max.


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