By Dominika Sipos
The TV show, Euphoria, shows that behind all the glitter and gold, there are flawed teenagers using drugs and sex to navigate the most difficult parts of their lives. The main character, Rue, is going back to school after staying at rehab because of her drug addiction. However, going back is harder for her than her mother and sister realize. She later meets a girl, Jules, who changes her views on how she looks at the world.
The show stars Zendaya, a former Disney and Marvel star, plays the character of Rue. By casting Zendaya as the main lead it also drawn in a younger audience. She gave an incredible performance a lot of actors could not pull off. Co-lead, Hunter Schafer, who is a model in her first on-screen performance, plays the role of Jules. The supporting cast includes model/actress/activist, Barbie Ferreira, playing Kat, and upcoming heartthrob from The Kissing Booth, Jacob Elordi.
Each of the episodes focus on a specific character’s story, allowing the audience can look back at the character’s past and see what kind of relationship they have with their parents and why. This is an interesting structure because while the audience meets and has the chance to create opinions of all the characters in the first episode; As the show progresses, the audience gets to know the characters individually during their personal episodes and their opinion begins changes about them.
The show was directed by Sam Levinson who did a great job of showing all the issues that Generation Z faces in today’s society. When people think about a straight white male in his 30s, making a series about teenagers, it scares them. While some people didn’t like Levinsons’s directorial debut, Assassination Nation, as the girls in it were superficially portrayed. The audience has seen the improvements in his latest show, Euphoria. The show is done in an artistic way via mood and imagery using colors such as purple, candy pink, orangey haze, which is appealing to the audience.
For some people, this show might be disturbing and provocative, however it is just showing reality of teenagers nowadays. Rue states, “To be honest I am not the most reliable narrator”, after snorting something in the bathroom at a party. She tells the story of this party, while interrupting herself with statements of how bad it is to be young right now. She says this because she is a part of these damaged teenagers and she can only see through their eyes. This is an example of how exploitative modern teenagehood is.
The show is not afraid to show all the scandalizing behaviors that happen, such as drugs, sex and alcohol, which for some is a shocking way to depict high school. One of the quotes that describes Levinson’s graphic sexual imaginary is said by Rue when, in a voice-over, she explains assertively, “I know your generation relied on flowers and father’s permission but it’s 2019, and unless you’re Amish, nudes are the currency of love. So, stop shaming us.” In another scene, one of the funniest lines is when Kat (Ferreira) tells Jules (Schafer) she is a virgin. Jules slams her locker and says, “Bitch, this isn’t the 80s! You need to catch a dick.” Showing how important it is in their generation to be sexually active. This is another view of how the juxtaposition of teenagehood is viewed through violence, drug abuse, and hypersexualized youth, while portraying it in a romanticized way.
Filled with high school drama and taboo subjects, this show is dark and realistic of the high school experience for generation Z. The plot, characters, and show design bring in the audience making this series a fan favorite. Ultimately, what you should learn from the show is to be who you are.
Where to watch it: HBO