Spoiler Alert and Content Warning: This article discusses graphic/explicit content, including substance abuse, domestic violence, and body image.
Euphoria is back and with it comes more dark and shocking drama than ever before.
Every Sunday night since the season two premiere on Jan. 9, viewers have tuned in to watch as the show pits young teens against the gruesome realities of the world. But, despite the anxiety-inducing content, millions of viewers like myself can’t seem to look away.
The Emmy-award-winning hit HBO series, created, directed, and written by Sam Levinson, is known for its hard-to-swallow depictions of issues like teen substance abuse, addiction, and mental health.
Some believe these issues are too adult for the teens the show surrounds and its young viewers, but I argue it’s realistic. While nobody wants to see young people struggling with such adult issues, that is the reality of the world we live in.
On Jan. 26., Drug Abuse Resistance Education (D.A.R.E.) released a statement to T.M.Z. which said, “rather than further each parent’s desire to keep their children safe from the potentially horrific consequences of drug abuse and other high-risk behaviour, HBO’s television drama, Euphoria, chooses to misguidedly glorify and erroneously depict high school student drug use, addiction, anonymous sex, violence, and other destructive behaviours as common and widespread in today’s world.”
However, after watching Euphoria, I think the show does anything but glorify these issues as viewers watch in horror at the outcomes of the characters’ decisions.
In response to the statement from D.A.R.E., actress Zendaya, who plays Rue Bennett on Euphoria, said, “our show is in no way a moral tale to teach people how to live their life or what they should be doing.”
Despite criticism, Euphoria has nevertheless become a powerhouse of a show, impacting not only the television industry but the very fabric of teen society. From fashion to music to memes, Euphoria has worked its way into the lives of young people everywhere.
The most prominent Generation Z trends borrowed from Euphoria include the bright and glittery makeup looks made famous by the character Jules Vaughn and the show’s trendy style, specifically Maddy Perez’s ever-popular cut-out pants.
The show is not for everyone, something Euphoria makes clear from the start with content warnings at the beginning of every episode, but it is a realistic depiction of issues often swept under the rug.
Cassie’s lack of self-validation, Jules’s exploration with her gender expression, Kat’s struggles with beauty standards, Maddy’s experience with domestic violence, and of course, Rue’s continuous battle with addiction. Euphoria season two depicts a variety of issues that young people today often face.
But if teen drama isn’t for you, Euphoria’s cinematography might be enough to keep your eyes glued to the screen, with some of the most visually beautiful scenes I have ever seen on television.