Euphoria examines but does not glamorize difficult themes of teen life

Euphoria, a HBO original series, has been all the talk these past few months. The show follows Rue Bennett, a junior in high school, who’s right out of rehab for drug abuse, and her equally troubled peers in a small California town. The show discusses themes of addiction, sexuality, body image, sexual assault, transphobia, and more. Euphoria is a brilliant show, with its in-depth characters, compelling plot, and fascinating color palette and design elements. 

Almost every episode begins with one of the main characters at a young age, either their child or early teen years, and leads us through their life and struggles, with the episode ending at their current day selves. 

Some of these stories have sweet and lighthearted themes, but most are disturbing and upsetting as they explore the characters’ trauma and their unhealthy ways of coping. Many of the characters’ conflicts intersect and expand on one another, creating a captivating series for viewers. 

The main focus, though, is Rue, the protagonist, as she centers around all other characters and has an established relationship with them – either good or bad. We mainly learn of her issues as they are broad, troubling and usually play into others daily lives. 

The series is known for its distinctive color pallets that are used in the set, wardrobe, makeup, and lighting. Seasons 1 had a blue and purple palette signifying depression and melancholy, while Season 2 uses green and yellow to imply mania and chaos. 

As a first-time viewer in early November, I was immediately hooked. I basically spent every waking moment watching, living, and breathing Euphoria. In fact, I ended up watching all of season one’s eight episodes, at about one hour each, in under three days.

Later that month HBO announced the premier date of Euphoria’s season 2, and to say I was excited would be an understatement. I immediately began watching all the trailers, teasers, and cast statements, and so was everyone around me. Season 2, Episode 1 first premiered on January 9th, 2022 with over two million people watching. Each sunday night after that a new episode was released, with 8 in total. The last episode premiered on February 27.

I found season 2 to be much more entertaining than season 1 due to its sudden change of theme and mood. Viewers went from watching season 1 Rue be quiet and timid to her becoming completely frenzied and over the edge in season 2. I recommend watching the series from the beginning so that you will connect with and understand the characters, plots and themes that Euphoria has to offer. 

The series is directed towards a young adult audience and does an amazing job of discussing issues and conflicts that are otherwise seen as taboo in the media. Euphoria isn’t scared of the frowned upon topics that many of us face. It embraces these topics and begins to humanize them through it’s platform 

There are numerous graphic moments ranging from violet, sexual, and abusive scenes. If you don’t feel comfortable viewing such scenes, I strongly recommend not watching Euphoria. 

The series has also faced backlash worldwide for promoting drug use and sexual activity, but I think that this is a misreading of the show’s themes. Euphoria does not glamorize any of its disturbing topics. 

For those who do feel comfortable watching, I highly recommend the series. It’s funny, it’s sad, it’s suspenseful, it’s really everything that great television should be. 

Image source – NYLON

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