Is HBO’s Euphoria The Next Big TV Show?


By Alli Lipsit , Staff Writer

If you turned on your TV at all this summer you probably saw the extremely alluring yet peculiar trailer for a new TV show starring the beloved Zendaya, and you either thought the show looked like the next best summer TV show to keep up with, or you got the feeling that maybe it looked a bit out of your comfort zone.

If you thought either of these things before, during, or after watching the show, you were right.

Euphoria follows 16-year-old Rue Bennett as she arrives home from rehab after being found nearly dead by her younger sister due to a drug overdose just before the beginning of her junior year in high school. Throughout the show, Rue faces the harsh reality of what having a drug addiction does to not just her, but the people around her.

Luckily for Rue, she is not alone in the journey to her recovery, which brings me to my absolute all-time favorite character in the show, Jules.

Jules is played by Hunter Schafer, and don’t feel bad if you don’t know her; I didn’t either. But Schafer’s role in the show, and the way she totally rocks it makes her hard to forget.

Schafer is transgender (male to female) just like her character Jules. Jules is completely fearless, and the show wastes no time showing this part of her personality in the very first episode where a moment of complete apprehension for Jules turns into a moment of “dang, that girl is crazy!” during a standoff between her character and Rue’s soon to be enemy Nate Jacobs, played by prominent Netflix actor Jacob Elordi.

In other words, the show wastes no time showing viewers just how crazy things might be.

And boy does the show get crazy.

Though there’s just one season out so far, the show exhibits all of the following topics: drug and alcohol abuse, the high school vaping epidemic, domestic abuse, sex, statutory rape, exploitation, relationships, love, heartbreak, LGBTQ oppression, and so many more prominent yet critical topics in teenagers’ lives.

As a teenager and a high school student, I can honestly say that the show is nothing like what high school is really like, at least here at Niles West. Does this make the show any less entertaining? Nope, it’s still just as good, and even though some (and I say some because there are still many similarities) of the topics are far fetched for high school students, I do believe the topics addressed aren’t far fetched for life in general.

Although I enjoyed the first season of Euphoria, mainly because of the tough yet controversial topics addressed, many viewers found the show disturbing. The controversial topics addressed in the show are what made the show so riveting, but many thought the show made light of these topics making them amusing to audiences rather than serious. 

This viewpoint seems to be a common theme for people who dislike the show, and I, of course, see where they’re coming from. 

It’s true, the topics are disturbing, and at points, it’s very hard to watch what the characters go through, but the show also makes you think. The producers and the actors developed a plot with difficult concepts to grasp, but concepts we may have to grasp at some point in our lives nonetheless. 

A part of the show that sparked the most controversy in my opinion (and I’ll try to describe it as best as I can without spoilers), is the scene where one of the main characters, Cassie, played by Sydney Sweeny unexpectedly finds out she is pregnant. The scene is an emotional one because of the number of details put into making it look as realistic as possible. Viewers get a glimpse of the thoughts Cassie is thinking when she is interviewed by a doctor before an abortion procedure, and they get a glimpse of how she feels afterward when she shares an emotional hug with the friend who accompanied her. The part, however, that most stuck out to me was the actual procedure. The camera stays on Cassie’s face the whole entire time, and because of this, audience members are able to emotionally connect with her and maybe even feel a little bit of what she’s feeling is probably one of the most difficult moments of her life.

There is no doubt about it, Euphoria is intended for mature audiences. In order to watch the show and enjoy it, it is important to understand all the topics being addressed.

Luckily the show makes this easy with the extremely convincing and talented cast, and there are times where you may have to turn your head away from the TV or grab a tissue, but isn’t that what makes a TV show real?

If I had to rate the TV show I’d have to say I’d give it ten stars. The show features every gruesome yet necessary subject needed to make a TV show not only entertaining but emotional and captivating as well, making it deserving of ten stars.