Teenage is a crazy time filled with volatile emotions and feelings. There is a constant, burning desire to step over the line between wrong and right; to feel the rush of doing something that is not allowed- and that is exactly what Euphoria brilliantly represents through five teens and their ‘sins’.
1. Quick Review
Euphoria is a dark teen drama that revolves around various issues that mostly affect teenagers. It is a beautifully crafted show but it is not for everyone.
2. Info Card
EuphoriaAir Date: June 16, 2019 Status: Upcoming Season 2 Studio: The Reasonable Bunch, DreamCrew, Tedy Productions, Little Lamb No. of Seasons: 1 No. of Episodes: 8
3. Is it worth watching?
The show delves into the lives of five teenagers battling different issues, tinges of which can be found in all of us.
Rue Bennett is a sixteen-year-old ‘battling’ drug addiction. She spent her summer in a rehabilitation centre to help her get off drugs. But she does not want to fight her addiction, drugs make her high and she lives for that feeling.
Lexi is Rue’s best friend since childhood. They have been friends all through Rue’s addiction and Rue depends on Lexi for all her emotional support. She has an elder sister Cassie, who has been in many abusive relationships with men.
Jules is the new girl in town. She began her transformation when she was thirteen and she is finding it difficult to come to terms with her sexual identity.
Kat Hernandez who is very conscious of her body. She suddenly gains weight on a family vacation. Desperate to make herself feel confident, she begins a life online, participating in various activities. With the money, she buys herself a new wardrobe and reinvents her look.
The jock in the show is Nate Jacobs. He is a quarterback in the high school football team and is dealing with anger issues. But his anger is just a cover for his sexual insecurities.
Certain childhood incidents resulted in him having deep-rooted toxic masculinity. He often acts on these impulses and his actions qualify his position as the antagonist of the show.
It is the relationship between these five teenagers along with their struggles with addiction, identity, sexuality, anxiety and peer pressure that makes the show.
II. Detailed Analysis
In essence, what all these characters are hoping to find is happiness and contentment. But their happiness comes from sources that are all, either harmful to themselves or, to the ones around them.
Rue wants a kind of happiness that never gets over, a happiness that lasts forever. This is why she takes drugs. It is a common mistake that teenagers make- they think that life is one continuous joy ride rather than a bumpy road full of downs and ups as well.
Nate, however, is a different case. He is a complex (all the characters on the show are) character with many layers to his personality. His pleasure comes from a twisted way of manipulating and hurting others; his pleasure is sadistic.
The show has a lot of scenes and storylines that might seem too much to handle for a part of the audience. It is completely uncensored when it comes to nudity, drugs and sexual violence. For some, this adds to the rawness and believability of the show while for others it might seem a tad bit unnecessary and grating.
What the show gets right on point is how difficult it is to grow up in times like these. It takes a dive into all the negative things that affect teenagers nowadays and comes up with a pretty bleak narrative. It is not that there are no sweet, cheerful moments or arcs in the show but the scale tips to the bleaker side, overall.
When the world came to know that Zendaya was acting in the role of a self-harming, self-loathing drug addict many were pretty sceptic of it. After all, how well could a former Disney channel star play a drug addict? The answer to that is- perfectly.
Rue Bennett’s struggles- of being a drug addict who does not want to make her family suffer because of her habits, of exploring and finding friendship, love, and sexuality- is beautifully brought to life by Zendaya. From the start to the finish, the audience never feels that there is an actor portraying the character Rue Bennett. The audience sympathises with Rue from start to finish.
Hunter Schafer as Jules Vaughn, the deuteragonist to Rue, also does a good job in her first acting job. She fits the role of the charming broad-minded new girl in town who is struggling to find a footing in her life.
Jacob Elordi also makes a splash as Nate Jacobs. Since he was known for playing the cute, rom-com hero from The Kissing Booth, seeing him as a sadistic, manipulative toxic man capable of destroying lives. He does a great job of playing a character with layers, not all of which are bad.
IV. Music and cinematography
The music and cinematography deserve special mention for this show. The music used in the show not only suits every scene but elevates it immensely. All the songs are relevant and popular which is a bonus. The original score, produced by Labrinth is perfect for the tone of the series.
In addition, the cinematography, especially in the scenes where Rue uses drugs, is amazing. The cinematography is a huge factor and reason for the success of the show.
5. Final Thoughts
While watching Euphoria there will be a section of the audience who will be able to relate to the events of the show on another level. To many others, it is just a story of teenagers indulging in impossible debauchery.
But nothing should take away any credit from the show- Euphoria is a very well-made show that is worth a watch. If you are brave enough to watch a bleak and explicit story.