Euphoria returns with a bang

SEASON TWO PREMIERED on Sunday, January 9th. New episodes will drop weekly every Sunday evening at six. Screenrant

Amy Parr | Head Editor

January 14, 2022

Euphoria premiered over two years ago and shocked its primarily teenaged audience with an overwhelming prevalence of graphic nudity and drug use. The show revolves around Rue, a teenager suffering from substance abuse and multiple relapses. Rue is portrayed by Zendaya, who won an Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series, becoming the youngest ever to do so. Jacob Elordi, known for The Kissing Booth franchise, stars alongside Zendaya as the main antagonist of the show. Both Elordi and Zendaya attract millions of viewers, most of whom are susceptible to the warped perception of high school presented by the show.

AN UNLIKELY FRIENDSHIP: Fez, a drug dealer, bonds with Lexi, one of the few innocent characters in the show. Eddy Chen/HBO

“The show is 100% inaccurate to high school,” senior Haley Sandstrom said. “There definitely is still some drug use in high school, but people are not commonly using hard drugs as they do in the show or sleeping around with older men.” While high school is far from the fantasy portrayed in High School Musical, Euphoria presents the other, more dangerous extreme. The vast majority of high schoolers are shown using drugs and interacting with violent people, which can normalize a darker side of high school that is only representative of a small minority.

“The school does give content warning at the beginning of the episode and the show itself is rated TV-MA. Still, every time I watch it I feel there isn’t enough of a warning,” Sandstrom said. “I definitely think the show should be for older high school students as it glorifies drugs and sex which can be misinterpreted by younger viewers.” While there are warnings regarding the content of the show, there remains the question of who is reading these warnings and whether they will take them to heart. Euphoria seems to imply that these situations are common in high school, while this is far from the truth. 

ANTAGONIST NATE JACOBS (Jacob Elordi) stares down his on-screen nemesis portrayed by Angus Cloud. HBO

“The show would definitely be more realistic if it took place at college,” senior Teresa Yubeta said. “Even though there are only a few years between high school and college, they show a big jump in maturity that I think would make the show more appropriate for all audiences, and maybe less popular for high school students.”  

Despite the problematic setting, Euphoria perfectly draws in viewers with a complex story structure and compelling artistic choices. “I really enjoy the cinematography, music, and the actors,” Sandstrom said. “The plot is definitely interesting, but I usually find myself more interested in each character individually.” 

Each member of the ensemble cast has their own journey, all of which intertwines to create a complicated tangle of plotlines. While these intersections can be difficult to follow, each individual character’s journey is clearly shown, making it easy for viewers to follow and pick a favorite.

“I think the show definitely should only be watched if you are mature enough and are not bothered by sex, violence, and drug use,” Sandstrom said. Euphoria is by no means an easy watch, but for the right audience, the show can be captivating and thought-provoking.

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