There’ve been many TV shows set in high school over the last few years. . A lot of these series fall short by having unrealistic characters, refusing to show just how dark one’s teenage years can be. “Euphoria” breaks this trend by writing about realistic teens with realistic problems, exploring ‘taboo’ topics such as drug abuse, sex, toxic relationships, pressure from parents and pregnancy.
“Euphoria” is the American adaptation of the Israeli show of the same name. It airs on HBO but season two is currently delayed due to COVID-19. The show primarily focuses on Zendaya’s character, Rue, but also follows several other characters as well, resulting in multiple storylines but a tightly interwoven main plot. “Euphoria” has been nominated for a number of awards; most notably an Emmy, which Zendaya won for Outstanding Lead Actress in a drama series.
The show starts off by introducing the viewer to Rue, a teenager with extreme anxiety as a result of being born shortly after the events of 9/11, Rue’s been diagnosed with a number of mental disorders over the course of her young life, and thus has been exposed to a variety of medication as well, all of which lead to her eventually becoming a drug addict. Rue’s drug addiction only gets worse, and she overdoses the summer before her freshman year of high school. Although she’s sent to rehab, she still has no intention of staying clean.
There’s a number of other interesting characters as well, such as: a girl who regularly hooks up with people on gay dating apps, a star quarterback who fantasizes about attacking other men that want to get with his girlfriend, a high school drop-out drug dealer, a plus-sized girl who struggles with self-esteem and many more.
The music in the show is superb, as it consists of songs that today’s teens would actually listen to. The music also does a good job of portraying certain moods and characters. In addition to its music, the show’s cinematography is also amazing, having an almost movie-like quality.
“Euphoria” is best viewed in a binge session as it can be very easy to miss a small detail or two that ends up being a major plot point and there are also cliffhangers despite the series only consisting of eight, hour-long episodes.
Some complaints I had with the show were that there were moments that seemed too dramatic even for such a drama-filled series, like when a character called Nate got someone else to confess for the assault charge he faced for choking his partner Maddy. I also felt like the series as a whole was too fast-paced, jumping from one action-packed scene to the next without giving the characters (or the audience) time to process what’s going on. This makes the progression of time difficult to track as well. For example, it is difficult to tell if an event happened three days ago or three weeks ago.
To summarize, “Euphoria” is a very graphic series that shows the dark underbelly of teenage life. The characters are very well written and incredibly realistic although they often end up doing things that seem a bit too much… even by teenage standards.