Euphoria has generated a lot of controversy between students at the Northwest school these past few months. The show focuses on a group of high school students as they navigate the ups and downs of what life throws at them. Its message and story are what speak to teenagers and adults alike. Euphoria creates a new world for anyone who hasn’t lived in it, which tends to be an easy path toward controversy. This show can be a lot to take in, covering consistent depictions of teen sex, mental health issues, drug use, and violence. HBO releasing one episode per week comes as a much-need breather between episodes.
Euphoria is a show covering teens who grow up online. It shows how a generation lives and learns constantly with accessible internet access, which is a reality past generations didn’t go through. In an interview with IndieWire, Sam Levinson, the director of Euphoria, added on saying, “It’s a totally different world. There is no compass. There is no road map. There is no one who can provide any advice that is actually that applicable. When 60 – 70 percent of all interpersonal conversations and relationships exist through text messaging or social media, it’s hard to get advice from a parent who didn’t grow up in that world.”
The show stars Zendaya as Rue Bennett, a 17-year-old, high-school student who struggles with drug addiction and has a hard time trying to find her place in the world. The way Zendaya carries herself throughout Euphoria is exceptional. Throughout the way, she narrates each story and generally handles the weight of leading a series. As you watch the show, Zendaya makes it easy for you to feel for her in different ways as she struggles with the loss of her father and subsequent drug addiction.
Whether the show is an accurate representation of modern-day teenagers is up for debate, so I sent out an anonymous survey to all upper school students who have watched the hit show for their opinions. Out of 35 responses from my survey sent out, 75 percent of students said that the show Euphoria does not show an accurate representation of modern-day teenagers. One student said, “Everyone has different lives. I don’t think it’s a proper representation of the kids at Northwest but definitely kids from other schools.” Another student had a differing opinion saying, “I think it showed the parts of abuse, drug use, and relationships that teens face, but from a teens point of view, I think it portrays deep complex characters with a shallow cover like everything seems glamorized and dramatic to a lot of people, but the way I see it we ARE dramatic, and these characters are all flawed, which is realistic. As for the “glamorization of drug use and abuse” I kind of think that’s the point, especially it’s from rue’s perspective, I think euphoria makes it so that while these characters are making bad decisions, it feels beautiful and right and really pleasing, but they have to face the consequences.”
I personally think that the show Euphoria fixates on the traumatic aspects of adolescence, relationships, and sexuality. The show has the intent of telling a very specific kind of story when it comes to this group of teens. Euphoria is a show that might not be for everyone, but it is a show that represents teenage life in interesting and complicated ways.