This show is anything but euphoric

Gabi Altinok, Staff Writer

Euphoria. The show that I hear all of my friends talking about. Once I heard about the premiere of the second season, I was slowly convinced to start watching the show…despite the fact that I used to religiously criticize and mock it.

You can’t blame me. At first glance the show seemed like it was just going to be about your everyday stereotypical teens that every show utilizes: blackout drunk, dense, partying literally every night, and I think you can get the picture. So I always made fun of my friends for watching a “dumb” show that inaccurately deems every adolescent as a complete idiot. But, surprisingly enough, there is more to the plot than just 16-year-olds walking to math class dressed in Victoria’s Secret and stilettos.

After hearing about the second season coming out and literally, the entire world going crazy over it, I decided to check it out. I found that once I started the show, the plot was actually pretty intriguing (at least in the first season.) I can see why people like it so much now, especially with all of the talented actors (Zendaya, most of all). I’ve never really enjoyed the shows where they entail a bunch of kids whose brain cells are deteriorating with every White Claw they consume; however, I really do enjoy the psychological and dramatic concepts represented in the series. 

Rue Bennett, the main character with whom I have sympathized with the most, has been one of the most interesting protagonists I have seen. She is not meant to be liked just how every other character in the show is, which is what makes her realistic humanity so easy for me to understand. Her addiction also reveals the reality of drug abuse and its effects, which is something that really hasn’t been spoken about enough in TV shows. The glorification of drugs and alcohol in teens always fails to show the real effects it has on the users, and especially those who love and care for them. 

What’s really beautiful about this show is the art forms utilized, such as the vibrant, shimmery makeup designed by Doniella Davy, the interpretive choreography, and the music that sets the tone for key scenes. The makeup that the actors wear is intended to amplify the character aesthetics, with mediums as prominent as glitter and elaborate eyeliner, and that is just what it did. 

Not only is the art beautiful, but most particularly the societal concepts represented. From the motherhood of a single parent, to the intensity of teen pregnancy, the series shows great pragmatic insight on important topics. 

My favorite scene in the first season is the interpretative dance, symbolizing Rue and her struggles. It pertains to a religious theme and the dancers are seen wearing church/choir robes. It was a sad, yet beautiful depiction of Rue and her guilt concerning the things she has done in the past and continues to do.

The storytelling, especially, I would say is better than I thought it would be. I can’t speak for Season Two, as it is still in the works. But the drama in the premiere season really kept me invested. I love when shows or stories have a plot where the butterfly effect comes into play, and things always happen for a reason. Also, the characters are going through changes and all have their own lives and intricate mentalities, not just “dumb” teenagers.

Though Rue is the main character above all others, Rue narrates the show by telling the stories of several individual main characters. Like the fourth episode’s dedication to the backstory of Kat Hernandez, a girl who struggles in terms of confidence and self-image. She doesn’t just stay the typical flat character with the role of being the “nerd, push-over” friend, she ultimately learns to maneuver her self-image to her advantage. However, a makeover or new persona is not going to solve all of her problems.

Now to my favorite character who I probably relate to a little too much: Lexi Howard. Lexi is not exactly similar to the other characters in the show. In all honesty, she is probably one of the only normal ones. What makes Lexi so likable is probably that she is practically a portrayal of the audience. She watches the plot unfold from the sidelines, yet still plays the part of being the (past) best friend of Rue, and the processor of the sequence of events. Though she does have some drama with her sister Cassie Howard from time to time, she luckily does not meet much trouble…for now (besides the sorry excuse of a father that she has.)

All in all, Euphoria is a compulsive show and is interesting if you’re looking for something real and tear-jerking, but keep in mind it does contain sensitive topics.

Just don’t blame me if you end up binge-watching it for an entire week.