HBO’s Euphoria is pretty popular these days because of its stellar cast and dark themes. It’s a show about teens struggling with addiction, identity, heartbreak, friendships, trauma, sex, and mental health. Of course, with such heavy themes, the show is bound to have some extreme visuals and plot lines. Recently, a drug organization D.A.R.E (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) called out Euphoria for its drug use and its glorification. Euphoria’s main lead Zendaya, who plays drug addict Rue Bennett, came to the show’s defense.
Euphoria has been criticised for its glorification of teen sex and drug abuse a lot
The HBO show premiered in 2017 and it’s currently on its season 2. It centers around Zendaya’s character Rue who is severe addict. In the pilot, we see her almost die from an overdose. After surviving, she goes to rehab but doesn’t take it seriously. Rue relapses from season 1 and the situation worsens in Euphoria season 2. In episode 5, we see Rue fights with her girlfriend Jules (Hunter Schafer) and all her friends Cassie (Sydney Sweeney), Maddie (Alexa Demie), Lexie (Maude Apatow, Kat (Barbie Ferreira), and Fez (Angus Cloud). Rue’s relationship with her mother Leslie (Nike King) and sister Gia (Storm Reid) are also ruined. Her impulsive and erratic behavior lands her at absolute rock bottom.
The D.A.R.E organization criticized the show for glorifying and normalizing destructive behavior such as drug abuse, violence, and anonymous sex:
“Rather than further each parent’s desire to keep their children safe from the potentially horrific consequences of drug abuse and other high-risk behavior, HBO’s television drama, Euphoria, chooses to misguidedly glorify and erroneously depict high school student drug use, addiction, anonymous s*x, violence, and other destructive behaviors as common and widespread in today’s world.”
The organization started in the 1960s and had an aim to end drug abuse. But over the years, it has been unable to produce substantial results.
In response, Zendaya said that Euphoria never tried to preach morals
The Emmy-winning actress said that Euphoria was not trying to impose any teaching on the viewers. As per Zendaya, the show’s meaning is to help people understand the nuances of drug addiction so that people can empathize with addicts. Moreover, she hopes that people who are struggling with addiction and mental health themselves will watch the show and feel less alone:
“Our show is in no way a moral tale to teach people how to live their life or what they should be doing. If anything, the feeling behind Euphoria. Or whatever we have always been trying to do with it. Is to hopefully help people feel a little bit less alone in their experience and their pain. And maybe feel like they’re not the only one going through or dealing with what they’re dealing with.”
Moreover, she also responded to an interview question asking about her character’s journey.
With that Zendaya wrote that she hopes people can learn to love Rue even in her worst state.
“It’s my hope for people watching that they still see [Rue] as a person worthy of their love. And worthy of their time, and that she has a redemptive quality still, and that we still see the good in her even if she can’t see it in herself.”
Zendaya added that she hopes people will stick around for the end of Rue’s journey where she can heal and make the changes she needs to change her life. As a result, people will be able to apply that with their family and friends who are also suffering from addictions.
“I think that if people can go with her through that, and get to the end, and still have hope for her future, and watch her make the changes and steps to heal and humanize her through her sobriety journey and her addiction, then maybe they can extend that to people in real life. If you can love her, then you can love someone that is struggling with the same thing, and maybe have a greater understanding of the pain they’re facing, that is out of their control.”
Moreover, Zendaya said that she deeply cares about her character:
“I care about her deeply. I also care about the people who care about her, because I think many of them share her story of addiction and sobriety, and many of them share a lot of her emotion disorders, and I think it’s important that we continue to have that love for her.”
She ended the note with an important message saying that it’s important to have flawed characters so that we can also at ourselves and that we should:
“Remember that we are not the worst mistake we’ve ever made. And that redemption is possible.”
It’s certainly a beautiful message by Zendaya. Hopefully, we’ll see more of a happy ending for Jules and everyone else on Euphoria.
What are your thoughts on it? Let us know in the comments down below.