If you thought Gossip Girl and 13 Reasons Why were controversial and problematic, oh boy you’re in for a ride. These shows are nothing in front of Euphoria starring Zendaya. This new teen drama took controversial to another level. Though it’s still sensitive enough. A bit graphic but not insensitive. Something 13 Reasons Why can’t boast of.
Euphoria, Another Cliche Teen Drama
Before y’all jump on me and say that I’ve clearly missed the point of the show, let me explain. Euphoria, I admit talks about stuff that other shows shy away from. But let’s be honest. Troubled teenagers who’re obsessed with drugs, porn and are swimming in depression has become a teen drama genre in itself. Shows like Riverdale, 13 Reason Why and Gossip Girl have all taken these issues and turned them into storylines for each character so that the targeted audience can relate to them. And there’s nothing wrong in that. What they’re showing in these shows is true and it exists but is it relatable for the masses? No. And I speak as a member of the audience they’re trying to target.
Euphoria is no different than these shows in this aspect. At the end of the day it is a show revolving around troubled teens who’ve we’ve got attached to and care for, but we know they’re going to end up being okay. Euphoria tried so hard to shock me and convince me that these kids are beyond repair and yet I know, they’re going to be just fine.
Better But Not Different
This is where going overboard gets tricky. Euphoria with its controversial storylines revolving around addiction, sexuality, porn, body-shaming, drugs, sexual assault, toxic masculinity, self-harm and other troubles plaguing teenagers went overboard. I could relate to Rue’s (Zendaya) description of depression and Kat’s (Barbie Ferreira) insecurities but then there was this thing about the show that was just exaggerated. I related to these character’s yet I didn’t in a way.
While watching the show and looking at how troubled the teens had become – even though I currently am living in a time these teenagers are – I couldn’t see myself in them. And this is exactly where Euphoria fails. With all the graphic scenes and dramatic scenarios, it forgot to tone down it down. It just aimed at being shocking and not exactly authentic. Which in turn just made it more cliché. Yes, it’s better than other shows at portrayal, but not too different.
The Characters and How Relatable They Were
I’ve already told you how I feel about the show. I like Euphoria and most of it is because of its characters. You see the show doesn’t really have a very intriguing plot. It’s the same as it was in Trinkets. There’s no big plot, yet the characters are the strength of the show. At the center, we have Rue who is flawlessly played by Zendaya but her character isn’t the one that takes the plot forward. The one plot that the show has is around Hunter Schafer’s character Jules. And I’m just going to go off-topic for a bit because I am so happy that they’ve actually cast a transgender actress to play a trans role.
Now Rue (Zendaya) is who you relate with, yet the story of the show revolves around Jules. We see her vices, her mistakes and how she ends up in a predicament and Rue tries to help her out of it. Jules is the romantic lead. She’s what keeps the plot of the show going. Rue (Zendaya) narrates it and then introduces characters. All the characters in Euphoria, be it Barbie Ferreira’s Kat or Jacob Elordi’s Nate, Maddy, and all others get 15 minutes at most to build up a proper character arc for themselves. They’re introduced, you get to know what problem ails them, you kind of start feeling sympathetic for them and then the show forgets them. It comes back to Rue and Jules again.
I liked how there are so many different characters and the problems they represent. I just felt so unsatisfied by the end. And I might be being unfair because there is a Euphoria season 2 coming up and we might get more intel on all the other characters but I highly doubt it. You know all these characters and start feeling for them, but then they take this dramatic turn and all that was relatable just flies out the window.
Is Euphoria Worth Watching?
Yes. Yes, it is worth watching. Even with its flaws which to be honest aren’t really that many, Euphoria is a good show. A bit hard to watch sometimes but good nonetheless. It reminded me of that one tag that was given to Gossip Girl that the show was a parent’s nightmare. They were wrong. Euphoria is the nightmare yet also a reality for so many teenagers today. It’s a bit exaggerated but it’s about serious things and showing them in a light that’s not romanticizing them. And that is a start. A first step to actually portraying stuff that is real and needs to be discussed.
Plus, Zendaya is phenomenal in it.