Sunday, February 5, 2023

Euphoria’s Take on Teenage Experience

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Zendaya in a scene from Euphoria. Image/Eddy ChenHBOTNS

By: Daria Parker

Euphoria is a drama that takes place in a high school setting that shows the navigation of teens as they experiment with their sexuality, the use of drugs along with relationships. Known for its glittery aesthetic and phenomenal Emmy winning movie score by Labrinth, this show represents so much more than the “glittery” teenage experience many are deemed to believe.

Written and directed by Sam Levinson, Euphoria originally premiered in 2020 starring Zendaya, and other highly acclaimed Hollywood actors and actresses, like Jacob Elodori, Sydney Sweeney and Hunter Schafer.

When it comes to Euphoria this show explores the different parallels between mental health and how many teenagers cope with the illness by using drugs and other harmful things. The show is currently streaming the second season through HBO Max.

The story follows Rue, played by Zendaya, as she has just been released from rehab after a near death overdose. As the season continues, she befriends and essentially falls in love with Jules, played by Hunter Schafer, and ultimately relies on Jules to maintain her sobriety.

The show displays what it is like for a person who uses and doesn’t want to get clean but allows themself to get clean for that one person in their life. Although Rue is going through her own battle of trying to stay clean, Levinson writes other plots within the story that focus on the other characters and their own struggles and addictions.

“One thing from Euphoria that I believe is an accurate representation of what teens go through is finding a coping mechanism. Life throws curveballs at you, finding something you enjoy to overcome these obstacles, good or bad, is vital. Whether it be drugs, surrounding yourself with friends, partying, venting, etc. We all need an outlet,” Junior, Macaiah Robinson said.

Watchers witness a lot of mainstream issues that many are faced with today. Toxic masculinity, being closeted, the use of drugs, manipulation, gaslighting, body shaming, slut shaming and the discussion of mental health amongst men, all issues teens are faced with as they navigate “growing up” in this generation.

“For me Euphoria is a series that shows representation for everyone,” Raelyn Seabotl said. “I think that it is important to watch because not many shows that are televised today have such a diverse cast and storyline. It focuses on mental health and coming to terms with who you are by finding oneself through their mistakes, and I believe that’s a necessary and very cool thing to be able to watch on the screen.”

Watchers can expect a lot more of these problems to be explored in season two. In the episode that aired Jan. 16, 2022, we see a scene of the character Kat, played by Barbie Ferreira, having a dream and it is a bunch of Instagram models aggressively yelling “love yourself” after Ferreira’s character is going through a depressive episode. This is an accurate representation of the unhealthy obsession when it comes to toxic positivity that’s mostly expressed through social media and popular influencers with a large following. This examines the scenario of what it means to have self-love, and it means to have self-love just because society tells one, they should just wake up one day and automatically love themselves regardless of if they truly do.

Although Euphoria displays what many young adults are faced with, it is important to know and understand the trigger warnings of this show. There are other shows such as “Derry Girls” and “Sex Education” that examine the teenage experience without as many sensitive topics that are acted out on screen.

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