Winter break gave me the opportunity to explore a variety of shows and movies that I had been meaning to check out. The show that tops my list of recommendations is the HBO original series Euphoria. I should begin with a trigger warning: Euphoria deals with subjects that many individuals may find disturbing, including drug abuse, mental illness, and suicidal thoughts or actions. Please watch and read at your own discretion.
To be honest with you, I didn’t really know what I was getting into. I heard that Zendaya portrayed the main character and that was why I initially started the show. She has been a part of many projects that I have enjoyed in the past. For other cast members, however, Euphoria is their debut. I will admit that I often only watch shows with actors I know to be good. This show was no different. The initial selling factor was the fact that Zendaya was in it. I had no clue what the show was about, but I predicted that it had to be good. I was right, but not because of my initial reasoning. Of course, Zendaya was amazing in her portrayal of Rue Bennet, a teenage girl dealing with change amidst her drug addiction. The show is so much more than this one character, however. Take Angus Cloud for example. He plays the role of Fezco, Rue’s drug dealer. Cloud didn’t audition but was recruited by the Euphoria casting director while working at Chik-Fil-A. To read more about Angus Cloud’s experience on Euphoria, click on this link.
There are many things that draw me to this show. First, as a psychology major, I find the subject matter very interesting. I like that the show touches on so many important yet stigmatized subjects such as mental illness, addiction, abuse, and consent. As a society we often overlook these subjects. This show is good as it doesn’t glamorize these issues. The dark secrets and reality of different mental health disorders are revealed and explored throughout the series. Another thing that is done well is the attention to representation of different communities. Specifically, the representation of the LGBTQ2s+ community is well done.
All these things are complemented by the cinematic techniques. Specifically, the use of characters in a non-traditional sense allows for the viewers’ unique frame of reference. The main character varies from episode to episode, allowing for a more in depth exploration of each. Euphoria gives each of the characters’ point of view space to be explored and may even dedicate an entire episode featuring their perspective.
The episodes also vary in format and style. They range from being mega artistic, or “euphoric”, to an entire episode told in one scene oriented around a single conversation. The viewer gets to experience the story through many different cinematic methods.
Euphoria is an experience, a journey. There is no other way to put it. No two episodes are the same in content or cinematic technique. Each character is distinct and vitally interconnected to the playout of the plot. Even though much of the subject matter is heavy, the creators find ways to bring light to the situation. This is mainly done through relationships between the characters. This is real life on screen. Life is not glamorized, and the portrayal is spot on.
Make sure to catch new episodes every Sunday at 10 pm ADT or watch season 1 on Crave or any other HBO provider.