The first season of “Euphoria” on HBO was a whirlwind phenomenon. Despite only being eight episodes, the complex drama showed its viewers a different point of view of a not so typical teenager. Euphoria explores various situations, from losing their virginity before junior year to becoming more aggressive with a parent. All of “Euphoria’s”characters have a traumatic backstory that makes the show more intriguing.
The music played during montages throughout the season expresses how characters are feeling, by themselves or in a group. For example, whenever rap music is played a character would be getting ready for a party, “getting hyped.” Alternative music is played when a character, Rue, is getting high.
At the beginning of each episode viewers get a look into the lives of different characters. This method is a nice introduction to the characters and builds up what’s to come for the rest of the episode.
At a young age, the show’s protagonist Rue, played by Zendaya, was diagnosed with several mental disorders, such as obsessive compulsive disorder, attention deficit disorder, general anxiety disorder and impulsive bipolar disorder. The only time she didn’t feel as if she were crazy was when a nurse put her on valium at the hospital. That was the beginning of her downward spiral. Rue’s drug abuse had gotten so out of hand that she almost dies of an overdose.
Zendaya is known for playing Rocky and K.C on the Disney Channel programs “Shake it Up” and “K.C Undercover” as well as for playing Anne in “The Greatest Showman” and M.J. in “Spider-Man: Homecoming” and “Spider-Man: Far From Home.” It is exciting to see her play this role. showing she can be a serious actress.
Jules, played by Hunter Schafer, is a transgender transfer student who befriends Rue, and their connection grows to unimaginable heights. Her presence helps Rue stay clean. Schafer is known for modeling, but she has skills in acting. To be playing a character like this must take a lot of studying, since she is not a transgender actress. She plays Jules as if she knew this character or someone who is like Jules. I wonder how Schafer feels in these intense scenes with Nate and his Father Cal. Jules had an awful childhood. Her mother didn’t accept her for who she is and tricked Jules into staying at a mental institution for years. Jules wanted someone to love her, so she would have sex with random guys. The last guy she slept with is the father of one of her classmates, Nate Jacobs, played by Jacob Elordi.
The cinematography of the show is superb. One scene in the first episode shows Rue snorting drugs in the bathroom. As she comes out, the hallway begins to spin. This gives the viewer an insight into how Rue feels: chaotic. “Euphoria” is a show whose writing doesn’t follow the stereotypes seen in “safe” teen stories. For instance, Nate is an overprotective boyfriend who likes to hold his girlfriend, Maddy, the head cheerleader, on a leash. Also, they like to get back at each other, meaning they will cheat. But they always seem to come back together even though their relationship is unhealthy.
Overall, Euphoria is show for teens and about teens. It’s a raw perspective on a new reality, a new normal. It’s nice to see something controversial. Something that is truthful. It gives people something to talk about other than politics.