There is a new show in town and it is commonly known as ‘Euphoria’ and I am just slightly obsessed with it! The new HBO Drama created by Sam Levinson, stars Zendaya, Jacob Elordi and Hunter Schafer. It also features a stunning supporting cast of actors, which for many, is their first mainstream appearance! The show deals with a multitude of themes throughout its 8 episode run, including but not limited to; sexual repression, violence, substance abuse, depression & other mental illnesses and gender identity. It is a groundbreaking and confronting series for many reasons and breaks a lot of traditional barriers that previously produced teenage-themed shows did not engage with.
I watched this show over a period of three days as I waited until the entire season had been completed to watch it. It was certainly worth the wait. The entire cast does an impeccable job at making the show believable and generally relatable for the teenage angst and struggles that our generation faces in day to day reality. With Drake as an executive producer and Zendaya as the lead actress, the show has a lot of mainstream attention and for necessary and good reason. The show is important! So much so that it has been picked up for a second season, which is certainly great news for someone who has seen the final episode and wants some answers! I assume by now you can understand that I loved the show and think it is a must-watch for the young adult age bracket! Without any more ramblings from myself, here are 10 reasons why you NEED to watch Euphoria.
1. Incredible Representation
I think one of the features of this show that you notice straight away is the diversity in the cast. For starters, a black actress (Zendaya) portrays the leading role of Rue. Her family is interracial, which is not as often portrayed through television as you may think! Just this simple portrayal breaks down barriers and shows a wider diversity than a lot of other shows on the air. The secondary lead Jules (Hunter Schafer), is a transgender actress, who made her acting debut in this series! It is incredibly rare to see an actual transgender actress play a transgender role (you wouldn’t think), and even rarer for them to play a leading role. This makes the show an incredible milestone for this community but also for television representation in general, setting precedent for future projects involving trans characters! Aside from the lead characters, there is a mix of every ethnicity in this show and it is great to see such diversity, because that is what an accurate representation of school society truely looks like.
2. Challenges Social Norms
Euphoria challenges social norms and tropes which far too many other teenage shows continue to perpetuate. Such norms that filter into the stereotypes we perceive around us today. Let me give you some examples;
– Kat (Barbie Ferreira), who is plus sized, is popular and sits with the ‘popular girls’. Most TV shows place skinny blonde girls as the typical popular archetype. Kat is neither, but better. She isn’t afraid to speak up and have her voice heard and she certainly is not silenced by the other girls in the group!
– Nate (Jabob Elordi) is the typical jock archetype, but he is evidently sexually repressed, which causes a lot of issues in the show. The show also touches indirectly on parental influences on their kids and the systematic nature of certain behaviours which can be passed down.
– The relationship between Zendaya and Jules and how labels are very minimal in this series. No one is set into a gender or sexual identity, and like Maddy states “it’s a spectrum.”
3. Body Positive
One of the main supporting cast members Barbie Ferreira (who plays Kat) is plus size and proud! She’s not only secure in her body, she flaunts it! Her wardrobe is probably the most fashionably diverse in the entire show and she makes it known to her school and the town around her. It was great to see representation in that way and to see someone who is plus sized, portrayed in a positive way. We far too often see these characters shunned or made to feel bad about their weight and body, when in reality there is nothing to feel bad about? A character who is insecure about her weight or body may be relatable to a lot of people, but a character who is secure in her body and weight is revolutionary in this day and age, because that is the kind of character who is going to empower other people to feel the same way! If all you see is characters who are insecure about their body, then it isn’t really going to transform your view of yourself, if you are someone who does get insecure about their body!
4. Raw Portrayal of Substance Abuse
The show deals with a lot of topics, but substance abuse is a stand out. Rue (Zendaya) is an addict herself and as the show progresses you learn more about her, her addiction and the ways it has effected her and her families lives. She has overdosed, been through rehab and more. All this before the age of 18. It is heartbreaking to think about and you see in a particular scene the reaction she has from being denied drugs. What the show does nicely is not romanticise the drug use. I thought from all the fantasy elements in the trailer and the colours and spectacles that it would romanticise the use of drugs. It does not. It confronts the viewer with everything that can occur as a result, and how it is not just yourself who is harmed through addiction but the relationships around you.
5. Up and Coming Supporting Cast
The cast of the show are very mixed in their acting background and I think an aspect that was able to sell these characters in a way that was so relatable was the fact that most of the actors are up and coming. Aside from Zendaya of course who is already well known, the rest were all in some way newcomers. Although Jacob Elordi was in The Kissing Booth and became pretty well known through that, I still consider him a newcomer as his fame has only taken off in recent year or so. Like I said either, Hunter Schafer (who plays Jules) is a first time actress, making her debut in Euphoria (you would not think this is her first acting role!). Other cast members include; Barbie Ferreira, Sydney Sweeney, Maude Apatow (daughter of Judd Apatow & Leslie Mann), Alexa Demie, Storm Reid (from ‘A Wrinkle in Time’) and more! All of which, do not have large acting catalogues, making it even more interesting to see new stars being made!
6. Strong Acting From The Entire Ensemble
Following on from the point made above, the ensemble did a really commendable job at working their roles together. The cast had chemistry and it flowed together in a cohesive manner. Each individual character fit into the storyline and it was assisted greatly by each actors ability to convey the emotion and turmoil that each character was experiencing.
7. Stellar Makeup Artistry
The makeup artistry was unlike anything I have ever seen. It was somewhat of a fantasy style makeup, with lots of glitter, rhinestones and cool tone colours! It was a complex and spectacular work of art that was made unique to each character, their personality and behaviour. Doniella Davy (the lead makeup artist for the show) was responsible for these amazing makeup looks. It truely gave that extra zing to the scenes and made each scene more entrancing and individual.
8. Beautiful Cinematography
The cinematography was transportive and beautiful. The colours and visuals were electric. I personally loved the cool tones and angles that they used to shoot certain scenes. They did birds eye view, side angles etc. It was diverse in its cinematography and I think that’s definitely a reason why each scene felt unique and special. It is something you have to see for yourself!
9. Graphic and Uncensored
One of the main topic of conversations that is surrounding the release of this series is the graphic nature of the show. It does not shy away from the taboo side of film and tv. To some this may not necessarily be a positive but I certainly believe that it is a massive asset. It is not like Riverdale or Pretty Little Liars. The show, while about teenagers, is certainly not made to be viewed by them but instead it is more so for the adult category or 17+. This is because they are utilising the graphic nature of the show to portray the reality of sex, relationships, drugs, violence etc. It also does not censor language, which means the dialogue seems much more realistic than the typical teenage TV series.
10. A Perfect Soundtrack
Well I will let the soundtrack speak for itself! However, some of favourite features are from the likes of Lizzo, ROSALÍA, Sasha Sloane, Labrinth, Kali Uchis and Bobby Womack’s cover of Frank Sinatra’s ‘Fly Me To The Moon (In Other Words)’.