Drowning in Euphoria


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Madison Freeman, ENN Staff

Fashion, drugs, and partying are all major themes of the HBO original series, ‘Euphoria.’ The show has become a significant major hit for teens and young adults alike. However, with the popularity of the show, controversy has come along with it. Critics feel as though the show glorifies drug use and does not accurately portray the life of many high schoolers.

Some viewers are able to enjoy the show but also recognize it’s downfalls when it comes to its portrayal of high schoolers and it’s depiction of certain stereotypes. Senior, Skylar Parker, thoroughly enjoys the show but recognizes that it is not perfect.

“I personally loved what I’ve seen of ‘Euphoria’ so far the camerawork and editing was top notch, however I don’t think that the story accurately represents high schoolers that I’ve met, they could make it more accurate by not exaggerating as much and dial it down a notch,” Parker stated.

Another major critique of the show is that viewers noticed the lack of people of color, POC, characters and the way that POC’s of the show were written. Especially, character Chris McKay, who was sexually assaulted and traumatized in season one. However, this was skimmed over, largely ignored, and the focus was instead put on character, Cassie Howard, who was McKay’s white girlfriend. This left many fans outraged with writers of the show arguing that this gave them the perfect opportunity to talk about African American male victims of sexual assault and Black men’s mental health, which are not talked about enough on social media platforms and the writers instead chose to focus on a white womans trauma. Skylar Parker also feels as though his character’s storyline was not as developed as his white counterparts.

“Even though Black men can lust heavily for white women I feel that they shouldn’t have portrayed that in the show since McKay’s character didn’t really stand alone and was only important to Cassie, a white woman’s, storyline,” Parker stated.

While some critique the accuracy of ‘Euphoria’ to high schoolers life, others feel like it does portray the realities that many high schoolers face on a day to day basis and is one of the first teenage dramas to do so. Freshman, Charli Amoriello, thinks that ‘Euphoria’ truly shows what many high schoolers are going through.

“The social aspect of the show and the way the characters talk to each other makes it like what I see in my daily life and is overall very accurate. The show just shows the reality of what goes on in and out of high school,” Amoriello said.

‘Euphoria’ has also been criticized for romanticizing drug use and not showing the reality of addiction to its impressionable viewers. Some viewers like senior, Vidal Gray, feel that the show doesn’t romanticize drug use but can spark some viewers’ curiosity about experimenting with drugs.

“I don’t think ‘Euphoria’ romanticizes drug use. I think it’s real and shows how drugs are used. I don’t think that ‘Euphoria’ is accurate to many high schoolers’ lives but I think that it should be because they have a lot of fun and have a lot of independence. After I watch ‘Euphoria’ I’m like now I want to take their personality for a week,” said Gray.

While many young adults watch ‘Euphoria,’ the content portrayed is for mature audiences only and watching the popular series and other mature shows too young, can have a lasting impact on the minds of viewers. Child development teacher, Marisa Bonner, says that watching mature shows too early will affect young viewers for longer than most may think.

“If a viewer isn’t emotionally mature enough to handle the content of it, then that could cause some questions. Then a lot of the times, they aren’t mature enough to then go talk and get answers to those questions so they have some false information. Some shows glamorize certain things, I think ‘Euphoria’ does a good job of showing the reality of it while dealing with some hard issues that teens are going through. I think ‘Euphoria’ gives realistic insight into what some teens are going through and how they deal with it and the way they struggle, it covers a wide range of topics,” Bonner said.

‘Euphoria’s’ popularity has been magnified by social media and can be seen in teens’ clothes, makeup, and hair choices today. This shows just how influential the series is to its viewers and how it can inspire people to experiment with the way they look. However, senior Madison Martinez, feels as though the show has a lot of negative aspects that aren’t discussed enough.

“I think depending on where you live ‘Euphoria’ can accurately portray high school life but since it shows more of a suburban lifestyle, I don’t think it’s accurate because hardly anyone in the suburbs does hard drugs and is constantly out partying. I think the shock value of ‘Euphoria’ is what makes it good because no one’s really done TV like that before and it also caters to younger generations. I think ‘Euphoria’ makes it seem like addiction is cooler which I think is kind of odd. I think ‘Euphoria’ has made being camp more trendy as far as fashion goes,” Martinez stated.

‘Euphoria’ has shown many mature topics in great detail that have not been shown so vividly on TV in the past and with this has come great controversy about whether ‘Euphoria’ has done things the ‘right way’ and  the effects that it has on its young fans.