Euphoric or horrific?

“Euphoria” has a track record for leaving audiences in awe with it’s shocking scenes, but those scenes may be targeting a younger generation



Euphoria depicts the most extreme versions of the teen experience, but is it too extreme?

Bri Quast, Staff Writer

“Euphoria”’s dazzling makeup, dark drama, alluring characters, eye opening cinematography, unsettling scenes, and soul wrenching music by Labyrinth has captured the fascination of this new generation, and it’s popularity is only growing. Season two of “Euphoria” aired Jan. 9th of this year and captured 13.1 million viewers, which is double the 6.6 million average audience size season one drew in; however, while “Euphoria” is extremely enticing for the teenage audience, it may not be for all the right reasons. 

“Euphoria” carries very dark elements as the plot revolves around poor mental health — Rue who can’t stay clean from drugs, Maddie who can’t let go of her toxic relationship with her abusive boyfriend, and other characters that struggle with unhealthy obsessions. With this there are many graphic parts in the show, and while those parts can be unsettling, and brings the audience feelings of uneasiness, the audience stays enthralled and pulled in at the same time. 

Experts credit the fascination of the audience on this show to the shock factor. “Euphoria” portrays it’s most shocking scenes very well. The distortion of the scenes where Rue is high on drugs, the dramatic strobe light scene of Cassie mentally breaking down while she’s drunk, the scene of Nate drinking while driving that have the viewer on the edge of their seat. The endless and graphic nude scenes are shocking and uncomforting but the audience can’t turn it off.

The biggest concern expressed by critics is that “Euphoria” is portraying the teenage lifestyle in a distorted light and is romanticizing drugs and drinking. The creative and dramatic cinematography they use for filming the alcohol and drug scenes could entice the younger audience into thinking that doing drugs and drinking are a part of a great teenage experience. 

The directors are trying to show the audience the euphoric feelings of drugs and drinking, but they capture them in a way that wows the audience, and that is the problem. They make drugs and alcohol appear exhilarating, glamorous even, and it pulls young people in. 

The Drug Abuse Resistance Education program (D.A.R.E)  commented on “Euphoria,” saying the show “chooses to misguidedly glorify and erroneously depict high school student drug abuse, addiction, anymonous sex, violence, and other destructive behaviors as common and widespread in today’s world.”

On the other hand people also say that “Euphoria” is realistic in the way it portrays the feelings you get when you’re under the influence of drugs or alcohol. “Euphoria” creator Sam Levinson based Rue’s journey off his own personal experience, and believes his filming reflects the reality of drug addiction. 

“I think it’s crucial that film and television portray addiction in an honest way,” Levinson wrote. “That we allow for its complexities to play out. That we show the allure of drugs, the relief they can bring, because that’s ultimately what makes them so destructive.” 

There is also questioning behind all the nudity in the show, as the actors are supposed to be playing underage teenagers. In an interview with The Independent, Sydney Sweeney (the actress for Cassie), says she asked to remain clothed in certain shirtless scenes she was asked to do because she felt it wasn’t necessary. While the nudity isn’t uncomforting in itself, the audience has voiced that the excessive scenes can get to be too much. 

There is also a raised question of why Zendaya, a big Hollywood star who plays Rue, shows no skin compared to her fellow actors and actresses on the show, making the audience wonder if she gets more say in whether she wants to stay clothed or not because of her high reputation in the hollywood world. 

Despite the questionable aspects of “Euphoria,” it still holds the teenage world captive in it’s gritty fascinating world. Glen Sparks a professor in the Brian Lamb school of communication at Purdue university said this in an interview with USA Today, “People are wired to seek out novelty. We’re attracted to things we can’t see everyday. People are tuned in to see what it’s like; it’s a different kind of world than most people are used to and most people experience.”

No matter the graphics and controversy surrounding “Euphoria,” it still remains one of the most beloved shows for the new generation. The intoxicating cinematography paired with the story behind makes it an obvious choice for a great show. But still, a question remains about whether or not euphoria is an accurate and healthy portrayal of high school or not glorifying drug abuse. Whether or not “Euphoria” is accurate to the many things it sheds light on, it will still remain as a shocking tale that many viewers love and will continue to tune into for any new seasons to come.