Euphoria: ‘Nothing in high school lasts forever’


by Olivia Berard, Copy Editor

“Euphoria”, one of the most popular shows currently, is some of the best television I have watched in a while. Even though it is rated TV-MA, there were times when I thought that rating was not harsh enough. Don’t get me wrong, I love this show. The cinematography, the characters, and the plot was incredible. The show is only available on HBO Max, a streaming service only available if you pay for the monthly subscription. I say the price is worth it just for this show. This series is not for the youth and people should be aware it deals with extremely heavy topics such as sexual assault, drug addiction, and violence. The show is extremely explicit, involving drugs, alcohol, sex, nudity and vulgar language. However, the plot of the show has so much more detail than we see on the screen. We witness teenagers travel through a messed-up, unrealistic high school experience. As the audience, we can sit back and watch as the whole plot unfolds in nobody’s favor. Although it’s all on the screen, the characters feelings were reflected onto the audience.

In the first episode of the first season, we meet Rue Bennett, a drug addict fresh out of rehab. She makes it very clear that she has no intention of staying clean. Rue is the main character throughout the two seasons. Viewers witness the real struggles of addiction: Rue relapses and sabotage relationships, shedding light on the unglamourous, life-ruining effects of drugs. We watch people come in and out of her life to aid her in her journey to becoming sober, and we watch other characters become roadblocks in her venture. There were a plethora of characters to keep an eye on. Some include Rue’s family, friends, and enemies. We see the building of each person, as they put the pieces together to create the character that we see on the screen. However, some characters aren’t fully developed. It also felt like we didn’t get a full understanding of each character’s relationship with one another. This part of the show felt unfinished throughout both seasons. I wanted to know more about how the characters relate to each other and why they were friends. Allegedly, there were also situations where the plot of the show went off track due to arguments the certain actors had with the director. Algee Smith, who plays McKay, had an altercation with the director and he was almost completely written off the show in season two. Also, Barbie Ferreira, who plays Kat, did not get written off, but we barely saw her in season two. I think she had a large character development in season one and it was cut off because of this in season two. 

One of my favorite parts of “Euphoria” was the cinematography. The lighting especially made everything feel more enhanced and dull at the same time. The director used the lighting in a way to either make a character look brilliantly awful or absolutely stunning. The dull light is to represent the issues some characters were going through. Along with the lighting, there were many times there was the use of color. The moments where there was color were the moments I questioned some of the characters and their intentions. The director included many other hidden things in the show. People all over social media have created theories on why things have been placed where they were and what they mean. It has been very interesting to see what other people have seen because there have been many hidden things in the show that I never noticed.

The music in “Euphoria” is exceptional. Labrinth, one of the music producers, is a brilliant artist and musician. He has added so much to the show with his music. He adds to the feelings of despair, excitement, and mystery all through the series in his music. To me, the music explained more than the actual acting at times. I love music, I always have and I think that since some of the storytelling was through music made the show more unique. Besides Labrinth, music was abundant at the end of each episode. The music includes alternative, rap, pop, and rock as the closing music for each episode. 

The clothes and makeup were absolutely unrealistic, but was an apparent factor added to the show. Maddy wears Y2K-inspired tracksuits, Rue wears baggy clothes, Cassie changes styles throughout the show to impress certain people, Kat turns into a goth mid-season one. On another note, the makeup was next-level amazing. The makeup done for each character was so specific to the type of person in the show. It was used to display the type of character the person was, for example, Maddy’s makeup was precise with gems.

Although Euphoria left much to be desired, it’s inarguably fantastic television. The show brings in some amazing cinematography and music, which when blended, was an incredible experience to watch. The show brought together relevant topics and unrealistic ideals onto the same TV screen. If you like dramatic shows, this is the show for you.