The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
You might have seen one of the many Tiktok videos going viral that start with; ‘People think Euphoria is unrealistic but _____’ .While most of these videos are a joke, I wanted to delve into some facts and analyze if Euphoria is supposed to be some messed up alternate reality, or if it is really based on the modern world we live in.
Lets look at some of the major elements:
Teenage Drug use
Personally, when I started watching Euphoria, it shocked me how young the characters were that are using hard drugs. All of the main characters are between the ages of 17-18, and Rue specifically is 17. We know that Euphoria is an American show, but there is never actually a state identified in it where the characters live. Teenage drug use statistics vary state to state, so since there is no established, real-life setting in the show, I will provide some general statistics.
According to the NCDAS, “Youth drug abuse is a high-profile public health concern, with at least 1-in-8 teenagers abusing an illicit substance in the last year.” This is accurate to the show, since Rue can count as one in eight of the characters. However, Rue uses and buys mainly pills, many of which are opioids. Another research study states that, “Between 1999 and 2016, overdose deaths involving synthetic opioids, heroin, and prescription opioids increased 2,925%, 405%, and 95%, respectively, among individuals aged 15 to 19 years.” Clearly, from this data we can gather that the use of drugs extends to all age groups, and has increased over the years. Rue’s case is a severe one for her age, but unfortunately, not one that is unrealistic.
Euphoria caught many people’s attention in the first season because of the flashy way they filmed the parties. It’s no wonder that Euphoria themed parties have blown up. From experience, the parties seemed realistic to an average high school party, but much more extravagant and extreme. Teen drinking is showcased, which statistically is common in high-schoolers. The Monitoring the Future (MTF) survey, a national study that includes approximately 50,000 8th, 10th and 12th graders each year, indicates that 62% of all high school seniors report drinking in the past year and 39% report doing so in the past 30 days.
The thing that is not realistic, to me, is that the law enforcement in their town would not find out about and bust such a big party. Throughout the show, the parties involve people jumping off the roof into pools, loud music playing, fights, excessive teen substance abuse, and sometimes drunk driving. In reality, unless the houses were completely secluded, I doubt they would be able to get away with all of the ruckus they cause without police intervention and even some arrests.
Fashion and pop culture
The fashion and pop culture aspects of the show have been a stand-out feature that distinguishes Euphoria from the rest. Although I think most people would agree that the average teen does not dress just like Maddy, all of the outfits showcased in the show are trendy and authentic to teens today. Brands such as IAMGIA and Revolve have blown up since their pieces were worn by characters on the show.
As for pop culture, many modern references are made throughout the show. Euphoria consistently brings attention to issues surrounding dating apps, social media, and internet usage in teens. For example, from last season Jules uses dating apps to meet with the misleading profiles made by both Nate and his Dad. In this season, as Kat struggles with self love, Euphoria addresses toxic positivity within the scene of modern self-help influencers. In that sense, Euphoria is relatable since technology has a profound influence on the new generation.
My personal conclusion is that while Euphoria has many odd and abstract elements, the core of Euphoria is based on real-life issues and modern culture. Euphoria is its own world, but one that closely resembles our own. The show thus draws attention to some of the most gruesome aspects of real life, which forces us to confront the uncomfortable reality that they do really exist. All in all, although Euphoria is just a television show, it has a real life basis, and we should continue to be more aware of some of the issues that are showcased.