Two words: glitter and gay. HBO hit original series Euphoria has done the impossible, managing to hold the attention of our flitting generation for over an hour each week with its stunning visuals, cheeky characters, and, at its core, a heart-wrenching love story between two of the most charming young women on TV right now. The show’s second season had a historic premiere for HBO, pulling in 2.4 million viewers last Sunday and cementing itself as a late-night must-watch. If you’ve managed to avoid the Euphoria buzz all this time, here is your chance to join us on our side of questionable morals, scandal and funky eyeshadow.
- No topic is left untouched, truly.
It seems like the high school students of Euphoria are undergoing every possible plight that teenagers have ever experienced. While the main character struggles with drug addiction, her love interest is navigating her sexual identity as a trans woman. Interspersed in their budding relationship, we see their classmates experiencing a mix of boy troubles, family drama and body dysmorphia. One of them is dealing with a complicated long-distance situation, another can’t seem to leave her on-again-off-again boyfriend and the last of the trio undergoes a massive, sexually empowering Dominatrix-esque transformation. Did they miss anything?
- every fit is better than the last.
Maybe the only unrealistic thing about Euphoria is that the people are showing up and showing out every day at school. Hunter Shafer’s character Jules is nothing short of a fairy, with her pink hair and mesh dresses and sequinned eyelids. Maddy, who’s played by Alexa Demie, is a real-life Barbie doll: all cropped tops, slicked-back ponytails and attitude. The show mainly follows Rue, who won Zendaya her Primetime Emmy Award, and despite her disinterest in the world and overall glass-half-empty personality, she still kills a sparkly eye look.
- Nate Jacobs may just be the scariest character on TV.
Other shows have serial killers and criminals, but Euphoria takes the cake with the biggest gaslighter, manipulator and blackmailer all rolled up into one person. The show dedicates an entire episode to understanding how exactly Nate Jacobs developed his alpha-male persona, which seems to make him even more threatening. While actor Jacob Elordi plays Nate at our boyfriends’ dream height of 6’5”, we hope that’s where the wishful thinking ends.
- We hate them, want to be them and feel bad for them at the same time.
Each character is given the screen time they deserve, so viewers can really dig into all the childhood trauma and morally gray psyches that everybody is apparently toting around. No one, not even the popular kids, is immune to the effects of bottled-up family resentment and high school drama. Do I want to be as charming as Cassie, the show’s resident pretty, nice girl played by Sydney Sweeney? Yes. Do I want her abandonment issues and subsequent inability to be alone? Maybe not so much (but I do still love her).
Euphoria proves how you can make some of your greatest memories in high school, but also some of your worst. It vindicates the teenage experience of millions of viewers who may have felt isolated or alone when going through it themselves. At the same time, the show also delves into realities that could be unimaginable to those same people, and that’s what makes it so captivating. We are essentially witnessing the growing pains of this weird, clunky group of young people; it might make you want to scream, it might make you want to cry, it might even make you want to look away, but it’ll definitely keep you hooked and show you firsthand the power of good TV.