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My Euphoria Obsession Is Back and Better Than Ever

Oh, doing it all for love. Doing it all…

An accurate reflection of my own high school experience? No. Realistic makeup and clothing inspiration for a Tuesday in pre-calculus? No. But come 9 p.m. Sunday night, I am Zendaya-stumbling to the TV to watch the characters of Euphoria commit all kinds of sins. 

Euphoria-Tok is synonymous with the early days of quarantine. I feel teleported back to the glitter sprinkled days of LED lighting and Labrinth audios for dramatic transitions. The pandemic prevented me from attending the final days of my own high school tenure, so instead, I watched Rue kinda sorta go to school at a Southern California high school that looked a lot like mine. 

I think there’s an accepted acknowledgment of how a little over the top the show can seem. For starters, while the fashion of Euphoria could walk Milan runways, I was not dressing like Maddie and Cassie in high school. And yet, the show is a drastic turn from the 2000s and 2010s high school dramas I grew up watching. Shows such as One Tree Hill, Dawson’s Creek and My Secret Life Of An American Teenager had problems the Euphoria characters would laugh at. The high schoolers in these TV shows went to class, actually had backpacks and did cliche high school things. In Euphoria, the character’s problems are so dark and complex, no wonder the show doesn’t have a weeknight cable slot.  

So, why is Euphoria such a wildfire success if we all acknowledge its unrealistic nature? 

I have a theory. Euphoria’s hold on Gen Z has less to do with the actual plot and more to do with the community it has created. Euphoria has done the impossible—made a generation raised on season binging and streaming platforms hooked on cable television. Euphoria is old school. We have to wait every week to see what happens next. And we were also left hanging at the train station where Jules left Rue for almost 3 years. This waiting makes it so much better.

Accuracy is not what brings 2.4 million viewers to watch only the show’s second season premiere. The show even has the awards to back up the hype. Zendaya’s drastic turn as Shake It Up Disney Channel princess to a drug addict with a conscience as she takes form as Rue got her an Emmy. Is it the magnetism of Zendaya or captivating storylines or the green card to use bottles of glitter? Either way, while the world around us is burning to the ground, I can count on Euphoria being on at 9 p.m. EST every Sunday. 

Grace Shelby is a second year Political Science major at UCLA. Outside of her love for writing, Grace Shelby loves to go thrifting, hiking, and exploring the best independent book stores in LA.
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