If you have been fortunate enough to have access to the internet and streaming services for the last few years, then there is an extremely good chance that you have heard of the show Euphoria, championed by former Disney star Zendaya. Euphoria is the one show that has been recommended to me the most, and it has well deserved every bit of hype. It centers around a recovering drug addict, Rue, as she navigates her relationship with the new girl in town and her friends’ respective struggles throughout high school. It is praised most for its costumes and makeup, with Euphoria themed parties reigning in popularity alongside cowboy and other party themes for college students. As much as I enjoyed the show the first time I watched it, my second binge, and now anxiously awaiting for the pandemic conditions to allow season 2 to begin filming, I recognize that it is a very complex piece of art with many factors to consider before telling someone that they should watch it, too.
Another thing to consider is that Euphoria isn’t the most accessible show streaming right now. It is only accessible through an HBO Max subscription, which is available as an add-on through Hulu. It is important to remember that some people may have a membership to one or the other or neither, and no matter how much you rave about the glittery eyeshadow and how they just have to see it, they might not be able to afford to.
The cast of Euphoria is wonderfully diverse. The main character, Zendaya’s Rue, is Black and queer. Other leads, Jules and Kat, are transgender and plus size, respectively. There is a large mix of races, genders, body types, and sexualities represented throughout the 8 episode season, and they all get at least 1 full episode to unpack their identity. This is the best approach to representation I have seen on TV in a long time, maybe since Orange Is The New Black. I recommend this show highly based on the diversity alone, and Zendaya recently made history by being the youngest actress to win the Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actress and doing so as a Black woman. However, race is not something that is discussed on the show. Recently, people have been wanting to consume more movies and television that reflect Black stories in the wake of the BLM movement. If you are recommending a show to someone looking to either be represented by or learn about the Black experience, Euphoria is not the show to name. Other works that would be more appropriate in having a conversation about race also on Hulu include Black-Ish and Good Trouble.
I love rhinestone outfits and pretty white boys on my tv screen as much as the next person does, but we all need to be more considerate with the ways we interpret and share media together.