An Honest Review Of 'Euphoria'

Serious themes include drug addiction, violence, pornography, and sexual assault.
PHOTO: Courtesy of HBO

The Long Plot, Sans Spoilers

Euphoria follows the story of 17-year-old Rue (Zendaya), a recovering drug addict who comes home after spending her summer in rehab. We're also introduced to Jules (Hunter Schafer), the new transsexual girl who just moved into town.

As with most high school series, the pilot episode kicks off with an upcoming party. Rue's first agenda is to get drugs from Fezco, her drug dealer. Jules, on the other hand, is busy scrolling through a dating app and decides to hook up with someone called Dominant Daddy. We're then introduced to the other main characters, Nate (Jacob Elordi), a rich jock, who's in an unhealthy relationship with star cheerleader, Maddy (Alexa Demie). The power couple is currently going through a break at the start of the series, and Maddy is determined to use jealousy to get back at him. Alongside Maddy are her friends, shy and body-conscious Kat (Barbie Ferreira) and the extremely confident Cassie (Sydney Sweeney).

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All the main characters end up at the house party. Euphoria then proceeds to highlight each character per episode while showing us how entangled their lives actually are. 

The Short, Honest Plot

Dicks, dicks, and more dicks! It's like every episode has to top the one before it in showing or discussing the ~appendage~.

Dick factor aside, Euphoria can be funny, but make no mistake, this show is not for the faint-hearted—it intends to elicit a visceral reaction. This is no Riverdale or Pretty Little Liars. Remember: This is the HBO version of a serious teen show.

The Actors And When You Last Saw Them
Zendaya as Rue

Zendaya has been acting and modeling since she was a child, but she started gaining international fame when she starred in the Disney Channel series Shake It Up. She's gone on to much bigger projects, starring in Spiderman: Homecoming, The Greatest Showman, and, most recently, in Spiderman: Far From Home.

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Hunter Schafer as Jules

20-year-old Hunter Schafer, trans actress, activist, and model, has been making waves both in politics and in the fashion industry since 2017. She was listed as part of Teen Vogue's 21 Under 21 feature and was even a plaintiff for a lawsuit against North Carolina's discriminatory bathroom bill. She's also modeled for big names in fashion like Dior, Miu Miu, and Versus Versace.

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Jacob Elordi as Nate

Australian actor Jacob Elordi is most notably known for his leading role in Netflix's The Kissing Booth.

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Barbie Ferreira as Kat

Advocate and model Barbie Ferreira was listed as part of Time's 30 Most Influential Teens feature in 2016. Barbie is known for making waves in the fashion industry, both as a model and being an advocate for body positivity.

Sydney Sweeney as Cassie

Sydney Sweeney is a talented actress who's appeared in critically acclaimed shows The Handmaid's Tale and Sharp Objects. Her most recent role is in Quentin Tarantino's Once Upon A Time In Hollywood.

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Alexa Demie as Maddy

Alexa Demie has appeared in a couple of movies like Mid90s and Waves, but Euphoria is her first big starring role.

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Storm Reid as Gia

16-year-old Storm Reid, who plays Rue's younger sister Gia, was the phenomenal star of the hit movie, A Wrinkle In Time.

Did You Know?

1. Euphoria's executive producer is none other than Drake! He also happened to star in a coming-of-age high school TV show, Degrassi: Next Class (2001 to 2009).

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2. HBO has never had a teen show prior to Euphoria.

3. One of the directors is Jennifer Morisson. You might know her from the hit TV show, Once Upon A Time.

4. Euphoria has just been renewed for Season 2!

5. Every single episode (besides the pilot episode, entitled "Pilot") is titled after a rap song.

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What I Think:

The thing I like most about Euphoria is its two lead actresses, Zendaya and Hunter Schafer, who manage to steal every scene they're in. Zendaya, who is absolutely amazing at her deadpan reactions, embraces being a struggling drug addict while still adding her comedic flair to this otherwise very serious role. She also *unreliably* narrates the show which often makes us understand the gravity of the situation and softens the blow of their grim situations. Hunter Schafer, on the other hand, is an ethereal beauty and a gem on the small screen. She is the breath of fresh air this show needs, with her childlike wonder and the intensity of how she portrays her character. There is no question, these two are the main reasons why people will love the show as well. Their chemistry is unbelievable and something I wish other shows had more of.

On the other hand, I keep forgetting that this show is a show about teenagers, and I somehow can't wrap my head around the storylines this show tackles. I applaud Euphoria for being aesthetically beautiful (with the coloring, framing, and direction), but the story leaves a lot of bad taste in the mouth once you remember these characters are all underaged!

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I would say the show is comparable to Skins (in terms of storyline) and 13 Reasons Why (in terms of intensity). The serious and, honestly, disturbing themes covered in Euphoria include drug addiction, violence, pornography, and sexual assault.

While I find it great that we're being exposed to what teenagers are experiencing right now, I also understand how this show will make people raise their eyebrows. I sometimes feel that Euphoria seems to want to shock us first, and then take the time to flesh out the situations the characters are in.

I'd Recommend It To:

Young adults who need to fill the void left by teen shows like Skins.

Follow Karl on Twitter and Instagram.

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