Controversial Show “Euphoria” Releases Season Two on the True Inner Workings of High School Life

“Euphoria,” the highly acclaimed HBO show, aims to be an inside look into the lives of high school students, but how accurate is this portrayal? Are real high schoolers being exposed as intensely as the main characters who attend high school in “Euphoria,” or are the behaviors more fiction than fact? 

Generation after generation kids are gradually becoming more exposed to more explosive ideas, whether that be intoxicating substances, sexual interactions, or changes in behavior, a lot has changed. Most of this behavior we have seen within our high school– to a milder degree. 

The show follows teens who live in a vibrant setting of Los Angeles, California through their experiences of identity, trauma, drugs, and relationships. It might be hard to imagine the extreme  scenarios that students in “Euphoria” go through, but this behavior can be seen across many schools, not just in “Euphoria.” 

For this reason, the show is known for being the first to encapsulate the highs and lows of teenage reality. 

The production company A24 has a reputation for telling stories through vibrant videography. Popular films produced by A24 include Midsommar, Mid90s, Lady Bird, Waves, and, of course, “Euphoria.” In my opinion, the glittery aesthetic carried throughout the show pairs beautifully with the dark realities, but from another set of eyes, one could say the beauty of the show glorifies addiction, abuse, and mental issues. 

It’s difficult to draw a line between glorification and spreading awareness, and “Euphoria” must walk this line with its sensitive content and complex storytelling.  

The glamorous visuals of the show add a characteristic of beauty. Without it, the show wouldn’t be quite as spectacular and it would be quite unbearable to watch. The characters’ anxiety-ridden daily lives and their dysfunctional backstories filmed with an artistic eye create a unique juxtaposition. Their relatability makes us, as spectators, root for them during unsettling scenes in every episode.

A relationship is what you begin to develop with characters in almost every show you watch, but with “Euphoria” especially. Watching a group of teenagers fall in love, question everything, and make destructive decisions can both influence young viewers to do the same or realize consequences follow.

Zendaya stars in the show as 17-year-old Rue Bennett who has a history of personal drug abuse. At first, we see Rue come home after rehab and her mom and sister are excited for her to begin a new life without substance abuse–but Rue has other plans. 

She immediately relapses into addiction and explains to viewers that the reason she became addicted was that drugs make her feel the sensation of euphoric nothingness that she can’t get anywhere else.

The way she explains drugs is so alluring and tempting to viewers who have never felt free in this way. We think, is this what I need to be happier and eliminate my anxiety? But, as said before, actions have consequences. The show then cuts to Rue’s backstory where she had a more optimistic future without the introduction of drugs…

After, Rue goes on and off until eventually overdosing which not only changed the course of her life but the lives of those around her. Seeing Rue’s tumultuous journey with addiction gives viewers a new perspective on substance abuse. Sensitive topics and situations take place throughout the show. Is the show normalizing this behavior or taking action and showing viewers that this behavior is not ok and needs attention? 

I think both are true, and “Euphoria” not only shows the realities of high school through substance abuse but also educates viewers on the actions that can lead to permanent damage not only in the show but in the lives of viewers.