Euphoria: A glittery cautionary controversial tale of being a teenager


Marcell Rev | WarnerMedia Pressroom

Amber Sanchez

HBO’s mega-hit show “Euphoria” is known to be polarizing and controversial. With its second season, the series has sparked even more controversy.

The show is about teenagers navigating their lives amid drugs, family and relationships. Often noted for its aesthetically pleasing cinematography and makeup looks, it is also noted to be “groundbreaking” with its raw portrayal of teenagers and the struggles that they face.

With the first episode of the second season airing on Jan. 9, two main issues have drawn criticism from viewers: excessive nudity and the depiction of drug use.

Cassie Howard, one of the main characters, has been navigating issues of self-identity and abandonment due to her father leaving. She tries to cope with her problems by falling into relationship after relationship.

Sydney Sweeney, the actress who plays Cassie, has defended the writer of the show, Sam Levinson, for her character’s storyline

In an interview with The Independent, Sweeney praises Levinson for being open to her qualms of unnecessary nudity.

“Sam is amazing,” she said. “There are moments where Cassie was supposed to be shirtless and I would tell Sam, ‘I don’t really think that’s necessary here.’ He was like, ‘OK, we don’t need it.’ I’ve never felt like Sam has pushed it on me or was trying to get a nude scene into an HBO show. When I didn’t want to do it, he didn’t make me.”

Sweeney’s interview brings attention to an overarching issue in acting where women are prone to be diminished of their notability as an actress due to portraying nude scenes.

However, fans of the show are still critical of the writer. Though Sweeney may have felt comfortable, fans asked why so many unnecessary nude scenes were written for her character in the first place.

“idk why people are being dense in the comments. The point is that it’s really messed up and gross that am levinson felt the need to have sydney be topless THAT much, especially since she’s portraying cassie (a minor) in the show,” a Twitter user wrote.

The other main issue with the new season is the glamorization of drug usage, sex and violence. Recently, the Drug Abuse Resistance Education, or D.A.R.E., accused the show of glamorizing drug usage, sex and violence. The organization has offered to collaborate with the writers of Euphoria to craft the right approach to these topics.

Fans of the show were quick to defend the show, saying that D.A.R.E. does more harm than good.

“Didn’t they prove that D.A.R.E. actually made drug use numbers go up among school aged children cause they didn’t even know about drugs until they came into their schools?” a user tweeted.

Another Twitter user agreed, saying, “I guarantee you D.A.R.E. created more teenage drug addicts than Euphoria could ever dream to.”

Samuel Getachew noted in a Vogue article that while some of the events in the show line up with things they witnessed in their own high school life, the star-studded cast and aesthetics do not illustrate the real-life consequences of their actions.

Though some fans say that the events of Euphoria match up with the events that happened in their high school, some say that the consistent wildness is not realistic at all.

Teenagers who watch the show might be influenced by its depiction of the subject matter. Recently, a 16-year-old teenager in France passed away due to a drug overdose. NewsWep said that the teen was trying to imitate one of the scenes from Euphoria.

It’s notable to say that Zendaya, who plays Rue, made an Instagram post at the premiere of the first episode advising viewer discretion.

“I know I’ve said this before, but I do want to reiterate to everyone that Euphoria is for mature audiences,” Zendaya wrote. “This season, maybe even more so than the last, is deeply emotional and deals with subject matter that can be triggering and difficult to watch. Please only watch it if you feel comfortable. Take care of yourself and know that either way you are still loved and I can still feel your support.”

Overall, the show has captivated the masses for better or for worse. Beyond the glitz and glam, the show essentially depicts teenagers that desire to be accepted for who they are while being immature in their decisions. And isn’t that what being a teenager is all about?