At first glance, euphoria is the epitome of what a cool teen show should be: it’s produced by rap extraordinaire Drake, it stars current teen superstar Zendaya Coleman, and the marketing doesn’t even use capital letters.
he didn’t look like his pictures
— euphoria (@euphoriaHBO) July 31, 2019
So why would a show that is so clearly about modern-day teenagers be so appealing to people of all ages? The answer is in the packaging. The show itself is so perfectly put together that you wouldn’t even realise that you’ve been sucked in until you find yourself craving the next episode.
The final episode will drop this Monday on Showmax, so we’ve created a list of five reasons why you should get caught up on euphoria before the finale.
1. The characters feel so authentic
It has been compared to Skins a lot, especially as it shows the gritty side of being a teen. But there is something about euphoria where you can tell this isn’t a group of middle-aged men trying to write about the teenage experience. Whereas Riverdale has teenagers running underground speakeasies and making references to ’50s TV shows, in euphoria the characters communicate via text, write fanfiction, watch Love Island – you know usual teen stuff. Even more than that, the show delves deep into personalities and histories of its’ diverse cast with each episode focused on a different character, while being narrated by Rue (Zendaya).
Rue is the ‘former’ drug addict who just left rehab and is back at high school, Jules is the transgender student who is new at their high school and immediately becomes best friends with Rue, Kat is dealing with being body positive and sex-positive without losing who she is, Maddy is in an abusive relationship with Nate and is struggling with the fact that she still loves him despite what he has done to her, Cassie is dealing with the sexual history that continues to haunt her, McKay is finding the transition from high school to college even harder than he expected, and Nate who has anger issues which mask his sexual insecurities. Each character is on their own journey but their stories intertwine in a way that makes the show itself fascinating.
2. The makeup is actually unbelievable
Gen Z is the generation that grew into adolescence with YouTube and Instagram makeup tutorials, they know their Fenty from their Urban Decay and Head of Makeup, Doniella Davy knows that. The looks on the show are so aspirational and so akin to the characters and their developments within the show, as the characters become surer of themselves, their makeup styles become more pronounced. Davy told Interview magazine, ‘This euphoria style of makeup already existed on Instagram. I’ve admired the freedom of expression that it inspires…I did put my own twist on it as a designer, but really, this is my ode to what Gen Z is doing right now.’
3. The acting is phenomenal
Zendaya has grown up on our screens, from her role on Disney channel’s Shake It Up with Bella Thorne to swinging in love with Spider-Man, but this is her most challenging role yet. She plays the role of Rue, who is not only dealing with her ramifications of drug addiction but the mourning of her father, the emotional connection she feels to Jules and making sure that her younger sister doesn’t make the same mistakes that she does. The nuance is so pronounced in Zendaya’s performance, that you feel the pain, the addiction, the need, the joy as she feels it, there is a scene in particular when she is crying in front of her drug dealer’s door, that shows just how much Zendaya has progressed and grown as an actress.
4. It tells an interesting story about toxic masculinity
The character of Nate is chillingly disturbing, he is packaged as the good-looking jock who dates the popular cheerleader. The type of character who in other teen shows and movies would be the romantic hero, but this version of the character is a little bit more similar to how this character would play out in real life. Episode Two delves into the character of Nate and how he equates to being a woman’s protector while also being an abuser, how possessive he is over his girlfriend, his problematic upbringing and the struggles that he faces with dealing with his own sexuality – however that doesn’t make him any less scary.
He is also a product of wealthy, white privilege, and you can see that in how he carries himself, the confidence he has in his abilities and how he can easily manipulate the system so that he does not have to face consequences for his actions. In fiction, the bad guys never win, but in real life very often they do, and seeing how other less privileged characters deal with this makes it even more interesting.
5. The cinematography makes each episode a piece of art
With cinematographers that include Marcell Rév, Drew Daniels, Adam Newport-Berra and André Chemetoff, each episode has such beautiful shots, that you will feel as if you have been transported on a journey along with the characters.
— gianna (@dayasdove) July 29, 2019
euphoria’s cinematography ???????? pic.twitter.com/GT4m3KoruG
— WORLD DOMINATION (@bellaajiimenez) July 24, 2019
The show has an age restriction of 18+ and also has nudity, violence, sex and language, so it is not suitable for all audiences.
You can watch the first seven episodes are available to stream on Showmax now and the finale will be available to watch, express from the U.S. on Monday morning.
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