Euphoria Reflects Teenagers’ Mental Health

Just Like Real Life but with a Better Soundtrack

HBOs original series Euphoria featuring Zendaya |by HBO

HBO’s original series “Euphoria” featuring Zendaya |by HBO

Brianna Devlin, Co-Editor-and-Chief

Drugs, sex, and abuse. All aspects that people who don’t attend high school call unrealistic and are too mature for younger audiences. Yet this is a big part of daily life for high school students.

The HBO series Euphoria was made in 2019, just recently releasing its second season this past January. The story follows Rue, a 17-year-old drug addict played by Zendaya, and surrounding characters in her life who try to cope with various struggles.

According to HBO, Euphoria Season 2 episodes are now averaging 16.3 million viewers, which is the best performance for any season of an HBO series over the past 18 years, other than “Game of Thrones.”

With mainly the views being Gen Z and teenagers, Euphoria can be seen as a reflection of their own experience. Touching upon relevant difficulties such as addiction, sexual assault, body dysmorphia, self-harm, sexual insecurities, and eating disorders.

This show is worth watching for the sole purpose of teenagers being able to relate to issues that are very realistic. To previous generations, the show can be depicted as a “Gen Z Breakfast Club” with all of the characters’ aesthetics. There’s the jock, cheerleader, cheerleader’s best friend, the drug addict, the “it” girl, the gay one, drug dealer, and the one who doesn’t feel they belong. Also, the amazing soundtrack is just like The Breakfast Club’s, the show uses older music from the 80s and 90s, as well as current songs. Representing a mixture of Gen Z’s pop culture and tributing to the originals.

With the oscillating plot twists and fast-paced narrative, Euphoria never gets boring. Constantly keeping you hooked whether it’s a turning point in Rue’s recovery or a fight between the toxic/ abusive relationship depicted by the cheerleader and the jock. With the show being extremely dramatic, it also demonstrated awareness of abuse and mental health. You can see signs of what the teens are going through based on what they wear to cover up bruises from their abusive boyfriend, or from insecurities about their sexuality based on how they treat their significant other.

Additionally, with the year being 2022, the show does a very good job of staying relevant and timely. Depicting several troubles that LGBTQ+ face including transitioning between genders, as well as defining their sexuality. This is depicted by Rue’s love interest Jules, who is a transgender female dealing with the world’s judgment. Throughout season one of the show, we see Rue and Jules fall in love as they both swim through the difficulties of defining their sexuality.

With past shows about teenagers scaling over these very real issues, this show really highlights them. This show is important to normalize LGBTQ+ struggles, not just in society but so that teens can realize they’re not alone. Additionally, with many mental health crises represented, awareness and signs of abuse and struggles are brought to attention by teenagers who can potentially help/notice this in their fellow peers.

Euphoria is not for everyone. With uncensored content and explicit language, it can be inappropriate for a younger audience. Although being an amazing show for various reasons, it can also trigger people who have gone through the struggles depicted in the show.

However, I highly recommend it, especially for teenagers. But I strongly advise doing the research beforehand just to make sure it is not upsetting to watch.