The premiere of Euphoria on HBO is causing quite a stir amidst one shocking scene after another with an almost drug overdose, a featuring drug addict as the main character(Zendaya), sexual assault, and mental health issues. Surprisingly, this is only a portion of what the show entails. After watching the first intense, uncomfortable five minutes of Euphoria, I had to turn to another television program. I then realized that Euphoria makes other HBO shows, Game of Thrones and Big Little Lies, seem tame. However, the greatest concern with Euphoria is if it represents an accurate, teen reality.
The New York Times has plenty of evidence that goes against a wild, rebellious teenage world by showing the latest generation is part of the "cautious generation," which has been tamer than ever before. This is proven by declining drug and alcohol use, but an increase in suicide.
Personally, I graduated high school over a year ago and do not recognize the same high school reality that is portrayed in Euphoria. Of course, there were a lot of people with mental health issues as the primary concern among most students along with vaping and drinking, but most people were focused on schoolwork and getting into college.
Euphoria represents the most extreme example of teenage reality. Euphoria can be compared to similar reactions to 13 Reasons Why and if the plot of the show is actually depicted in real life. The main takeaway is all teenagers are messed up, which is not true. Since I'm 19, I know a lot about what teenagers and college students do on free time(it's definitely not getting high on drugs or alcohol for the majority of us). Truth is, college students have to work hard to create a life they want for themselves including being involved in activities, studying, or with friends.
Teenage life shouldn't be dark phase filled with lots of problems that seem too challenging to solve. Instead of being a young adult/teenage life should be filled with challenges, way less dark, and how to tackle common problems that build a stronger society. To be honest, it's exhausting to see a continuous stream of dark television shows that do not represent an accurate reality for young people. Instead of making teen life as dramatic for shock value only, we should aspire to make it meaningful by the use of language, positive social change filled with hope, and fun.
According to Common Sense Media, the following TV shows display positive role models for teen girls: blackish, Parks and Recreation, Buffy the Vampire Slayer. They also display positive television and movies for teens of all ages.
My final point is, not all television shows are bad. There's still a lot of good, meaningful programming. However, instead of being captivated by violence and darkness we can turn our attention towards media that influences the good in ourselves and make a difference of a lifetime. It doesn't have to be political, but instead, be a simple task of checking on your neighbor. This way we can help preserve positivity for the future generations to come through our love of television.