Four Reasons Why HBO'S 'Euphoria' Is Exactly What Society...
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Four Reasons Why HBO'S 'Euphoria' Is Exactly What Society Needs Right Now

The raw, uncensored tale of a young girl's drug addiction is everything television didn't know it needed.

Four Reasons Why HBO'S 'Euphoria' Is Exactly What Society Needs Right Now

On June 16th, HBO released a new show called 'Euphoria'. It was created as an adaptation of the Israeli version by the same name, starring Zendaya as the main character Rue. The story begins right as Rue gets out of rehab following an overdose, and shows her daily progression after the fact as she goes back to school and meets a new friend. So far, only three episodes have come out, but in the small amount of content the public has seen, 'Euphoria' has proven to be progressive and raw in other ways that teenage-based shows lack. From sexuality to the reality of drug use, 'Euphoria' portrays modern-day life for teens in a way never before seen, and although the content may be hard for some people due to its explicit nature, I believe it will have an overall positive impact on the way society views entertainment from here on out, and here's why.

1. Sexuality is discussed in a real, politically correct way.

In the third episode, one of the characters, Maddy, finds male nudes in her boyfriend, Nate's, phone. However, instead of freaking out and using slurs, and questioning his sexuality in a negative way, she has a real, respectful conversation about it with her friend, Kat. Kat explains to Maddy that sexuality is a spectrum and that just because he has male nudes doesn't mean he's one-hundred-percent gay. The only reason it was even a big deal that Nate might not be straight was because he's involved with Maddy, who is a cisgendered female, and he may be cheating on her. But, the context of the conversation remained respectful the entire time and it didn't become homophobic in any way. They didn't judge him or criticize him in any way because even if he was gay or somewhere on the spectrum other than one-hundred-percent straught, it didn't matter. Sexuality is no longer taboo for young adults like it used to be, and 'Euphoria' doesn't hide that fact in any way.

2. One of the main characters is transgender, but it isn't turned into a plot point.

In the first episode, we're introduced to a character named Jules. One of her very first scenes, we see her administering a hormone injection to herself, as well as scrolling on a male, gay dating app. This reveals to us that she is transgender without saying it, and without turning it into a joke or a writing device. The next time her transgender status is brought up is the third episode, in which she talks about how hard dating is for her because the people at their school now she's trans, and a guy on her dating app named ShyGuy118 (who ends up being Nate, which she has yet to find out) asked her when she started transitioning. Throughout all of these moments, it's naturally brought up and not used as a plot device, and it isn't mentioned or made to be a big thing at any other point. Even when Rue, the main character, starts to fall for her. There's never once a conflict where Rue goes 'I like her, but she's trans', it isn't even brought up at all. The way this show goes about acknowledging the fact that Jules is trans is exactly how every transgender person in the real world wants to be – and should be – treated. Like a real person, who's identity does not determine the narrative of their life or their relationships whether platonic or not.

3. Drug use isn't glorified, and it doesn't glorify what it does to the people in your life, either.

In the first episode, it is revealed that when Rue overdosed in her home, her younger sister Gia found her. In the third episode, a fellow Narcotics Anonymous attendee Ali starts to ask Rue about her overdose. Rue talks about how Gia was thirteen at the time, and Ali goes on about the effect drug use has on your loved ones, especially young, impressionable ones. In this short sequence, Ali highlights the real consequence of hurting others second-hand by your own drug use, and how dealing with a loved one's drug abuse at a young age can screw someone up for life. This show doesn't glorify drug use, it doesn't show Rue having an amazing time while abusing drugs, being happy and it not affecting anyone, including herself. Every time we see Rue using drugs she looks worse than before and each time she gets high is so painfully trippy, to the point where it makes my stomach sick. It portrays the real effects of slowly killing yourself with drugs and the effect that has on the people who love you.

4. Teenagers often like to rush to grow up, prompting them to engage in secret lives, and 'Euphoria' doesn't ignore that fact.

Whether it's Jules partaking in adult dating sites and meeting with adult men, or Kat posting inappropriate videos of herself on a pornography site, or the rampant amount of nudes and sexual activity shown on screen, it becomes quite clear to the audience that these kids are eager to grow a bit bigger than their britches. To me, this came as no surprise, and I appreciated the candid and raw way they went about it all. I graduated high school just a few years ago now, so I remember what it was like to want so desperately to grow up and partake in adult activities. Now I look back and realize how highly illegal it all is, and it's no different on the show either, but that doesn't mean it doesn't happen. High school aged kids are so eager to grow up they would do anything to do so, and while that might be a bit of a shock for some, older audiences, it doesn't make it any less real, whether adults know it or not. And, despite the illegality of most of the activities shown on screen, I applaud the show for not shying away from being candid about it all. It's honest, and it creates a more open dialogue for what these kids put themselves through, and why.

Despite Euphoria's graphic and rather intense nature, it doesn't change the fact that it accurately portrays modern-day high school students and life exactly how it should be. Life is graphic and intense, especially for a drug-addicted teen like the main character Rue, and I am glad a show finally got it right, no matter how extreme it is.

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