One Tree Hill. Gossip Girl. 90210. For as long as anyone can remember, teen TV shows have been plagued by one-dimensional characters, white-washed casting and highly unrealistic plots twists (xoxo, Dan Humphrey…), not to mention the casting of actors over a decade out of high school.
But when Euphoria landed on HBO in June, it felt like young people were finally being portrayed in a way that reflects real life – yes, everyone was still extraordinarily beautiful, but their experiences, identities and deep-rooted issues were written with complexity and nuance.
While we mourn the end of season one and that high-drama, painfully ambiguous finale, here’s seven reasons why the gloriously messy series captured (and capsized) our hearts.
First things first, each episode was visually stunning, seamlessly produced, and filmed in a way that dragged you right into the turbulent, trippy mental states of each character.
the fucking aesthetic of this show is next level #EUPHORIA
Euphoria incorporated LGBTQ+ characters and relationships into its plot with sensitivity and depth, without turning it into a big deal. We see Jules (gloriously depicted by Hunter Schafer) struggle with her gender identity, but we also see a thousand other sides of that identity too. There’s body diversity, body dysmorphia and a shit load of nudity, as well as more racial diversity than high school-based shows have typically portrayed. Gossip Girl reboot: take notes!
love that euphoria created a trans character and didn’t make it a huge deal that they’re trans, they just normalized it. now THATS inclusivity.
With a starry cast including Zendaya and Storm Reid, it’s hard to believe Euphoria was Hunter Schafer’s first acting job. Her mesmerising debut as Jules had us gawping at the screen multiple times an episode and we’re pretty sure she’s about to take over the world.
Addiction. Being so depressed you physically can’t get up to pee. Bingeing Love Island as a coping mechanism. Mania. Self-harm. Leaked nudes. Abusive relationships. An unwanted pregnancy. Drugs. Cheating. Cam girls… The show delves into issues most dramas have either over-dramatised, glossed over or get really, really wrong…
Who here doesn’t have one hundred screenshots of Euphoria looks clogging up the storage on their phone? Jules’ tutti-frutti palette and signature mini backpack. Kat’s corsets. Barbie Ferreira as Kat full-stop. But it was Alexa Demie’s character Maddy Perez that stole the show with her 90s/00s wardrobe and THOSE cut-out flares.
Multi-faceted characters had us constantly conflicted
The most morally sound character, Angus Cloud’s Fez, is also the local drug dealer. Though Jacob Elordi‘s Nate is one of the most sadistic sociopaths we’ve seen on screen in a while, the show’s deep-dive into his past highlights exactly why. And our dreamy Jules (spoiler) ends up shattering all of our hearts in the season finale. And suddenly, we’re all too invested in this mess to know what to think anymore.