In the opening panoramas of HBO’s Euphoria , Zendaya’s attribute Rue narrates the trials of her childhood with a mix of self-pity and boredom.” I’m just fucking depleted ,” she deadpans. Incidents from her birth are interspersed with footage from 9/11, signaling that the display will be preoccupied with fights specific to the generation of kids born after the tragedy–begrudged, misunderstand Gen Z. The sequence culminates with a montage of now-teenage Rue stealing prescription drugs from her mother’s medicine locker.” At some point you make a choice about who you are and what you want ,” she says. Rue wants medicines, and Zendaya wants to be taken seriously as relevant actors.
The 22 -year-old’s post-Disney Channel TV debut certainly deserves to be taken seriously, as does the endeavours of the show’s charismatic ensemble casting. Created by Sam Levinson( son of famous filmmaker Barry Levinson ), Euphoria follows the lives of a group of high school students navigating friendship, partying, and sexuality. It may not sound like the most novel concept for a television show, but it’s never been done quite like this. Think the U.K. version of Skins with more emotional complexity and a lot more penis — 30 penises in one scene, to be precise, according to the dick detectives over at The Hollywood Reporter .
Based on an Israeli series of the same name, Euphoria em> is anchored by Rue, a 17 -year-old opioid junkie fresh off a stint in rehab. Spectators are almost immediately confronted with hard-to-watch flashbacks of the overdose that landed Rue in rehab and incidents in which she lies with ease to those she to worry about most. It would be a challenging role for any young actor, but Zendaya promptly demonstrates herself capable. In a particularly pain scene, she’s asked to improvise an oral presentation on what she did over the summer. She transmits an impressive assortment of excitements through her facial expressions alone as she echoes being hospitalized, goofing off with her little sister( Storm Reid ), and clashing with her widowed mom( Nika King ).
One of the most softly heartbreaking dynamics of the show is Rue’s strained relationship with her childhood best friend Lexi( Maude Apatow ). She prefers to spend time with her brand-new pink-haired, tennis skirt-clad BFF Jules, give full play to an infectiously likable Hunter Schafer, who she convened through her drug peddler. The theme of the protagonist upgrading to a newer, cool best friend is a classic element of teen drama, but that doesn’t make it any less effective.
In fact, Euphoria borrows spate of familiar stereotypes–the jock with a mood, the jealous lover, the girl who’s falsely labeled a slut by judgmental peers. Some of these are a bit heavy-handed, but often the performances of the young suns breathe new life into tired tropes. Barbie Ferreira is especially entertaining as Kat, whose adolescent aptitude for compose sexualized One Direction fanfic evolves into a secret fascination with the world of digital porn.
The artfully-shot series attains suburban America look like a neon disco dreamland full of palm trees, bowling alleys, and teenagers who are impossibly skilled at applying glittery eyeliner. It’s extremely aesthetically pleasing, even as it gives the harmful aberration of Rue’s reality. Nonetheless, Euphoria sometimes relies too heavily on the confuse effect of intoxicating visuals and loud, bass-heavy music. The party panoramas are among the show’s least interesting, and they’re probably the reason it’s being written off as sensationalized. But determined through the eyes of Rue, a self-proclaimed unreliable narrator, they also serve as a commentary on the high school rumor mill. Did a girl actually try to kill herself in the kitchen, or is that just how people recollected it the next morning at school?
Euphoria i> succeeds at grappling with timeless adolescent strifes, like impostor syndrome, understood in the social media age as catfishing on date apps, and sending nudes. Rue, like any other teenager, nervously anticipates the first day of academy where she is sure everyone will be gossiping about her. It’s also accidentally funny, like when Schafer delivers the line,” Bitch, this isn’t the’ 80 s! You need to catch a dick !” in its replies to another character’s confession that she’s a virgin, or a fantasy string in which Zendaya’s Rue teaches a health class-style lesson on dick pic etiquette.
In the past few weeks ,< em> Euphoria em> has received an exceptional sum of publicity. It’s being promoted as a gritty, unprecedented look at the lives of today’s kids, and is HBO’s first series alone about teens, journeying the wave of popular soapy dramas like Riverdale and 13 Reasons Why . Of course, there is all of the full-frontal male nudity, a big deal given HBO’s historically unbalanced female-to-male nudity ratio. And it doesn’t hurt advertising that all-star rappers Drake and Future are credited as executive producers.
Whether or not Euphoria is actually as realistic as it claimed responsibility for, it’s sure to make a few cases panicked mothers to brief their children on the dangers of fentanyl or set up parental restraints on their internet browsers. But perhaps the strongest aspect of the show is the way it takes its young attributes and their problems earnestly , no matter how self-indulgent they may sometimes be. Once viewers learn to take Euphoria ‘ s “reality” with a grain of salt and get past the initial surprise of overstimulation, they will be treated to an entertaining, sympathetic portrait of teenage life.