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HBO is leaving Euphoria fans to fend for themselves after "traumatizing" them

  • Mic

    "Social media has already spent the last few weeks joking about the many laughably-unrealistic situations that happen in the show — from how accessible large amounts of drugs are for this unemployed daughter of a single mother, to the lack of a school dress code, to the general absence of grownups," says Tai Saint-Louis. "But by contrast, episode 5, titled 'Stand Still Like the Hummingbird,' was a little too real. Actually, it was way too real." Yet as Saint-Louis points out, Euphoria's aftershow commentary featured creator Sam Levinson and his collaborators being self-congratulatory. Saint-Louis adds: "The creators haven’t offered a wealth of external content or resources that balance what’s happening on screen. It’s starting to feel a little like trauma porn; like an exercise in just how far the button can be pushed. I think Levinson, Zendaya and everyone else involved with this show believes in its potential for good so much that they’re unable to see what many of us are feeling. But if the purpose of the show is to help, why not lean into it fully? At some point over the course of the last 13 episodes and two specials, HBO added a message at the end of each episode directing anyone who needs help to connect with the Crisis Text Line or visit EuphoriaResources.com. The landing page offers links to myriad organizations offering support for addiction, suicide prevention, and LGBTQ teens, to name a few. Unlike D.A.R.E., I wouldn’t say Euphoria is 'glorifying' drug use. But while HBO and Michaela Coel created an entire content and engagement strategy towards helping viewers process the traumatic themes addressed in I May Destroy You, Euphoria kinda leaves viewers to fend for themselves. If the goal is to shed light on the unfathomably difficult lives of teens today, why not create a platform to have conversations about what’s happening on the show instead of the self-congratulatory post-show content? Why are we focusing on how realistic the cinematographers made the chase scene feel, or on how difficult it was to make Zendaya look strung out? It seems almost abusive to bring users through this level of emotional intensity week after week, then leave them to sort everything out themselves."


    • Euphoria is not a show to watch for deep dives into its protagonists’ psychologies: "Rue is supposedly our emotional center, and the show uses her suffering as a vector to telegraph characterological fullness, but these attempts often feel unsatisfying, partly because the show is unable to pick a consistent tone," says Naomi Fry. "When it comes to Rue’s psychic condition, Euphoria veers from flippant to grandiose and back again, such as in a Season 1 episode in which she is admitted to the hospital with a kidney infection because she was too depressed to go pee. As soon as we begin to sympathize with her extreme anhedonic haze, her narration punctuates it with cracks about watching Love Island for twenty-two hours straight. The show itself seems unsure about Rue’s motives. In the second episode of Season 2, Rue and Elliot discuss their respective drug use in a scene of rare quiet intimacy, and agree that there is no single reason why a person becomes an addict. 'Well, my dad died, so I started doing drugs,' Rue scoffs, mimicking her rehab spiel. 'Everyone’s looking for cause and effect but sometimes shit’s just, like, is what it is,' Elliot says. This would be a good critique of how addiction is commonly perceived, if not for the fact that the series spends so much time trying to establish a connection between Rue’s trauma and her drug use."

    TOPICS: Euphoria, HBO, I May Destroy You, Michaela Coel, Sam Levinson, Zendaya