HBO’s Euphoria Influences Discourse and Fashion


By now, we have all heard of HBO’s Euphoria. This show, starring Zendaya, focuses in on the life of high schoolers in our time. As with any discussion of high school, controversy is sure to follow, and this show is certainly not for everyone. 

Some parents argue that the show is too harsh and it promotes negative behaviors. In a press release, Parents Television Council President Tim Winter warned that HBO “appears to be overtly, intentionally, marketing extremely graphic adult content – sex, violence, profanity and drug use – to teens and preteens.” 

Euphoria creator Sam Levinson wrote the series based on his own experiences with drug addiction.

“There are going to be parents who are going to be totally f**king freaked out,” Levinson said. 

Others say that the themes are extreme, but need to be brought to television for awareness.

“It may seem boundary-pushing, and the idea of putting them on TV may be, but somebody lived them, ” said Casey Bloys, HBO programming president.

Euphoria brings attention to the problems that many teens and pre-teens experience in school (whether people want to admit it or not), problems that they will most likely not be prepared for. These issues include but are not limited to drug use, alcoholism, violence, and rape culture. For young people, the awareness raised by the show might help them prevent some of these things from happening to them or their friends. For parents, this show may actually be worthwhile viewing to open their eyes to the realities of teen behaviors and how to prevent these things from happening to their own children. 

Because Euphoria was inevitably going to air despite all of the backlash, it was important for people to truly understand the message of the show. The dark approach to the topic was done on purpose because such serious topics, cannot be sugar-coated

“It’s not sensational to be sensational,” Bloys clarified. 

Not everything about Euphoria is inappropriate. The controversial show has sparked a beauty revolution. Designers who credit Euphoria for their inspiration during their New York Fashion Week shows include Christian Siriano, Tory Burch, and even Dior. But it does not stop there. The representation of the LGBTQ+ community has given teens watching people they can relate and look up to while going through the hard time that high school can be.

Between the beauty revolution, the inspirational characters, and the lessons to be learned from Euphoria, it is a show intended to break boundaries, which it does. Again, this show is not for everyone, but it is a good opportunity to educate yourself about the realities (albeit exaggerated at times) of life as a teenager in 2019.

Watch HBO’S Euphoria here.

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