By now, most people have heard about, or watched the HBO Max original show Euphoria. A lot of people know this show mainly because of its bizarre makeup and wardrobe, or because of the fact that one of the main cast members is Zendaya. Although, what many people don’t know when starting to watch this show is how many harmful behaviors are being shown and possibly even being endorsed in it. This show is supposedly about a high school experience, and at the moment, it is very popular among high school students. Euphoria is a very mature show, and it should be watched with discretion.
Although Euphoria is set in high school, with most of the characters being minors, there are many scenes with graphic violence, nudity, and drug usage.
The way this show glamorizes drug usage has created a curiosity in many teens to try doing drugs themselves. The characters in Euphoria take an unreal amount of drugs that in the show seem like nothing, but if taken in real life, it would be fatal. In spite of the fact that there are copious topics discussed in Euphoria that many teens can relate to, the way the show portrays the issues is without a doubt problematic.
Some tough topics that Euphoria tackles are, substance abuse, child pornography, pedophilia, mental illness, homophobia, transphobia, along with many other really pressing issues. While it is important to have representation of these issues, the way Euphoria incorporates them into the show makes it almost seem as if the show is promoting them.
When asking an anonymous McMinnville High School student who has watched Euphoria, how she feels about harmful behaviors such as the ones shown in Euphoria being glamorized and promoted to younger teens she said, “When you watch Euphoria, be conscious that it is a show and that the characters aren’t real and therefore their actions could cause bigger consequences in real life than what is displayed in the show.” This goes along with what was said earlier about how taking the same amount of drugs that the characters in Euphoria take would most likely be fatal. Euphoria is not real, the characters are fake, the situations are fake, and most importantly the drugs are fake.
The people in Euphoria aren’t actually doing any drugs, they are actors, and even they know how dangerous taking that amount of drugs would be. In an article from Entertainment Weekly, Zendaya mentions, “my biggest hope is that people are able to connect to it and those who need to heal and grow with Rue hopefully, by the end of this season, feel that hope and feel that change in her.” The issue with promoting drug usage doesn’t necessarily lie with the actors of Euphoria, but more with the director. The actors of Euphoria, much like Zendaya, don’t see themselves as promoting drug usage, they hope to encourage others who struggle with issues such as the ones shown in the film to stop, or they want them to feel seen. Nevertheless, watching this show at such young ages is still harmful to a mind/person that is still developing, and trying to find their way in the world.
When asking McMinnville High School’s psychology teacher, Angelica Boehme, how she thinks being exposed to behaviors such as underage drug use/drinking in tv shows or movies can affect younger, more vulnerable audiences, she said, “psychological research shows that teen choices are impacted by media content. Teens are more likely to engage in sexual activity and drug usage when they watch content that ‘normalizes’ or glorifies these activities.”
So, when watching Euphoria be mindful of what you’re getting into, and if you think you are more vulnerable to being influenced by the actions shown in the program, maybe steer away from it and find something else to watch.