[Opinion] HBO show Euphoria desensitizes teens against real issues


Photo credit HBO

Trending on social media platforms, Euphoria in currently having the new season released.

Lyla Sachs, Arts & Leisure editor

The HBO show “Euphoria,” which is filled with drugs, glitter, and conflict, first became popular when it was released in the summer of 2019. The aesthetically pleasing show was allegedly created in order to raise awareness to the problems each character was facing, such as addiction, assault and insecurities, but instead, the audience focused on the trends they could make out of it.

The target demographic of Euphoria was hit when young adults could not stop talking about the show. The watchers focus on who their favorite character is, the drama between people and the glamorous side of the show. The real problems such as abuse, addiction, mental health and many other real issues were being discarded.

The show dedicates each episode to a specific character to highlight the troubles they face. This brings awareness to each problem and lets people connect. Characters Rue and Jules each received a “Special Episode” to go more into detail about the issues they are dealing with.

Many of the problems shown in the series accurately depict the life of some teenagers in high school, but are often looked over and desensitized. The controversy the show has stirred has become something that most people talk about. This is because it highlights issues that are known to be taboo and how each character copes in good and bad ways.

For example, Kat faces body dysmorphia, Rue deals with addiction, Maddy struggles with her abusive relationship and Jules copes with her mental health and gender identity. All of these situations are real and present, especially with people in this age group.

The controversy around Euphoria comes from the raw emotion and topics it portrays as well as its surprisingly graphic scenes. The issues displayed in the series are not sugar-coated or made to seem easy. You see the highs the character has and the comedowns that come with addiction. Things people see in real life like violence, drug usage and maladaptive daydreaming are featured in the show in graphic detail. The point of the series is to trigger your emotions and connect with it.

The problem with Euphoria is not with the issues it portrays. The show has desensitized watchers into believing these problems are normal and cannot cause harm. Since Euphoria aired, more jokes about addiction have been made and more people romanticize the characters troubles. For example, parties have been euphoria themed and makeup looks have been recreated from the show to look like the characters.

Teenagers are easily persuaded, especially if a celebrity they like is involved.Young adults love the cast such as Zendaya, Sydney Sweeney, Jacob Elordi and more, but they haven’t figured out how to distinguish between the character they play and the person outside of the show. Watching this show can convince young adults to follow the actions of a character without knowing the consequences. Allowing these issues to be normalized is different than them being accepted.

The idea that addiction and abuse could be normalized is something that should not happen because it will encourage people to not care about those who deal with these problems. People have to deal and struggle with these issues, and normalizing them is saying that it is typical. Not only is this invalidating to people who dealt or are dealing with this, it also promotes toxicity.

Euphoria is supposed to be problematic and difficult to watch. It is an accurate representation of the hidden parts of people’s lives, but brings awareness in the wrong ways. The show gives watchers who connect a voice to speak up. It is an outlet for people who understand and watch the show for its purpose; to raise awareness.