Written by Zayna Shah ||
Euphoria is a TV show that has become a major pop culture phenomenon, since its initial release in 2019. It is an HBO series that follows a group of high schoolers within their struggles of addiction, abuse, friendship, relationships, sexuality, and family dynamics.
People care so much about this show because there is something realistically engaging for every viewer that is watching the show. Although it can be more graphic and intense than what most people go through in high school, the overall themes of the show are relatable to its viewers.
Euphoria has become extremely prominent in pop culture. One of the main reasons is due to its raw portrayal of real life struggles that people face. Many people like to watch the show because they are finally seeing an accurate portrayal of what they go through. Every single character has their own unique storyline within the show, so viewers are bound to relate to something/someone. This show dives deep into the darkness and mixes it with intense drama that draws in the viewer. In a recent New York Times article, artist Phillip Cadoux says “It’s like an intense dramatization of things we all experience. They’re very relatable characters, but the things that they go through are just amped up to an 11.” Shock value and intense plotlines is one of the many aspects that contributed to the popularity.
A major factor that separates Euphoria from other coming-of-age television shows is its unique aesthetic and a big focus on using visual media to portray characters and their storyline. There is an intentional, symbolic use of different makeup, outfits, color schemes, and hair styles to show each character’s unique personality through how they physically express themselves. Along with this, many characters have their own song/soundtrack made to specifically relate to their plotline. The music, which is made by Labirinth, is another form of art that adds to the emotional intensity of the show, and serves as a way to communicate sonically. Music in the show also serves as a way to help viewers better understand characters or the impact of a certain situation. Other shows may not pay as much regard to visual presentation and attention to detail the way Euphoria does.
Social media has also been a very vital tool that has helped this show blow up. There is an endless amount of content to consume about the show. This show is discussed among fans and non-watchers across almost all media platforms, including TikTok. Within the app TikTok, your “For You” page is built upon content you engage with, creating unique scrolling experiences. However, Euphoria is such a huge trend right now, content relating to the show pops up everywhere on TikTok regardless of individual curated feeds. Every week viewers will share their thoughts, opinions, and even conspiracies to social media seconds after the new weekly episode has concluded. This has become more and more true as the new seasons’ episodes have been coming out. Fans who log into HBO on Sunday at 9pm all have something in common, their interest in the show. This created a sense of community within the fans, which makes their own social media presence even more special.
Due to the popularity of the show, it is impossible to avoid negative critiques, specifically regarding the writer of the show, Sam Levinson. There have been issues regarding the way he deals with certain subjects, the intense nudity in the show, and disputes going on with cast members. He also does not allow other people in the writer’s room, which ends up leaving many biased perspectives in the show. A critique made is that his writing has no direction. In a Paste Magazine article, Leila Jordan writes “Levinson just can’t decide what show he’s making.” This does add to the show’s intrigue and popularity because it keeps people second guessing and debating what is going to happen next. No matter what, every episode contains great drama and conflict that keeps the viewers unable to look away.