This show has recently taken over every single thought and feeling that I have had in these past few weeks. I can not seem to stop thinking about it and I really do not want to stop. This beautiful creation came out of no where and blew me away. I truly feel honored and relieved that this piece of art exists.
Nothing is perfect and this show obviously has its flaws but for me, all of my pros and admirations out weigh the cons. Plus... I have a lot of faith for the next season and hopefully multiple seasons after that. I've seen the debate that this show is more style over substance which in some ways I can see that. This show is so dedicated to perfecting how every single shot is shown whether that be with the camera movement and placement, the lighting, the costume, the makeup, the sounds, the environment, it is all extremely breathtaking and innovative. The style is one of the biggest reasons for my admiration of this show because of the creativity and cinematic look of every single second. Even though the style was over the top, I feel as though the substance would be tricky to match that level of innovation. The creator of the show, Sam Levinson, wrote the whole show by himself. Which can create a moving personal touch but more so this causes no other perspectives or second opinions to be able to seep in. I'm hoping for the upcoming seasons, they will be able to have multiple voices be able to put some input into the script and the plot lines to create a show that is both mind-blowing visually as well as story-wise.
One of my only issues with the show is that it isn't completely "relatable" and doesn't portray anything like a normal high school experience. The characters are very hyper-sexualized and get into dark situations that may seem too wild to be true. I totally understand that this is a television show, of course none of this is real and of course it is hyper-sexualized, it is hyper-everything! This show is a heightened and exaggerated version of real life to cause the viewer to escape from their own lives and experience something not as drastic but similar they may be feeling or going through and see it in a different light. I also totally understand that this show is normalizing sex and I love that, I don't think they should leave out sex or the characters sexualities and I also understand that this show is about love and sex has to do with love and growing up. Honestly, I seem to be talking myself into it more but I ultimately felt that the amount of sex and the maturity of all of their sex was crazy for how young they all were and steered me away from being able to relate to these characters but that could just be me!
This is a very character-driven show and don't get me wrong, I love these characters and love that they dedicate the first ten minutes of almost every episode to give us some background on a handful of them but I still feel that we weren't able to see them flourish or grow as much as we could have. I know that there are other seasons for that to continue to happen but for now I am just looking at season one as its own entity. For example, Fez and Lexi, two fan favorites, don't have a very strong story arc which I get that there is still time for that but for Lexi, we really do not know much about her or what she does when she isn't with her sister or friends. With Fez he definitely has a story arc (as well as a cliff hanger for his fate in the finale) and is important to the show as a whole but he deserves to have more screen time and more care put into his development and history. He is one of the most likable characters because of his kind connection to the people around him and the unfortunate dynamic that he is also a drug dealer. Fez and Lexi are two of the most, you could say, sane characters on the show as well which makes them some of the most relatable. Some characters I would also love to see have more screen time and care is Rue's sister and mom as well as the other parents in the story.
I found it interesting that the males in this story are for the most part toxic and angry souls. Both McKay and Nate, Nate more so, make awful and twisted decisions and cause pain to others. The whole season I was confused if we were suppose to be understanding of Nate because of his unsteady home life and confused sexuality but to me he just seemed stone cold, he was the definition of toxic masculinity. He used his strength and aggression and brought it on to others to protect his image and protect his masculinity. I think the fact that we could see Nate and McKay's background and personal lives and be able to pinpoint why they are the way they are was helpful and so they didn't just seem like random bullies. It gave the viewer a deeper understanding on why these dangerous alpha-males act the way they do and shows us the damage it can cause.
I found that on the flip side, the females of this show were complicated and strong-minded people whom I really loved getting to know. As I mentioned previously, this show did hyper-sexualize these female characters which at first, I was worried that they did that just because they can but as the show progresses we see how the women come to terms with their sexuality and how sex positively and negatively affects their lives. Sex is a big part of this show and is a driving factor for a lot of the characters lessons and conflicts. They learned through their sexualities and sex lives. Something I appreciated about this though was that they showed the negative powers of sex and how that can affect the love with yourself not just with your partner.
One character that stood out for me was Kat. Her character developed the most drastically as she gained confidence and power through her cam girl experience. I found her transformation from invisible sidekick to complete independent powerhouse very refreshing and a nice take on the "fat girl" troupe. We don't see a montage of her trying to lose weight but rather we see her begin to realize that she is attractive and feminine and sexual just the way she is. She can be whoever she wants to be. I found this plot to be important in the normalization of sex workers as well as the normalization of "bigger bodies". Kat's struggle with confidence and discovering that she can be powerful was a meaningful aspect to this show. Throughout the season Kat begins a friendship with Ethan and in the finale when the two beautifully and finally get together, it seems that Kat finally realizes she can be herself and be powerful and others can still love and admire her for that. I'm both nervous and excited to see what is to come for Kat and Ethan.
This show is very focused on sexuality and love whether that be Cassie looking for love in anybody or Maddy trying to keep the love in an abusive relationship or Kat's sexual journey or Nate's aggressive and confused feelings. Each character is shown struggling with the multitude of relationships in their lives and trying to search for happiness through them but as is real life, no relationship is perfect and people aren't perfect. I appreciate that this show doesn't show a problem-less relationship but rather the variety of issues and feelings and arguments that get in the way.
One very, very special duo that I have yet to mention is the beautiful Rue and Jules. This relationship is the string that ties this show together. Rue, played by one of my favorite people and someone I greatly admire, Zendaya and Jules, played by newcomer Hunter Schafer are a problematic relationship but I would assume everyone watching the show is still rooting for. Jules story is one that many young adult focused shows don't tackle in great detail and I admire both Hunter and the show for the exposure.
One disappointment I have with Jules is that she began developing characteristics that are part of the manic pixie dream girl cliche. In film studies, a manic pixie dream girl is basically a female character that is an eccentric and fun-loving girl who loves everyone and wants to go on worthwhile adventures which then someone, typically a bored and lonely male, is drawn to and thinks she can change him, she can make his life more exciting. Some examples are Kate Hudson's character in Almost Famous and Zooey Deschanel in 500 Days of Summer. In this case, Rue meets Jules and is completely infatuated with her.
Jules is so much more than a pixie dream girl but, especially in the finale, Jules claims she is in love with both Rue and someone she met that past weekend and she is so focused on running away and having fun but the difference is that Jules is searching for communities where she feels she belongs and expressing herself through her actions and her appearance. Rue is drawn to Jules and her confidence and replaces her drug addiction with a sort of addiction to Jules. The two are in a confusing relationship that borders on something more but isn't spoken of until the last few minutes of the finale.
Rue is my favorite character and I felt so connected to her and cared for her. We were able to look into Rue's world on a very personal level. One of my favorite sequences of the show was when Rue was going through a manic episode and she was acting as a detective which is immediately followed by a depressive episode of her watching Love Island for days straight. We were completely in her mind and able to understand her actions. We saw her when she was alone and heard her thoughts through narration. This show was shown through Rue's perspective and with this personal look, we were able to care for, understand and adore Rue.
I truly love and appreciate this glorious show. Euphoria is full of incredible actors that I will now always keep my eye on, full of creative and daring technical and design aspects that are so inspiring and gives me hope that future projects will use this medium to its fullest. This show is just filled with so much care and love in how it was made and in the concepts discussed in the show. I have very high hopes for the upcoming season but all in all, this first season blew me away and this show deserves all the hype in the world.