Euphoria: What is the hype?

Main characters Rue and Jules, played by Zendaya and Hunter Schaefer, spend time together in this iconic image from season 1.

Main characters Rue and Jules, played by Zendaya and Hunter Schaefer, spend time together in this iconic image from season 1.

Rachel Coplon, Reporter

Since Euphoria first premiered on HBO last year, the show has gained immense popularity among teenagers and young adults. New episodes of season 2 are airing each Sunday, propelling excitement and super fandom for the series as it continues to follow a group of high school students through their experiences of trauma, drugs, love, and friendships. 

The main character, Rue, is played by beloved Disney star, Zendaya. The audience sees Rue’s struggles from her perspective including drug addiction and common teenage struggles such as romance, friendships, drama, and peer pressure. The graphic portrayal of Rue’s drug addiction, however, can be intense for viewers. 

Many parents have expressed concerns regarding the show as it is highly graphic, and portrays high school-aged characters participating in illegal activities and struggling with their mental and physical health. Specifically, because it is marketed towards a teenage audience, parents are apprehensive about allowing their kids to watch this explicit and possibly triggering content. 

In an effort to quell these concerns and ensure the audience is prepared, the executive producer and star of the series, Zendaya, has warned her fanbase that the show is heavy and audiences must ensure they are ready to watch it. However, this aspect of the show is part of what attracts so many teenagers as senior Nava Smith-Litvak appreciates that Euphoria “highlights the negative sides of high school that our parents try to protect us from.” 

Freshman Sophia Zimmerman is drawn to Euphoria because of the “addictive character dynamic, the plot, and the educational aspect.” For Zimmerman, what many parents might consider being the dangerous aspect of the show, is educational as “it shows viewers the impacts of using drugs, and how scary addiction can be.” 

Smith-Litvak believes “Euphoria is overall a more dramatic depiction of what high school is like. There are some realistic aspects, though, such as Jules, one of the main characters who is transgender that is often made fun of, or Fez, who dropped out of school to become a drug dealer.” Many teenagers who feel like outcasts in the extremely social, fast-paced environment of high school are able to see aspects of themselves in these characters, even if their stories are different, making the show relatable to many teens.

The music in Euphoria is another popular aspect of the show. With a soundtrack produced by Labrinth, the music makes Euphoria emotional and captivating. To illustrate the characters’ story, each character has a specific song from the soundtrack played in the background. This also contributes to the show’s relatability for teens, as music is an integral part of pop culture and the high school experience. 

Euphoria’s realness and relatability continue to boost its popularity throughout season 2, specifically towards the teenage audience. High schoolers such as Smith-Litvak, Zimmerman, and many others are on the edge of their seat awaiting the release of new episodes every Sunday at 9 pm central time, that showcase the ups and downs of young adult life in a musical, masterful, and relatable fashion.