What’s the story?
Normally, when we talk about TV shows “plots” we tend to expect some kind of quest or goal for a protagonist to achieve; that’s not necessarily the case with Euphoria, where Rue Bennett’s only objective is surviving her troubled adolescence. While Rue might be the show’s main character, Euphoria chooses to portray each of its characters as a protagonist of sorts, with each episode revealing more of its troubled characters’ backstories.
On the one hand, we have Rue: a recovering drug-addict that’s just returned home from a recovery program, and now struggles with readapting to life with her broken family and finding he place in a school where she doesn’t have any real friends.
Then there’s Jules Vaughn, a transgender girl who’s new in town and with whom Rue quickly develops a relationship with. Her character is one of the most complex ones in the series, as we explore the way she deals with her sexuality and her role as a friend or possible lover with Rue. Even though she only tries to live her own life, her relationship with Rue quickly becomes an obsession and one that could prove even more addictive than drugs for Rue.
If Rue and Jules are to be considered Euphoria’s main characters, then its cast of secondary characters is just as rich as troubled. Katherine Hernandez’s a girl who struggles with her self-image and soon discovers the advantages of owning your looks; Nate Jacobs could be considered the show’s antagonist, and his aggressiveness serves as a mask for his insecurities, and the fact that he’s ashamed of his dad’s dark secrets.
All in all, it could be said that Euphoria’s story is about what happens when life begins; of course, we don’t mean that in the literal sense, it’s the beginning of life as the person that society expects one to be. It’s about the roles that its characters wish to adopt in their adult lives, and how their decisions, no matter how small they might seem, might ultimately affect the lives of everyone they care about.
Is it any good?
Almost every episode of Euphoria opens with a disclaimer warning the audience that what they’re about to see might be shocking for some audiences, and that disclaimer is right indeed. The show doesn’t mince words, or rather images when it comes to portraying its many delicate subjects.
While some might argue that the stylistic decision to be as crude as possible might work in tandem with the show’s setting, it could also be argued that subtlety could sometimes be just as striking. As it is, the show can feel gratuitous at times, subtracting from the overall quality of its presentation.
Speaking of presentation, cinematography’s definitely the show’s strong suit. Some episodes incorporate very intricate sequences and imaginative shots that are really a sight for sore eyes on TV these days. The use of color is also on-point, helping to elevate the overall look of the series and ending up looking like a fancy indie feature.
If there’s one huge positive about the show that would be how it handles its characters. They feel like living people, and most (but not all) feel like more than two-dimensional stereotypes. Euphoria might not be the best TV the season has to offer, but it’s an entertaining show nonetheless, and one that looks pretty darn good to boot.
Euphoria is a pretty show about horrible realities. It never shies away from the world it wants to represent, and while the results may vary, the show succeeds in distancing itself from most other shows on TV right now.
Zendaya’s acting as Rue might be a little stiff, but the rest of the ensemble really seems to live in their characters’ skins, giving the show an enhanced feeling of reality that’s almost haunting in its execution. If you’re a fan of indie movies and are looking for a show that has a nice collection of unique characters, then Euphoria is the show you were always looking for.