HOLLYWOOD—Wow, that is the only word that comes to mind when I binge-watched the first season of the HBO series “Euphoria.” Yeah, to say this is unlike anything I’ve seen on TV would be an understatement. Let me be crystal clear, this is NOT a show for kids not a single bit people. Drugs, alcohol and sex are heightened and in your face from episode one, all the way to the end of the first season.
Can one make the argument that “Euphoria” forces us to take a deep look inside ourselves and teens to open our eyes to things that we think are not happening, but in reality that truly are happening? I mean the sex scenes in this show are elaborate, brutal to watch at times and uncomfortable people. The storytelling aspect of “Euphoria” is unique to say the least as it instantly hooks you and doesn’t let you go. I mean each of these characters get an opportunity to share the struggles they are facing in life, some high, but a lot of them tend to be very low.
Let me be clear once again, this is NOT a series for kids, so ensure your children are not watching this show. We are told a vast majority of the ins and outs of these teens thru the eyes of Rue, a high schooler, who is a drug addict, recently had a stint in rehab, is trying to get her life back on track, but continues to dabble in drugs throughout the first season. Rue is played with perfection by Emmy winner Zendaya. That scene where she stops by the home of her drug dealer Fezco begging him to give her some drugs and him refusing was just heartbreaking, yet gut-punching at the same time.
The audience gets to see the highs and lows of these characters and it is absolutely fascinating to watch. I cannot tell you the last time I binge-watched a TV series in a single day. I think the last time I partook in such was when I watched the comedy series “Insecure” and the drama “Breaking Bad.” That tells you there is some good storytelling people. None, and I mean none of these characters are alike and that is what I love about this series, you have fully fleshed out characters dealing with some crazy things. The pressure of fitting in high school, family issues at home, drugs, pressures of having sex, alcohol, abusive relationships and family issues are just some of the things for us to explore.
I mean we have Cassie (Sydney Sweeney) who is having sex with McKay (Algee Smith), a guy who is much older than her. I cannot understand that and why her alcoholic mother seems to be ok with it I will never know. Her sister Lexi (Maude Apatow) reminds you of the perfect teen. One who doesn’t get into trouble, is compassionate, but at the same time its apparent people don’t fully understand what she is struggling with. She has a friend like Rue who pays her visits ONLY when it is convenient for Rue’s situation. Lexi is the dark horse that always makes me as a viewer say, I want to know more about her people.
There is Jules (Hunter Schafer), a trans female who has a dark past that unfolds throughout the first season. She builds a strong bond with Rue, and gets the troubled teen off her drug addiction before she ultimately relapses people. Jules is such a riveting character because she is tied to so many characters. To learn that Jules just had sex with Cal Jacobs (Eric Dane), an older man who has dark secrets that his son Nate (Jacob Elrodi) learns about explains a lot of toxic masculinity issues Nate has. The series aims to explore the addiction to porn and how people perceive and depict it in real life.
Yeah, when I learned that Cal and Nate were father and son, I was so blown away and then to find out Nate was trying to bond or setup Jules blew my mind that much further. Yeah, Cal and Jules’ tryst has not come out yet, but I’m sure that is going to unfold in season two and the fallout will be interesting to witness to say the least people. You have Maddy (Alexa Demie) and Kat (Barbie Ferreira), the popular cheerleader who was dating the jock, and her best pal who has body image, but uses that to her advantage to earn a quick buck thinking she will never be exposed.
All of the characters on “Euphoria” are intertwined, but at the same time they have their own separate lives that play out and ultimately collide with the people in their orbit. I have not been impressed with storytelling of this magnitude in a very long-time people, just as it became clear characters who you think are allied are not. I mean Cassie and Nate hooking up in the bathroom with Maddy outside the bathroom. I was certain she was going to be busted in that bathtub and the tension built in the script and the direction; just pure perfection people.
And we have to talk about that brutal beat down Nate received courtesy of Fez. Did I expect it? No. Was I surprised by it, no. It was almost like a shadowing of Nate beating up that guy Maddy had sex within the pool at that party. In the reversal, Nate found himself on the receiving end of an attack. New episodes of “Euphoria” air on HBO on Sundays at 9 p.m.