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Goodbye, Euphoria? – Yale Daily News

Goodbye, Euphoria?  – Yale Daily News


Spoilers ahead!

The return of the hit TV series Euphoria was delayed again. In late March, HBO announced that season three would not begin filming in the coming months as originally planned because series creator Sam Levinson was still writing the scripts, according to Deadline. In the days that followed, rumors swirled that the channel was considering replace Levinson, who recently sparked controversy over the infamous and short-lived series The Idol. And since the release of the final season, many actors have exploded in popularity: Zendaya, Sydney Sweeney, Colman Domingo, Storm Reid and Jacob Elordi, to name a few. It's unknown if Euphoria will ever return, a true situation that has to be seen to be believed.

Although the series has now become the butt of jokes in the entertainment industry, Euphoria was huge when it first premiered in 2019, in a pre-pandemic world, for context. After releasing two special episodes during COVID-19, the second season of the series was released in January 2022. At the time, the season two opener was coming. 19 million viewersand the series was second in terms of views only behind Game of Thrones.

When the euphoria was actively releasing episodes, it seemed like every high school and college kid in America was tuning in every Sunday to see what trouble Rue Bennett (Zendaya) and her orbit of drama-prone friends would get into next. The show inspired new makeup trends and aesthetics, served as the theme for every other college party for a good year, and generated a slew of memes that are still in frequent circulation. Calling the show a cultural phenomenon is almost an understatement. But, now, Euphorias on a two-year hiatus and myriad production challenges raises the question of whether the series needs a polished final season or is best left as a great work of art, although incomplete.

To help answer that question, I went back to where Euphoria debuted, the show's June 2019 pilot. And, to my delight, it's as good as I remembered.

The element of the series that sets it apart, from the first episode, is its formal design, which suggests that no production detail has been left out. In the first 10 minutes of the show, we see a graphic depiction of Rue's birth, vignettes of the tragic suicides of artists who share Rue's mental health diagnoses, and the technicolor, gravity-defying psychological state of 'a young woman who uses drugs to escape reality. . And the show doesn't slow down from there, using inventive lighting, cinematography and sound to create a simmering atmosphere of barely contained chaos.

Filtered through the eyes of this consciously unreliable narrator, we learn the various dynamics that govern Rue's social ecosystem. We get the stories of the various key characters in a dizzying and fragmented way, but what the narrative lacks in linearity is made up for in depth; the emotional stakes and trouble spots are immediately clear. The first beautifully balances the necessary world-building with true artistic flair. At the end of the episode, all the different pieces of the puzzle come together at a house party that turns violent as will happen several times throughout the series and we (finally) see Rue's first interaction and Jules (Hunter Schafer), anchoring us in budding. relationship which will animate the rest of the series.

Perhaps most striking about this first episode is Levinson's masterful understanding of space. One of the most shocking and tense scenes in the entire series occurs in season two, episode five, when Rue destroys the family home after her mother, Leslie (Nika King), throws away her stash of drugs. The narrow, wood-paneled hallways become an arena for Rue's anger as she knocks over shelves and kicks down doors.

But from the premiere, Leslie finds herself chasing Rue down labyrinthine hallways until Rue shuts the door in her face, leaving her mother screaming into a wall, the first of many door slams in the series. As always, Rue's younger sister, Gia (Storm Reid), is hidden but within earshot, a chilling witness to the dissolution of her family. Later in the episode, the spatial stakes become even higher as an entire corridor begins to spin on its axis after Rue gets high, an effect achieved by Levinson. build a real rotating assembly.

Plot-wise, Euphoria closer to standard teen drama TV fare, if the stakes were raised to maximum volume. Even if the euphoria is propelled by sex, drugs and violence which I imagine are not the norm of the average high school experience, its themes seem quite grounded in reality. The world is ending and I haven't graduated from high school, Rue remarks to Fezco (Angus Cloud), her surprisingly principled drug dealer. The show's young men, like Nate Jacobs (Jacob Elordi), are prey to the brain rot of porn and toxic masculinity. Cassie (Sydney Sweeney), Maddy (Alexa Demie) and Kat (Barbie Ferreira) are desperate for validation. Jules (Hunter Schafer) wants to integrate into a new city. The show takes the typical anxieties and insecurities of a 16-year-old's mind and transposes them into a world of neon lights and fluid pills.

The series also speaks in true Gen Z language. Unlike other series aimed at young adult audiences, Euphoria understands our way of communicating, our speech patterns and even our habits on social networks. Above all, at the heart of the series is an existential fear that seems to be the undercurrent of our generation. After all, Rue's parents spent the days after her birth in the hospital, constantly watching news channels talk about 9/11 and its aftermath. I was born two weeks later.

Honestly, when I planned to rewatch the Euphoria premiere, I expected to find it overrated and perhaps a little outdated. What I instead found was an innovative and moving start to a series that flourished over the existing seasons, although the quality of the series had its ups and downs. The second season became increasingly cluttered with vague plots and was thankfully saved by moments of blatant vulnerability and impressive acting. But despite how much I enjoy Euphoria, I still think the series should end as is.

To welcome the cast into full maturity, Levinson proposed a five-year time jump for the third season. I'm hesitant about time jumps in general, but I'm particularly sensitive in the case of a series like Euphoria. The characters are mostly deeply selfish people, and the grace of youth helps us understand them as humans in the process of becoming. Removing any stage of their development feels like a huge loss for the show, especially for someone like Rue who can change so quickly, so unexpectedly, and I'd say it's best to leave the characters as they are. 'they are rather than moving forward. Leave them alone, if we don't see how they become what they are.

What the series finale now offers is a series of possibilities: the chance for Rue to stay sober and repair her relationship with her family and Jules, the chance for Nate to overcome some of the trauma inflicted by his father , the opportunity for Maddy and Cassie to discover who they are outside of their mutual boyfriend. In a series that features characters making the wrong choices again and again, this ending asks us to have faith that, for once, they will do the right thing. This ambiguity offers a variety of positive futures for Rue and her friends, ones they deserve to have after all they have endured.

All that being said, I support these characters and love the world of this series, so if a third season is ever made, I'll definitely be tuning in.


Idone Rhodes is a junior at Pierson majoring in English and Film and Media Studies. She will regularly write a film column for WKND. Rhodes was previously editor-in-chief of the Yale Daily News Magazine.




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