East Oregonian : E.O. (Pendleton, OR) 1888-current, July 31, 2019, Page 2, Image 2

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    cover story
Generation Z(endaya)
Freshman season of ‘Euphoria’ wraps up on HBO
By Breanna Henry
TV Media
R
ue Bennett is a drug addict.
Despite having been recently
released from a rehab center,
she is not recovering, and does
not intend to remain clean. She
routinely meets strangers online
for “hook-ups,” browses sketchy
websites, and lies about her age.
Rue is only 17-years-old, and
luckily for her parents, she is
a fictional character from the
premium cable show “Eupho-
ria,” played by Disney Channel
graduate Zendaya (“Spider-
Man: Far From Home,” 2019).
If you haven’t been keeping
up with “Euphoria” so far, you
can stream previous episodes
on HBO Go, and the Season 1
finale (titled “And Salt the Earth
Behind You”) airs Sunday, Aug.
4, on HBO.
The fantastic cast of fresh
young actors “Euphoria” re-
volves around includes Jacob
Elordi (“The Kissing Booth,”
2018) as angry, confused jock
Nate; Algee Smith (“The Hate
U Give,” 2018) as struggling
college athlete Chris; Barbie
Ferreira (“Divorce”) as insecure,
sexually curious Kat; Sydney
Sweeney (“Sharp Objects”)
as Cassie, who can’t seem to
escape her past; and the show’s
breakout star, trans runway
model Hunter Schafer in her first
role as Jules, a transgender teen
girl looking to find the place she
belongs. Cap all that talent off
with an incredible performance
by the show’s lead, Zendaya,
and there is no reason to ques-
tion why “Euphoria” is becom-
ing one of the most popular
shows on HBO.
“Euphoria” follows a group
of Generation Z (the group that
came right after Millennials) stu-
dents as they navigate their way
through their late teen years
into adulthood, and deal with
the problems unique to their
generation. Racy videos posted
online, fentanyl abuse and social
media drama weren’t issues you
had to deal with in high school
before Generation Z came along,
2 | Screentime
but the classic problems like bul-
lies, parents, secrets and crushes
are still very much part of these
teens’ lives.
In many ways, “Euphoria”
represents a bridge of under-
standing between modern
parents and children; while the
show may take drama to the
extreme in some cases, many
aspects of the show’s storyline
do occur in the life of today’s av-
erage teen. A review of the show
on Vox interpreted “Euphoria”
perfectly, saying, “The [series]
has gotten a lot of attention for
depicting ‘how the teens live
today,’ but its greatest strength
isn’t what’s timely about it, but
what’s eternal about it.”The way
the show mixes these themes
together is seamless and abso-
lutely stunning.
HBO is well known for its
boundary-pushing, extravagant
and original television series;
there are things one expects
when it comes to an HBO origi-
nal — more mature content,
more production value, higher
quality — and “Euphoria” has
hit every one of these marks
with its first season. The cinema-
tography, colors and design are
out-of-this-world on their own,
but couple them with stunning
camera direction and unique
shots, and “Euphoria” could
stand tall even without amazing
storylines and great acting —
which it has, of course.
Episodes are interwoven with
flashbacks to the characters’
childhoods, and we’re shown
how those moments relate to
current issues and events in their
lives. The way the show uses im-
ages to convey its story is truly
something worth seeing, even if
the plot doesn’t excite you.
You can’t talk about “Eu-
phoria” without talking about
mental health. Zendaya’s char-
acter, Rue has dealt with anxiety,
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
and Attention Deficit Disorder
since early childhood, and was
first given Valium at the age of
11; this, along with the death of
her father, drives the teen to be-
gin taking drugs as she searches
July 31, 2019 | East Oregonian and Hermiston Herald
Hunter Schafer in a scene from “Euphoria”
for the two seconds of “eupho-
see the things I feel and endure
ria” in which she isn’t plagued
mirrored.” She also called
by her mental state.
“Euphoria” “TV’s most realistic
The moments of the show
portrayal of anxiety.” The por-
that truly stand out are Ze-
trayal of the dark side of mental
ndaya’s voice-over monologues, health in the show is very real,
which are poignant, thought-
and neither sugar-coats or vili-
provoking and relatable for
fies the issue.
viewers who have experienced
Critics of the series say it
similar situations. Jill Gutowitz
brings back memories of “Reefer
of Nylon Magazine wrote, “I
Madness” (1936), or assert that
was actually happy — and by
it’s trying too hard, but there
‘happy,’ I mean devastated — to are many more moments in
“Euphoria” I consider must-see
scenes than cringe-worthy shock
bait. The series has been gaining
more and more viewers each
episode, and HBO even ordered
a second season of the show
in July. (Take that, haters.) The
show boasts a talented, if some-
what odd, group of producers
that include Canadian rapper
Drake and his manager, Future
the Prince, as well as Peabody
Award-winning writer Gary
Lennon, and 71-year-old Tmira
Yardeni, a prolific producer from
Tel Aviv, Israel.
If you came here looking for
spoilers on the finale, you’re
out of luck. HBO is keeping Rue,
Jules, Kat and Fezco’s antics on
lock-down. Does “Euphoria”
sound like the kind of show you
could get into? Get caught up
on HBO Go, and absolutely do
not miss the season finale airing
Sunday, Aug. 4, on HBO.