Euphoria is a show about a lot of things. Too many things, probably. In its first season, a mere 8 episodes, its themes run the gamut of the human experience: sexuality, addiction, gender identity, class, mental illness, domestic abuse, trauma, grief, shame, and more. A lot of the time, when a show tries to cover this much ground, it ends up seeming heavy-handed and inauthentic. Though I might not exactly describe Euphoria as “authentic” (at least not to my teenage experience, which mostly consisted of hanging out at strip mall movie theaters or reading manga at the Starbucks inside Barnes & Noble), I was surprised by how well this show actually works. What elevates Euphoria beyond your typical melodrama is the kaleidoscopic lens through which it views all of these issues: teenage girlhood.
What do you think of when you think of a teenage girl? Do you think of some abstract notion of what a ‘teenager’ is now that you aren’t one anymore — some terrifying, iPhone-wielding monster who can look you, a grown-ass adult, in the eyeball and make you feel like you’re about two inches tall? Do you think of the girls you knew in high school, the ones you loved, the ones who were mean to you, the ones you were mean to? Or do you think of your own teenage self? Well, whatever you think of, you’re right, and you’re also wrong. Euphoria challenges the idea that a “teenage girl” is a definable quantity.
Mild spoilers for season one ahead. Read More