HBO has always been known for having violent, nudity-filled programming. Whether it be a fantasy series like Game of Thrones or a western filled with androids like Westworld, the network has never been one to shy away from making audiences blush. While the programs can certainly be called gratuitous at times, most have gained the stamp of approval by audiences.
One of HBO’s newest shows, Euphoria, falls right in line with its fellow series. Yet, it has also seemed to draw a lot more media attention, with many bringing up the idea of the show being over-dramatized and gratuitous for no reason.
The key difference between Euphoria and all the other extremely explicit shows on HBO, though, is that the show contains the violence, the sex and the drugs for a purpose. From the scenes of mass parties to those showcasing a lot more nudity than audiences are usually used to, they’re not done simply to shock the viewer. While shock is most likely an intended side-effect, Euphoria crafts its more “edgy” scenes in a way that is backed by intent and purpose.
Sure, high schools like the one in the show don’t really exist, at least not with the extreme amount of issues and problems in the show all at once. But the series throws together topics ranging from •drug abuse, sexual orientation, peer pressure, rape and underage activity in an effort to highlight the mass amount of issues that span out more widely in real life. All of those problems might not all plague one school at once, but they’re all prevalent in some capacity for kids growing up today.
Euphoria throws all these issues into one melting pot of chaos to highlight how those topics are seen as taboo and are swept under the rug by a lot of people. It wants the viewer to feel over-stimulated when watching the show, it wants you to feel like it’s all too much, because that’s how those struggling with any of the topics covered in the show feel. The show depicts so-called gratuitous violence, sex and issues to ultimately make it feel more real, because it is.
And through its hold-no-punches style, Euphoria becomes this extremely thought-provoking show a viewer might describe as a guilty pleasure. Not because they love seeing the madness going on on-screen, but because it makes them sit back and think about so many things young kids growing up in our current cultural and political climate today have to deal with.
Through the post-show interviews that accompany each episode, it’s also clear that the actors, writers and producers all believe in what the show is trying to do. They've put a lot of time and thought into every aspect of the series. They’re going to depict and talk about the tough things others can’t or won’t. And that shows so much promise going forward, now that the show has been renewed for a second season.
So, while a show like Game of Thrones depicts gratuitous violence and nudity for gratuity sake only, and audiences accept that show, it should be no question that a show like Euphoria can be accepted as well. Even though it shows just as much violence and drugs and sex, and perhaps even more so than any other HBO show before it, it does it with important purpose.
Jackson Horvat is a sophomore studying journalism at Ohio University. Please note that the views and opinions of the columnists do not reflect those of The Post. Do you agree? Tell Jackson by tweeting him at @horvatjackson.