Euphoria: Navigating Love, Trauma, and Addiction

Marlen Maldonado, Staff Writer

Euphoria, a drama-filled Television show on HBO Max, demonstrates the everyday obstacles that teenagers face as they navigate romantic and family relationships while grappling with unresolved family traumas and personal addictions. The show follows Rue Bennett, a young girl who encounters challenges with substance abuse in the aftermath of her father’s death and struggles to escape her addiction.

Rue narrates each episode as a voice over, which includes a storyline of other important characters in her life, such as Maddie, Cassie, Nate, Jules, Fez, Lexi, and Kat. In the first episode of season 1, Rue has just been released from rehab but is already on the hunt for her next high.  The following episodes demonstrate how her actions and behavior influence, positively or negatively, her relationships with others, especially her mother, sister, and newest friend, Jules. The writer of the show, Sam Levinson, has stated that he based the show off his firsthand experiences of addiction.

The other characters in Rue’s social circle are struggling with their own difficult home lives and personal demons. Nate, for instance, is hiding a dirty family secret, Cassie and Lexi are dealing with the abandonment of their father, Jules is using sex to fill an emotional void, Kat is struggling to be noticed by boys and Maddie is doing everything she can to hold onto a toxic, abusive relationship.

The show has been criticized for its graphic scenes, which can involve both physical and mental abuse, addiction, sex, and at times, blood. However, the show has gained an immense following. According to, it is the 2nd most watched show since 2004, with an average of 16.3 million viewers an episode.  

The show has received praise for its diverse cast and for the inclusivity of the LGBTQ community. Rue is biracial, with a black mother and a white father; Maddie is hispanic; Jules is a trans female. It has been noted, however, that there are no Asian characters.  

It also has received acclaim for the cinematography, makeup and costuming, and the performances of its stars. In 2020, Zendaya won the Emmy for Best Actress in a Leading role for her role as Rue.

The aesthetics of the characters has increased the show’s popularity. Each character has a distinctive style and color scheme to represent them. For example, Rue always appears in dark colors, which are reflective of her mental health issues. Maddie wears more vibrant colors like purple or pink to display her confidence and femininity, and Cassie wears a lot of white and light blue to show her innocence and desire for a pure love.  

Euphoria may have 45 minute episodes, but the length is worth the time. With only 2 seasons so far, it’ll be easy for anyone to catch up while awaiting season 3’s release!