By Jamie Vacca
Although Euphoria’s producers say this show’s target audience is teenagers aged 17 and older, Euphoria contains not only content for mature audiences but also valuable information that those of all ages should be exposed to. Well, probably no one under the age of 17. While some aspects of the show are visually appealing, such as the intricate details of Maddie and Cassie’s daily outfits, the show also conveys many real and relevant messages. The culmination of aesthetically pleasing and disturbingly graphic content makes Euphoria a well-rounded and engaging show for a wide range of audiences.
For those who have never watched, Euphoria is an HBO Max series which channels high school students and the conflicts they face throughout their daily lives. One of the main characters is Rue Bennett, who is played by Zendaya. In the opening episode of the first season of the show, we learn that Rue lost her dad to cancer. Once he passed away, she grew increasingly reliant on prescription drugs. The drugs became a method of coping for her. This addiction, however, escalated to harder drugs, including heroin and opioids. Her mom had sent her to rehab with the hopes of cleansing her of this addiction, but as we all know, the road to recovery is, unfortunately, a painfully exhaustive process.
While there are many characters worth mentioning who play integral roles in the series, Rue’s character is one of the main reasons I would urge you all to watch. Every Sunday night throughout the duration of the series, my friends and I get together at 8 p.m. central time to watch the new episode. We all smush together on the couch, eager to see what the new episode will bring. While we all love a good Jacob Elordi cameo (cast as Nate) and can all let out a cheer when he comes onto the screen, my friends and I have mixed opinions on Rue. Some of my friends think that many of the things she does in the series are both vulgar and disturbing. She doesn’t put herself together well, is often in search of drugs, and isolates herself from those who care about her as a result of her drug addiction. While I won’t deny that some of her scenes are hard to watch, I think that she is the most valuable character (I’d even denote her the MVP), and I’ll tell you why.
Rue’s character is an accurate depiction of what addiction looks like. It’s not pretty, charming, or pleasant. At times, she projects her pain onto others, both impacting herself and those who care about her. Throughout both seasons, there are several scenes where she is seemingly inconsolable, which some people are simply not interested in watching. While I dread these moments and prefer to see what cool outfit Maddy Perez puts together for school, we undeniably learn from our surroundings and the media we consume. Because of this, it is important that we internalize the struggles Rue is subjected to and become aware of the severe chokehold an addiction puts a person in.
As you can probably tell, there are so many different elements of Euphoria which make it my favorite show. Now don’t get me wrong, it’s not a light watch, and those who decide to watch should be cognizant of the potentially triggering content they will be exposed to. However, if you can handle it, this show is a must-watch, and I give its producers the utmost amount of praise. While Rue may not be everyone’s favorite character, her role is important and enlightening.