“Euphoria’s” raw authenticity and creativity boost it to the TV A-List.

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“Euphoria’s” raw authenticity and creativity boost it to the TV A-List.

Hanna Jaeger, staff writer

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The teenage years are often glorified. Growing up watching Disney Channel and Nickelodeon TV shows, we’re led to expect seven years of shenanigans, crushes, winning football games, and maybe the occasional pop quiz. At some point, we all realize that isn’t the case. 

This past summer, “Euphoria” premiered on HBO and made waves as a painstakingly real portrayal of mid to late adolescence. The series was produced and written by filmmaker Sam Levinson and has garnered comparisons to films such as “Gummo” (1997) and “Kids” (1995), as well as the late 2000s UK show “Skins for its honest, yet controversial, portrayal of the lives of teenagers. Levinson set out with a goal: give real teenagers a chance to be seen as they are, in all the highs and lows of high school.

“Euphoria,” taking inspiration from Levinson’s own struggle with drug addiction in his formative years, follows Rue Bennett—portrayed by Zendaya —in her junior year of high school after spending a summer in rehabilitation. Zendaya breathes life into Rue using her signature charisma and brings heart and relatability to a number of otherwise grueling scenes.

However, Zendaya is not the only actor in “Euphoria” to deliver a potent performance. Kissing Booth” star Jacob Elordi makes a major shift characteristically from the Netflix film to his role as quarterback and villain Nate Jacobs, a role that could make Darth Vader and Freddy Krueger quiver. Newcomer Hunter Schafer stars as the mysterious new student Jules Vaughn, giving a harrowing yet exhilarating and mind-blowing effortconsidering that it’s her first acting role everthat instantly entices both Rue and the audience. 

Nonetheless, the real star of “Euphoria” is behind the camera. Head makeup artist Doniella Davy has started a revolution. Just search “Euphoria” online and you will be bombarded with hundreds of photos of teenage faces covered in glitter, neon eyeshadow, and heart-shaped sequins inspired by the looks of the cast. This proves that Levinson has reached his goal: with only the first season out, “Euphoria” has given young adults something they connect to, be it through the creative makeup, impressive filmmaking, diverse cast, or the pure honesty of its characters.

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