Rue always wears her black high top chucks and Vans socks in Euphoria.
The average life of a high school student is usually fraught with emotional stress and life-changing events. However, when Hollywood tells these tales, they crank teenage problems up to a 10. HBO’s Euphoria goes a step further and dials everything to a 20 as it tackles issues like child abuse, drug abuse, toxic relationships, toxic positivity, hookup culture, mental illness, codependency, infidelity, relapsing, repressed homosexuality, sobriety, human trafficking, domestic violence, rape, toxic masculinity, drug dealing, dating violence, and grief. That’s a lot of stuff to go down in less than four years. The series stars Zendaya, Maude Apatow, Angus Cloud, Eric Dane, Alexa Demie, Jacob Elordi, Barbie Ferreira, Nika King, Storm Reid, Hunter Schafer, Algee Smith, Sydney Sweeney, Colman Domingo, and Dominic Fike. Premiering on June 16th, 2019, the series has become beloved for its incredible highs, cringey lows, and infinite memeability. However, with the current Writer’s Strike halting Hollywood, and the rise of its young cast into superstardom, Season 3 likely won’t arrive till 2025 at the earliest.
Elliot (Fike) joins the cast of Euphoria High and also wears black high top chucks.
In the fictional town of East Highland, California the teenagers of the local high school go through the most drama-filled and eventful lives one could ever imagine. The main focus of the show is Rue Bennett (Zendaya), a teenage drug addict who has suffered from various mental health issues since her dad died of cancer. She pretty much exclusively wears black high top chucks and sweatpants in the show, highlighting her disheveled nature and wild personality. She lives with her mom (King) and sister (Reid) who both struggle with Rue’s constant mood swings and violent outbursts due to her drug abuse. Rue soon meets Jules Vaughn (Schafer), a transgender girl who is new in town, and develops a relationship with her. Then there are the popular kids that round out the cast of Euphoria High: Maddy Diaz (Demie), Cassie Howard (Sweeney), and Nate Jacobs (Elordi) who all have their own deep, emotional issues that put strains on their relationships.
Rue struggles a lot in this show and her journey is a tough one..
The performances in this show are absolutely standout. Zendaya is so effortlessly incredible as Rue and it’s clear that her vision for the character is what we get on screen. She brings such pain and love in this beautiful dichotomy within this character. No better episode displays her prowess than the first of two specials Euphoria did between seasons 1 and 2. In "Trouble Don’t Last Always, Part 1: Rue", Rue and Ali (Domingo) spend the entire episode sitting in a diner just talking about life, addiction, and what this all means. It’s a beautiful commentary on all the most important ideas the show has. Zendaya has a moment where she takes a long pause and in that pause, you get so much emotion that it leaves you in awe.
An all-time iconic scene from Season 2.
Other standouts in the cast include Sydney Sweeney, Hunter Schafer, Alexa Demie, and Coleman Domingo. However, the thing keeping this show from truly reaching the pantheon of all-time great HBO shows is its creator: Sam Levison. Sam Levinson is just the worst. Even when Euphoria is at its best, his creative tendencies and choices bring the show down and actively hurt everyone involved. His over-sexualization of women (and in Euphoria’s case, underaged women), focus on abuse, and his lack of awareness of any criticism of his writing just make going through these shows a slog at times. Euphoria succeeds in spite of him, not because of him, and that is all due to talented women like Zendaya, Hunter Schafer, Sydney Sweeney, and the rest of this cast keeping his worst ideas from reaching the screen.
A contemplative Rue in her chucks.
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