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A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Euphoria is a drama series about a teen girl who's working through addiction along with the usual challenges of adolescence. It features lots of boundary-pushing content related to sex, drugs, and sexual violence. Girls are violated in many ways, included being leered at, groped, and touched without their permission. Boys wonder if they're "whores" and share their images on social media "slut pages." A boy chokes a girl during sex, and a drug dealer tries to extract sexual payment from a girl for drugs. Nudity, especially full-frontal male nudity, is frequent; we see nudity in both sexual contexts (a man pauses before sex to put on a condom) and nonsexual (nude boys cavort in a locker room). We also see many "d--k pics," and older characters having sex or coming on to underage teens. Girls are often depicted as abused, and boys as abusers; though some characters do have redemptive arcs, there's not a lot of kindness or thoughtfulness on display. One character is an addict; many scenes depict her smoking, drinking, taking pills, or snorting (pills or white powders). Cursing is very frequent; expect "f--k," "s--t," "p---y," "a--hole," "bulls--t," "bitch," and "d--k." While it's a show about teens, the extremely mature content is most appropriate for adult viewers.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
The teens in EUPHORIA are feeling anything but. Fresh out of rehab, Rue (Zendaya) doesn't even make it a week before she's back buying drugs from Fezco (Angus Cloud) and making a new best friend in Jules (Hunter Schafer), who's new in town but quickly runs afoul of Nate (Jacob Elordi), the alpha-male football player who's more dangerous than anyone realizes. Meanwhile Kat (Barbie Ferreira) suffers from a lack of love and the lack of regard she gets from other people who don't appreciate her body type, Maddy (Alexa Demie) is blithely unaware of how scary her longtime boyfriend is, and Chris (Algee Smith) can't figure out how to be close to a woman that's not a moving image on a screen. High school was never easy, but surely this is a new low.
Is it any good?
People say youth is wasted on the young, and it certainly seems that way in this compelling but ugly series in which teens exist in hells of their own making. Damaged by her father's early death, the casual cruelty she sees around her, and her own (labeled by an expert) faulty brain chemistry, Rue snorts, smokes, and drinks everything she can get her hands on. Her terrified mom tries sending her to rehab, and she tries giving Rue over-the-counter drug tests, which her daughter foils by racing across town to procure her former best friend's fresh, clean urine. And yet Rue's one of the characters who's (mostly) just abusing herself; the treatment from others handed to Jules, Kat, and Cassie (Sydney Sweeney) is far worse.
Both the camera and these girls' peers leer at them endlessly, evaluating them from a distance. How do they look? Are they hot? More importantly, what will they do sexually? Sex becomes something the boys try to trick or shame the girls into, and when Cassie genuinely responds to Chris at a party, his response is to pin her down and choke her, as he's seen in porn. He thought she would like it. Kat definitely does not like the boys who surreptitiously filmed her losing her virginity at a party and posted it on a "slut page" for the whole school to laugh at. And as we soon learn, the boys who treat their classmates and neighbors so terribly are themselves abused, by parents who don't care, by parents who aren't there, by parents who themselves do terrible things. Some characters get more of a redemptive arc than others, but most just struggle, fail, and struggle again. It's a miserable cycle, and though Euphoria is hard to watch, it's equally hard to stop.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about whether it's OK to show teen sex, drinking, and drug use on television. Do shows like Euphoria present a realistic view of teen life, or is anything exaggerated for entertainment? What would the real-life consequences of the characters' behavior be?
Euphoria contains an extensive amount of nudity, particularly male full-frontal nudity, which is very rare in American movies and TV shows. Why? Why are women shown nude more frequently than men? How often is the nudity in Euphoria related to sex and how often is it nonsexual -- e.g., people bathing or changing? Does it matter?
Does this show make being a teen look like fun? Is it realistic? Do the teens you know look and act like this? Do they have these types of problems? Does a show have to be hyperrealistic to be enjoyable?
Do you know anyone who is struggling with drug abuse or addiction? What are the challenges they might face? What are some resources you know of that could be helpful?
For kids who love teen drama
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.