Students, faculty discuss social issues seen in Euphoria’s season two

Euphoria graphic Jack Malatesta

Jack Malatesta

Graphic by Jack Malatesta

HBO Max released on Jan. 9 the second season of its television series “Euphoria” after COVID-19 delayed the production and return date.

According to HBO, “Euphoria” follows a group of high school students at East Highland High who are navigating through love and friendships. The show follows Rue, played by Zendaya, a 17-year-old girl with a drug addiction who is fresh out of rehab and has no plans of staying clean and the characters around her.  

Season two continues to follow these characters, but the trailer and first few episodes show the viewer Rue’s battle with substance abuse is far from over. 

The show became increasingly popular after the first season due to its depiction of dark problems in adolescence and social issues such as substance abuse, trauma, anxiety, mental illness and more. 

“I think it portrays addiction in a really accurate way,” said Jen McLaughlin, Honors and Scholars Program coordinator. “In this new season, in particular, Rue is willing to literally lie and hurt anyone to get her next high and that is indeed a very real and painful reality. The anger we feel toward her in these episodes is how people feel about their loved ones who are addicts but with a whole lot more emotion because it’s real.”

Heather Brinig, a sophomore political science major, noted that the show goes out and discusses “the truths of today’s youth.” Brinig found that it shows situations that college students find themselves in: domestic violence, drug addiction and self-image issues.

McLaughlin hopes that Rue’s relatable story does not influence teenagers and young adults to follow the same path. 

Despite the difficult and taboo topics within “Euphoria,” many enjoy watching the show.

“It has a lot of different characters with interesting backgrounds and it makes for a really good storyline,” said Taylor Quackenbush, a sophomore mechanical engineering major. “They also have some pretty good actors and actresses.” 

Other viewers find the show to be a challenge to watch but the material to be significant enough to push through.

Brinig talked about having a sheltered life, making the show hard to watch, but she believes that Euphoria does a good job of showing “the issues that society faces today.”

Season two of “Euphoria” will have eight episodes and each episode will be about an hour in length. New episodes of “Euphoria” season two air on HBO Max and HBO’s cable channel at 9 p.m. every Sunday.