Highschool, as great as it seems on teen shows like One Tree Hill or The Vampire Diaries, has a lot of unrealistic truths regarding actual school, the characters including their independence, affluence, and much more.
Sunday, September 20th, actress Zendaya won an Emmy for her performance in a lead role in a drama series as Rue Bennet on HBO’s Euphoria. The youngest to win in the competitive category, Zendaya thanked her team, the television academy, and mostly Sam Levinson, the show’s director, and who her character “Rue” is loosely based on. The drama-full 8 episode show featured only on HBO covers some pretty emotionally heavy-but real topics. Released only last summer, it’s gotten lots of buzz and critical acclaim. But, as the show goes into production for its second season after receiving such high-praise, we ask students if it really reflects our generation’s experience and take on High School.
The best place to reach students was our nifty Instagram, *shameless self-promotion- follow us @theghfalcon* where 54 students answered they had yet to see the show and 37 did tune in to see Zendaya’s Disney-departure starring in the series as a drug addict.
Our research found many responded that the high school depicted in Euphoria is “not at all” like Green Hope and several students had justification on why the show is or isn’t similar. Junior Delaney Flanagan stated, “Addiction is a problem everywhere but Euphoria is more extreme than GH,” this is a common term the students used to differentiate the schools. Andrea Araya, senior at Green Hope argued Euphoria’s “exaggerated but yes definitely [alike to Green Hope].” Lauren Summerville, 11th grade, also makes a point that “in some aspects yes [Green Hope’s environment and student body are resemblant] but a lot less extreme.” Another junior, Abhinav Mayreddy, replied to the post, “No real school is like Euphoria.” From his response, he contends no fictional TV show accurately portrays educational institutions and thus, Euphoria fails too. One student questioned, “Where are all the out trans people at GH??” A large part of the plot in the HBO show is the identity of Jules Vaughn, performed by Broughton High School’s own Hunter Schafer, a trans teenager, this student makes a great observation that although Green Hope is accepting and very current, schools in reality, might not be as gritty and what some students called “raunchy” as they are acted out in the entertainment industry, more specifically Sam Levinson’s Euphoria.
Although 14 total students explicitly said that “No” the teen drama isn’t similar to our school, they didn’t invalidate the show’s message and overall performance, they also didn’t hesitate to mention their excitement for the upcoming second season.
According to Vulture.com, the show’s “a kaleidoscopic look at the lives of troubled, yearning teenagers on a journey of self-discovery that happens to involve tons of sex, drugs, and cathartic weeping.” Author of the article, “Why Euphoria Feels So Real, Even When It Isn’t Realistic” includes the writer and director of the series’s original motive and purpose behind the scene by scene of the show even asking if the “images, sound, or music ever dictates what happens in the story?” Levinson reveals, “We established early on that each scene ought to be an interpretation of reality or a representation of an emotional reality. I’m not interested in realism. I’m interested in an emotional realism.” This response made by Levinson following the show’s eighth and final episode of the first season makes such an impactful answer to the weird relation many if not all viewers feel toward the show even with the numerous nuances of fiction (dramatic fiction at that) included. It’s that feeling and emotion developed in these characters and stories (some of which actually experienced in real life for the actors) that feel so familiar.
Ultimately, if we can take one message away from the narrative told in Euphoria it’s that “no”- Green Hope isn’t identical to that exhibited high-school but the deeper sentiment found in the show is relatable and akin to a myriad of Green Hope students emotionally, which is exactly what Sam Levinson hoped to achieve. An emotional reality, many of these feelings felt by Green Hope students.