San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913

The Daily Aztec

San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913

The Daily Aztec

San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913

The Daily Aztec

Students endure the vulnerable, chaotic mess of ‘Euphoria’

Ryan Hardison
Students at San Diego State say “Euphoria” can be a lot to handle, yet it’s a show that’s hard to look away from.

As the second most-watched HBO show of all time, right behind “Game of Thrones,” “Euphoria” is easily at the top of today’s cultural phenomenons. San Diego State’s campus aligns with the teen drama’s target demographics, and mixed with the fact that HBO Max is provided free for students living on campus, “Euphoria” has become an immediate talking point at SDSU. 

Unlike HBO’s most awarded pieces of work, and some of TV’s greatest shows such as “Game of Thrones,” “The Sopranos,” and “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” some may say HBO completely directs “Euphoria” towards the Generation Z demographic. Filled with cautionary tales of characters that can be defined as part of Gen Z, the show’s major plot points are fueled by the usual suspects of drugs and sex, but combined with modern day dilemmas involving the opioid crisis and the chaotic world of social media.

Andrea Beltran, a fifth year Spanish major and public informations assistant at the EOP offices on campus, displays the show’s unique effects. 

“Its vulnerability hits close to reality, and while it may be problematic, I find it extremely important,” Beltran said. 

The show revolves around the character Rue, played by Zendaya, a teen unable to prioritize importance between reality’s presence and the grievance for her father, which becomes extremely amplified and intensified due to her drug problem. Rue, whose addiction began when her dying father needed to be fed opioids to ease his cancer-ridden pain, illuminates the complications of opioid addiction and the intense effects of the powerful drug. 

With extremely intense scenes of full-on physical and emotional abuse caused by not only the drug itself but the business behind it, “Euphoria” is as unfiltered and crude as a teen drama has ever been. Freshman psychology major Ellie Kerr touches upon the show’s vulnerabilities, stating that she does enjoy the show, but “sometimes it can be hard mentally to watch it.” This may have been a factor in HBO’s decision to release season two’s episodes weekly, rather than releasing all of the episodes at once like they did in season one.

Due to the graphic subject matter of “Euphoria,” it is not a show one can typically binge, especially if watching alone. While it is technically labeled as a teen drama, it would be fair to add “psychological thriller” to its description as well. 


One of the show’s most shocking moments is seen in the episode “A Thousand Little Trees of Blood” when the troubled and confused antagonist Nate shows up unannounced in his ex-girlfriend’s (Maddy) room, with a revolver. As Nate alternates the gun’s direction between him and Maddy, he plays “Russian roulette,” a lethal game of chance involving the use of only one bullet, spinning the gun’s cylinder, and pulling the trigger as he tests their luck. For those following the show, this is not out of character for Nate, as he is a borderline psychopath with severe daddy issues. The show’s nail-biting suspense is always purposeful and not just for shock factor, and only adds to the genius of “Euphoria.”

In a survey conducted by The Daily Aztec asking for students’ opinions on the show, one of the questions asked students to name their favorite characters on the show. Fez, a sweetheart drug dealer looking for a way to pay his grandmother’s hospital bills, was the most voted with 82% of the survey participants choosing him. 

Fourth year psychology major Lauren Gerken’s reasoning for choosing Fez as one of her favorite characters had to do with his personality and actions. 

He is so authentically himself and would move mountains for the people that he cares about, despite how many mistakes those people might make,” Gerken said. HBO’s “Euphoria” is undoubtedly one of the most important shows out right now, not only for its thoughtful plot points and reflective characters, but for its ability to reel in a generation as complicated as ours. We are an extremely unique and complex group of individuals, so to see us at our worst, head first on the big screen, may actually help this demographic cope with life’s chaos and iron out the nonsense.

About the Contributors
Huy Huynh, Staff Writer
Huy Huynh was born and raised in San Diego, California and attended Patrick Henry High School in Del Cerro. After graduating, he studied at Grossmont College, right before transferring to San Diego State University as a psychology major with a minor in Digital and Social Media Studies. In his free time, he enjoys reading, making music, or creating videos, which he also does for work as a freelance videographer/editor. He is currently a staff writer for the Daily Aztec, working in multiple sections such as Arts and Culture as well as the News section. Huy is also bilingual in Vietnamese.
Ryan Hardison, Arts & Culture Editor
Ryan Hardison is a senior studying journalism, sociology and history.
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San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913
Students endure the vulnerable, chaotic mess of ‘Euphoria’