Why EUPHORIA’s Blurred Vision of Reality is Disastrous for Viewers
By Cooper Dowd, Movieguide Staff
Cast and crew of the popular TV series EUPHORIA recently mourned the death of co-star Angus Cloud after the 25-year-old died of a drug overdose on July 31.
While mainstream media shivers at the thought of blaming a piece of media for real-life consequences, it is impossible to neglect the similarities between Cloud’s tragic death and EUPHORIA’s subject matter.
The show, created by Sam Levinson, tells the stories of teenagers who struggle with addiction, lust, and loss, all of which is shown in graphic detail; aptly earning itself the TV-MA rating.
Episodes contain depictions of graphic sexual content, underage drunkenness, drugs and drug overdoses, and suicide; an unapologetic portrayal of human depravity. EUPHORIA is the new “boundary-breaking” series in a list of recent shows—like 13 REASONS WHY—that present a hopeless, Godless outlook on life with sin in the spotlight.
While it would be unfair and a mistruth to say the creators of either show set out to glorify suicide, to ignore how media influences their target viewers is foolish.
Not only does what we watch affect our minds and our souls, but there is a direct correlation to what we witness on screen and our actions in real life. Euphoria presents a blurred reality in which there is no God, there is no hope, and there is no freedom from sin.
Unfortunately, mainstream reviews of EUPHORIA are equally unabashed in telling readers that the content they see on screen is normal.
The Hollywood Reporter writes of the show: “Euphoria sees Levinson bring to life the extremely rough and harrowing world of teenagers trying to navigate drugs, sex, social media nightmares, broken homes, emotional distress and other life-comes-at-you-fast adolescent issues that so many shows about teenagers can’t seem to grasp or get right.”
The article continues by acknowledging that there is an audience that will be “outraged” at its content. But no moral stance is taken, and by the end of the article it is clear that the writer does not see EUPHORIA as problematic, but unique.
“Levinson steers unflinchingly into what many adults and particularly parents will be triggered (and maybe outraged) by while most teens will probably agree it’s one of the few accurate visual interpretations of their life,” the article states. “Euphoria is, at least early on, the anti-after-school-special about drugs. But that’s just Rue’s story. Around her and Jules there’s a swirl of high school parties, enabling parents, d*ck pics, the porn-fueled sex education of teen boys, highness as a daily state of mind, narcotics anonymous, slut-shaming, slut-embracing, bullying and the tamping down of emotions just to survive.”
The article concludes: “It might not be every teen’s story, but it’s a story that hasn’t been told quite like this in a while.”
The THR’s neutral stance proves that there is a disconnect between mainstream media and major audiences.
EUPHORIA missteps at every turn on the moral highway. The show glosses over the problem of sin, and operates under the assumption that this life is all we have. Without an acknowledgement of God or his moral standard, or a life beyond, it should come as no surprise the best the world can do is glorify sin.
How can a show be on the right side of morality when the best answer to a teen’s struggle with addiction is that there is no life after death? That in the end, what we do, and sin’s consequences, don’t matter?
If EUPHORIA accomplishes one good thing, it is a striking reminder that humans are in need of a savior. Whether intentional or not, its deceitful and destructive content shows us that when we operate without a biblical worldview, we are easily influenced by the world.
The good news is that if immorality can affect our minds and souls then so can the good, the true and the beautiful. There is a better way to “open up dialogue,” as Sam Levinson puts it, about drugs, sex, social media, and loss. Better yet, there is an answer to the problem.
Instead of spending time focusing on the immoral, Movieguide® and other organizations are hoping to point people to focus on morally-uplifting media that speaks to a truer reality; that God created us and extends to us saving faith and everlasting hope.
“I cried. I want to commit suicide,” 11-year-old Minh Viet stated. Like many of his friends, the Vietnamese boy was addicted to video games, some of which have characters jumping off the roof to their death. This made Minh want to do the same.
Psychology professor Craig A. Anderson states, “we now have conclusive evidence that playing violent video games has harmful effects on children and adolescents.”
These aren’t merely statistics. These are young boys and girls. These reports and numbers reflect the 11-year-old Minh Viet.
Miraculously, Minh Viet didn’t become another victim of media influenced suicide. What helped him get out of this negative mindset? An animated Christian television program he viewed at a church. The TV program is called SUPERBOOK.