Zendaya has gone from entertaining kids and families worldwide as a Disney star via The Greatest Showman to the MCU but her new HBO series isn’t one for youngsters as it’s being criticised for including ‘deviant behaviour’.
Euphoria hasn’t even aired yet but its trailer and plot details have been enough to spark outrage as a number of social media users have taken to Twitter to complain about the show.
The series follows a group of high school students who experiment with sex and drugs. One episode reportedly includes a locker room scene where viewers are faced with 30 penises, while another contains a shocking rape scene.
Take a look at the trailer here:
The Hollywood Reporter has shared more details on the series, which is said to include both a ‘choking’ sex scene between teens as well as the rape scene, in which a 17-year-old trans character is attacked with an erect prosthetic penis, in the pilot episode alone.
As made clear in the trailer, Zendaya’s character is struggling to overcome a drug addition and one scene shows her overdosing; a far cry from the all-singing, all-dancing performances she’s done in the past.
Parents Television Council president Tim Winter has slammed the series, arguing it ‘appears to be overtly, intentionally marketing extremely graphic adult content — sex, violence, profanity and drug use — to teens and preteens’.
What is the point of this show? And why can't anything be left to ones imagination?? —HBO's Explicit 'Euphoria' Courts Controversy: How Much Teen Sex and Drugs Is Too Much? https://t.co/9WQ2VmFlcA via @thr
— LKinTX (@LKinTX) June 12, 2019
— Patricia Spork (@sporkette) June 12, 2019
However, although he admitted the show might ‘totally f*cking freak out’ parents, Euphoria creator Sam Levinson drew on his own past struggles with addiction for the show, meaning these scenes, while shocking, aren’t necessarily an exaggeration of teen life.
Speaking of the show, 21-year-old cast member Maude Apatow said:
It’s a good insight into how hard it is to grow up in this time.
Similarly, HBO programming president Casey Bloys explained:
It may seem boundary-pushing, and the idea of putting them on TV may be, but somebody lived them.
This seems like a classic case of ‘if you don’t like it, don’t watch it’ but it seems people will still get annoyed simply by the existence of this kind of show.
After all the nudity in previous HBO shows like Game of Thrones and Westworld, not to mention the amount of graphic violent scenes which are found in television and film in general, you’d think society would have got used to the idea that productions often include explicit scenes – that’s what age ratings are there for.
As well as providing entertainment, Euphoria provides a narrative on drugs and sex which may be relatable for viewers who have experienced similar situations; it will get people talking and potentially even provide an outlet for those suffering with issues raised in the show.
Euphoria will air on HBO this Sunday, June 16.
If you have been affected by any of the issues in this article and wish to speak to someone in confidence contact the Rape Crisis England and Wales helpline on 0808 802 9999 (12-2:30 and 7-9:30). Alternatively you can contact Victim Support on 08 08 16 89 111.
Male Survivors Partnership is available to support adult male survivors of sexual abuse and rape. You can contact the organisation on its website or on its helpline – 0808 800 5005.
Emily Brown first began delivering important news stories aged just 13, when she launched her career with a paper round. She graduated with a BA Hons in English Language in the Media from Lancaster University, and went on to become a freelance writer and blogger. Emily contributed to The Sunday Times Travel Magazine and Student Problems before becoming a journalist at UNILAD, where she works on breaking news as well as longer form features.