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We asked Gen Z to rate Euphoria based on their own teenage experiences

According to many of them the series is quite accurate

We asked Gen Z to rate Euphoria based on their own teenage experiences  According to many of them the series is quite accurate

As we watch the much-anticipated second season of HBO series Euphoria slowly unfold, once again conversations are being sparked around its nature and the themes that are explored throughout. Although the storyline may be fictitious, its graphic portrayal of Gen Z (born 1997 - 2012) and the realities which they face have raised questions regarding the accuracy of cinematic pictures painted by American filmmaker Sam Levinson and how it translates to everyday life. Each episode offers an interpretation that could be just as triggering as it may be satisfying. Whether it be its depiction of the complicated feelings behind addiction as we go on a journey with the lead character Rue (played by Zendaya) as she desperately binges on a variety of substances in an effort to turn down the volume of anxiety screaming inside her head since her birth; or its portrayal of how Gen Z is heavily influenced by pornography as one character forces himself onto his consenting partner and begins choking her, in claim that he thought that was what she would like. 

Regardless of what it may entail, Euphoria undoubtedly hits several notes that resonate with the realities of the generation in some capacity. In nss magazine’s second digital cover, we explored The Dark Side of Gen Z where we found that the generation was doing less alcohol and drugs compared to past generations, but have 56% increased rates of suicide anxiety and depression, other studies however suggest that the generation and our addiction to social media makes us more mentally and emotionally vulnerable. So instead of focusing on studies, we decided to speak to a few people that fall within the generation to discuss their experiences of adolescence as it pertains to drugs, sex , gender, the realities of being born into a digital age in comparison to the story that Euphoria paints to investigate whether the story is exaggerated or simply honest. 

Dario, 24 years – Mentana, Italy

Watching Euphoria was like physically seeing where society is going. Every color, light or sound seemed to me an amplification of what I experience in life, in such an innovative way that it almost projected me into the future. I didn’t think it was entirely accurate to my experience due to the different culture between the countries, regarding the theme of parties and independence at a young age. However I perceived the same progress that was starting to spread regarding the theme of sex or sexuality, for example compared to how I experienced my coming out in my teenage years.

Accuracy: 6/10

Three words that describe my high school experience: Progress, social anxiety, opportunity

Davida, 24 yeara – Philadelphia, USA

Euphoria makes me feel guilty, suspenseful and intrigued. Compared to my teen-hood, Euphoria to me depicts every waking emotion of a teenager quite well . With the heightened emotions and insecurity, mixed with coming of age story it portrays sex, and drama better than any other teen show of all time. It’s dark, but teenage years are, and I like that Euphoria is dark and gritty and that gives viewers authenticity and honesty. Euphoria shows the real panic, real sensations and real complication that is high school and it shows what our generation  really experienced. 

Accuracy: 10/10 

Three words that describe my high school experience: lessons , friendship, resilience

June, 23 years – Lecce, Italy

Watching Euphoria makes me feel seen, somehow understood. It's not so much the variety of the storytelling or the way in which the events are put together, but the way in which the visual part marries with the inner world of the characters. The aesthetic triumphs over the experience and becomes its vehicle. I feel like the show is pretty accurate. In other shows, there was a tendency to give a glossy version of the childhood issues, far from the real turbulence of adolescence. Instead, now it's clear how identity issues are also political, for example.

Accuracy: 8/10 

Three words that describe my high school experience: messy, deranged, heavy

Anna, 23 years – Vicenza, Italy

Watching Euphoria made me feel all sorts of things. Happy, sometimes sad and overwhelmed by the intensity with which some issues were addressed. For me, the character profiles are very accurate and reliable. They perfectly reflect that moment of life that is adolescence, a period of chaotic and controversial passage, where one is often stubborn, confused and irascible. Drama was a daily part of my days in high school , every unpleasant situation was perceived in a very strong exaggerated way. Reactions were all impulsive, and often accompanied by cursing and screams. I also found the portrayal of how sex is perceived to be very accurate and truthful.

Accuracy: 7/10

Three words to describe the high school period: Anger, Force, Friendship

Iman, 18 years – Winnipeg, Canada

Euphoria makes me feel uncomfortable at times, mainly because of how realistic it is. Many of the characters in the show remind me of kids I went to high school with. I feel that it perfectly displays the use of drugs in high school, the sex and the drama because many of the situations that occur in the show I’ve witnessed first hand. Even though my personal high school experience was different from the characters I could literally name the kids I went to high school with that were just like characters in the show. 

Accuracy: 9/10

Three words to describe the high school period: Isolating, superficial, and stressful

Dave, 22 years – Udine, Italy

Watching Euphoria made me feel 50% a bit "uncomfortable" and 50% understood and understood. It's a series aimed at us, at Gen-Z, and the thing that makes it so successful in my opinion is that anyone can find themselves in its characters. The series draws exactly the reality that many often pretend not to see and not hear and shows all the weaknesses of children (and parents) in our day. The description of sex and drugs is very similar to situations that I happened to experience firsthand - of course in some situations they may exaggerate, but not so much, if you frequent people, parties and life in big cities, in 80% of cases the situation is just that. 

Accuracy: 9/10

Three words to describe the high school period: pressure, expectations and rebellion

Anna, 19 years – Milan, Italy

Watching euphoria made me feel quite anxious and extremely aware of how lost my generation is. I feel like the show was an extreme version of what I personally went through as a teen. It emphasizes the issues behind the absurd standards we have to live up to and the lack of morals we are surrounded by. A lot of the characters do extreme things but the emotional side of it is very accurate, and I can clearly understand where all of it is coming from and easily relate. 

Accuracy: 7/10

Three words to describe the high school period: demanding, superficial, exhausting

Piera, 24 years – Atlanta, USA

Watching Euphoria makes me feel a lot of things. Sometimes I feel a little uneasy, and even a bit disturbed, because of how vulnerable kids are and the severity and intensity of the situations they often face. Sometimes I feel intrigued because of the intensity . Sometimes I wonder how realistic of a portrayal the show is for someone out there, because while I do see some similarities between the show and my own high school experience, I can’t help but watch some episodes and think “Nah these kids are wild”. Substances were sold, but access to harder substances like fentanyl or heroin were thankfully not common at all. There was violence, fighting was common and occasionally shootings happened after sporting events. Sex happened often, but it was rarely a big scandal, unless something was done publicly. I also grew up in a predominantly Black community, which felt different than the neighborhood shown on Euphoria, and I think that context influenced my experience and the way I processed all of it a lot.

Accuracy: 6.5/10

Three words to describe the high school period: fast, fun, and lucky

Andrè, 18 years – Kent, UK

Watching Euphoria was incredible. The story isn’t some sort of American high school cliché like I bet a lot of people expected, you got to see their flaws and what truly made them human. Often it was heartbreaking to see how the characters developed, but it was just human and I love that about it. My teenhood has been a lot more sheltered than some people I know, but I think the show does an excellent job in the portrayal of the relationship our generation has with sex, drugs, drama etc. I think some shows tend to sugarcoat explicit scenes but Euphoria just nailed it. Euphoria shows the highs of sex and drugs and drama, but goes into detail on the lows and how much it affects teenagers which i think is something that is overlooked in the show and in reality too. 

Accuracy: 8/10

Three words to describe the high school period: confusing, scary, unforgettable

Alexander, 22 years – San Francisco, USA

With the second season of Euphoria being kicked off on Sunday, the watching experience was more stressful and uncomfortable than I remember it being during the first season. I think this was caused by the brilliant editing, cinematography and sound design.  There is a tension that the Euphoria crew is able to build.There is an uncanny reliability to this show, as there is a sense of reality among the characters. The casualness of the depiction of what feels and looks like chaos is an interesting touch. Euphoria does an excellent job at representing the contemporary American teenage and college life. Its highlight of sex and relationships and the complexity of figuring those things out as a young soul really hits home. This is especially true for those of us queer folk who really can deeply empathise with Jules and her struggle as a trans woman.

Accuracy: 8/10

Three words to describe the high school period: Anxiety, Trauma, Evolution

Liv, 22 years – Paris, France

When I started watching Euphoria I was expecting something else to be completely honest, I thought it would be another teenage tv show to watch for laughs but it was totally different. Watching the show I got this weird feeling in my stomach similar to anguish and despair because I may have not experienced everything it showed but it was portrayed in such a unique and real way that I felt the characters were my friends so I felt for them. The alcohol , drama and relationships parts were shown in a very realistic way, especially the toxic side of love.

Accuracy: 8/10 

Three words to describe the high school period: Extreme, odd & quick

Limaraina, 22 anni – Milano, Italia

Watching Euphoria made me feel understood yet longing for a type of teenage experience that seems so distant but haunted by familiar problems. I would say that my teen years had 3 definite phases, one - where I was innocent yet rebellious and carefree, two - where I constantly felt misunderstood, judged and underestimated with rebellion remaining a constant and three - freedom, independence and self discovery/awareness. Phase one and two happened when I lived in Mumbai and the third phase was when I moved to Milan. A big part of my teen years were spent in the small suburban town called Kalyan at the outskirts of Mumbai. The second phase of my teenage years was when I felt like a total outcast and was experiencing issues in my family as well. I barely got out of my house, had serious mental health issues and was unable to cope up with school, I was a mess. Rue’s pain in the series took me back to then. I also think Euphoria successfully portrays the dynamic between teens and cyber sex. Being the only child of overprotective parents, social media was instrumental when I was seeing someone as a teen. Social media, the instinctive and fleeting nature of teenage attractions and fluctuating self esteem work extremely well together.

Accuracy: 6/10 

Three words to describe the high school period: Ignorance, rebellion and self-discovery