Season 2 of Euphoria Broke HBO Max´s Premiere Record: Let’s Discuss


2.4 million viewers tuned in for the premiere of the highly-anticipated second season of groundbreaking drama series Euphoria on January 9th, 2022. The premiere was HBO Max’s best-performing show or movie on Sunday night, the influx of viewership supposedly causing the app to crash around 9 p.m. It’s a show that in 2020 earned Zendaya an Emmy award for best lead actress in a drama series for playing Rue, a teenager struggling with addiction. So what exactly is it about Euphoria that captivates viewers for what seems to be just another angst-filled, edgy teen drama?

To begin, the stunning cinematography and visual effects are enough to distinguish Euphoria on their own. The viewer is viscerally present for every experience, whether it’s one that is emotionally-driven or drug-fueled. The show’s portrayal of a glamorously trippy suburbia diverts the audience from the narrative’s thinness. Even if it is relentlessly stylized and set at an extremely-caffeinated pace, the show has impacted many with its demonstration of the darker sides of adulthood, such as the effect of Rue’s crippling drug addiction on her younger sister. While the series is undeniably bleak at times, it matches the grimness of each issue being discussed. Where Degrassi tackled drug addiction, eating disorders, and sexual assault in the campiest approach possible, Euphoria is unafraid to showcase every ugly bit of young adulthood.

The theme of adolescence and burgeoning adulthood has been done countless times in television: there is no shortage of media dedicated to teenage melodrama. However, one of Euphoria’s best attributes is its understanding of the teenage experience: how events, regardless of real significance, can carry the same hyperbolic weight. Good things can feel like paradise, while the negatives are armageddon. This is not to say that the matters often at hand aren’t extremely sensitive, though.

The content is definitely for mature audiences – check out trigger warnings beforehand – and has been critiqued for its graphic subject matter. Yet, Euphoria will only shatter the innocence of adults who wish to believe that profanity, sex, violence, and drug use are not in the lives of high schoolers. It reflects what many teenagers have already been exposed to, and things that they tend to be more attuned to than adults perceive them to be. The series’ pessimism, in all its fancy embellishments, has undoubtedly appealed to a lot of today’s generation. Being raised in an environment afflicted by broken political, criminal justice, and mental health systems, and a growing desensitization to tragedy and trauma, Saved by the Bell probably isn’t going to cut it anymore.

Underneath the glitter, Euphoria is a fable of addiction presented through the medium of teen drama and it has begun its resurgence into popularity after its original cultural moment in 2019. The show has returned after a lengthy hiatus to draw millions of viewers back into the same, whiplash-inducing tone of season 1. Till then.