How "euphoria" helped me cope with the transition from the crowded streets of Bushwick to the silent suburbs of Connecticut.
American suburbia has one face: Jamie Lee Curtis screaming hysterically as she knocks on her neighbors’ doors, chased by Michael Myers. Yet, the most horrifying thing about the suburbs isn’t a masked serial killer who wants to kill you (although, since Halloween, the chances of that are never zero). It’s the perfectly manicured, dew-soaked lawn that sticks to the soles of AirForce 1’s on their way to tennis practice. The knee-high white picket fences that can’t keep soccer balls off the garden, but have done a pretty good job of holding the Williamsons, and the Sinclairs, and the Lees hostage for the past three generations. It’s the accent–drawled and lazy–that only comes out when Barbara gets another call from the principal’s office about her son picking a fight in gym class.
The suburbs can be a terrifying place. So why after watching Sam Levinson’s “euphoria” I’m ready to become another one of its victims?
I don’t remember much from the pilot, except that Rue was born a few days after 9/11, and that while she was at rehab everyone thought she was dead. I’ve watched this episode at least four times, and yet, it’s the images that stuck with me. Gia running to hug Rue for the first time since she OD. Fezco shaking hands with Nate Jacobs. Jules, as Fezco describes, “looking all Sailor Moon and shit,” riding her bicycle, soaking the last of summer.
The Southern California suburbs we see in the show are fictional, and could only be compared to the real suburbs in the same way that Disney’s Animal Kingdom could be compared to a jungle. According to Sam, that was the goal.
“We established early on that each scene ought to be an interpretation of reality or a representation of an emotional reality. I’m not interested in realism. I’m interested in emotional realism. A question that Marcell Rev, our cinematographer, and Michael Grasley, our production designer, talked a lot about is, ‘How can we create a world that reveals the hopes and wishes of the characters that exist within it?’” Sam Levinson told Vulture in an interview.
Aside from believing that the Calm app should release a recording of Sam Levinson saying “emotional realism” over and over again, this is a fucking cool concept. It made me think that while the show exaggerates the teenage experience, the relationship between the characters mirrors the ones I, and probably a lot of you, forged in high school. Awkward. Tight for no reason. Complex but thirsted for like a glass of water after a nightmare. “euphoria” mig