Euphoria is an American teen drama television series created and principally written by Sam Levinson for HBO and based on the Israeli miniseries of the same name created by Ron Leshem and Daphna Levin. The series' main character is Rue Bennett (Zendaya), a recovering teenage drug addict who struggles to find her place in the world, and follows a group of high school students through their experiences of identity, trauma, drugs, self-harm, family, friendships, love, and sex.
|Created by||Sam Levinson|
|Written by||Sam Levinson[a]|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||2|
|No. of episodes||18|
|Running time||48–65 minutes|
|Distributor||Warner Bros. Television Distribution|
|Original release||June 16, 2019 –|
Euphoria's executive producers include Levinson, Zendaya, Ron Leshem, and Gary Lennon. The series is filmed at Ulysses S. Grant High School in Los Angeles, California and Sony Studios in Culver City, California. The show has received positive reviews, with praise for its cinematography, plot, score, performances of the cast (particularly Zendaya, Schafer, and Sweeney), and approach to its mature subject matter. It has also been considered controversial for its nudity and sexual content, which some critics found excessive due to the teenage setting. It is the second most watched show in HBO history, behind Game of Thrones.
Euphoria premiered on June 16, 2019. The series was renewed for a second season in July 2019. Two one-hour specials were broadcast in December 2020 and January 2021. The second season premiered on January 9, 2022, and in February 2022 the series was renewed for a third season. The series has received numerous accolades, including nominations for the British Academy Television Award for Best International Programme and the TCA Award for Outstanding Achievement in Drama. For her performance, Zendaya won a Primetime Emmy Award and a Satellite Award for Best Actress in a Drama Series.
In 2006, Sam Levinson began drafting different versions of what eventually became Euphoria, based on his experience with drugs as a teenager. He was invited to a meeting with HBO about an adaptation of the 2012 Israeli television series Euphoria created by Ron Leshem, Daphna Levin, and Tamira Yardeni. In 2019, Levinson said HBO's head of drama, Francesca Orsi, liked the "raw and honest" portrayal of drug use and other teenage problems in the Israeli series. In a press release, Orsi described the series as "Kids meets Trainspotting" with no parental supervision.
The concept for Euphoria was based on Levinson's personal experiences as a teenager and his struggles with anxiety, depression, and drug addiction. In a meeting with Orsi, he recalled: "We just had a conversation about just life and her life and my life and various struggles that, you know, we've been through and things and she said, 'Great, you know, well go and write that' and I said 'What?' and she goes 'Everything we just talked about'". Levinson has also cited teenage anxiety as a whole as an influence for the series: "There is this consistent anxiety that I think exists in this generation that I think informed the whole filmmaking process."
In June 2017, it was reported that the series was in development at HBO.
Euphoria is a co-production of The Reasonable Bunch, A24, Little Lamb, DreamCrew, and HBO Entertainment. It has 16 executive producers, including Levinson, Leshem, Levin, Yardeni, Hadas Mozes Lichtenstein, Mirit Toovi, Yoram Mokadi, Gary Lennon, Zendaya, Canadian rapper Drake, Future the Prince, Ravi Nandan, and Kevin Turen. The pilot episode, "Pilot", was directed by Augustine Frizzell.
Levinson has served as Euphoria's showrunner since its premiere, and has written every episode. He has directed every episode except the Pilot and the season one episodes "03 Bonnie and Clyde" and "The Next Episode".
The production was given a pilot order on March 13, 2018, and on July 30, it was announced that HBO had given the production a series order. The series was renewed for a second season on July 11, 2019.
Production for season two was scheduled to start in the second quarter of 2020, with the first table read on March 11, but the COVID-19 pandemic delayed the production. Production resumed in March 2021, with filming from April to November. On February 4, 2022, HBO renewed the series for a third season.
Before the series' second season, HBO ordered two specials. The first, "Trouble Don't Last Always", premiered on December 6, 2020, and follows Rue as she deals with the aftermath of leaving Jules at the train station and relapsing. The second, "Fuck Anyone Who's Not a Sea Blob", premiered on January 24, 2021, and follows Jules's side of the story. The second episode was both co-written and executive produced by Levinson and Hunter Schafer. HBO announced that the special episodes would air two days early on HBO Max.
In June 2018, it was announced that the pilot would star Zendaya, Storm Reid, Maude Apatow, Astro, Eric Dane, Angus Cloud, Alexa Demie, Jacob Elordi, Barbie Ferreira, Nika King, Hunter Schafer, and Sydney Sweeney. In October, Algee Smith was cast to replace Astro as McKay, and that Austin Abrams had also been cast. In April 2020, Kelvin Harrison Jr. joined the cast, but by May 2021, he had dropped out due to scheduling conflicts. In August, Dominic Fike, Minka Kelly, and Demetrius 'Lil Meech' Flenory Jr. were added to the cast.
Filming locations and style
Primary photography takes place in Sony Studios in Culver City, California. Ulysses S. Grant High School in Los Angeles stands in for the fictional East Highland High School. According to the California Film Commission, the first season of Euphoria cost $41,627,000 to produce and received $8,378,000 in incentive tax credits. The first season was filmed over a combined total of 104 days; the second season's production costs totaled $96,685,000 after a total of 176 filming days. Subsequently, the second season received a $19,406,000 tax credit for employing over 15,000 people in California.
For season one, the show was shot digitally. Starting with season two, the show was shot on Kodak Ektachrome film stock, which cinematographer Marcell Rév attributed to a desire to invoke "some sort of memory of high school."
Many of the episode titles for season one are references to late-1990s and early-2000s song titles that correlate to the episode itself. For instance, "'03 Bonnie and Clyde" is a reference to the 2002 Jay-Z and Beyoncé song of the same name. The loyal relationship between Nate Jacobs and Maddy Perez in the episode mirrors that between Jay-Z and Beyoncé in the song.
Cast and characters
- Zendaya as Ruby "Rue" Bennett, a teenage drug addict who is fresh out of rehab and struggling to find her place in the world. She also serves as the series' narrator.
- Maude Apatow as Lexi Howard, Rue's childhood best friend and Cassie's younger sister
- Angus Cloud as Fezco, a local drug dealer with a close relationship to Rue
- Eric Dane as Cal Jacobs, Nate's strict, demanding father with a double life
- Alexa Demie as Maddy Perez, Nate's on-and-off girlfriend and later ex-girlfriend
- Jacob Elordi as Nate Jacobs, a high school athlete whose anger issues mask his sexual insecurities
- Barbie Ferreira as Kat Hernandez, a girl fighting for body positivity while exploring her sexuality
- Nika King as Leslie Bennett, Rue and Gia's mother
- Storm Reid as Gia Bennett, Rue's younger sister
- Hunter Schafer as Jules Vaughn, a transgender girl who enters a turbulent relationship with Rue after moving into town
- Algee Smith as Christopher McKay, a young football player and Cassie's ex-boyfriend who has difficulties adjusting to college
- Sydney Sweeney as Cassie Howard, Lexi's older sister and McKay's ex-girlfriend with an infamous sexual past that continues to haunt her
- Alanna Ubach as Suze, Lexi and Cassie's Mother
- Colman Domingo as Ali Muhammed ("Trouble Don't Last Always"; recurring seasons 1–2), a man in recovery from drug addiction who often speaks at Rue's Narcotics Anonymous meetings and eventually becomes her sponsor
- Javon "Wanna" Walton as Ashtray (season 2; recurring season 1), Fez's unofficially adopted "little brother" and a drug dealer
- Austin Abrams as Ethan Daley (season 2; recurring season 1), Kat's love interest
- Dominic Fike as Elliot (season 2-present), a new friend of Rue's, who comes between her and Jules
|First aired||Last aired|
|1||8||June 16, 2019||August 4, 2019|
|Specials||2||December 6, 2020||January 24, 2021|
|2||8||January 9, 2022||February 27, 2022|
Season 1 (2019)
|Title||Directed by||Written by||Featured character(s)||Original air date||U.S. viewers|
|1||1||"Pilot"||Augustine Frizzell||Teleplay by : Sam Levinson||Rue Bennett||June 16, 2019||0.577|
|As a child, Rue Bennett struggled with mental disorders and her father's death from cancer, which led to a drug addiction. Now 17, Rue returns home from rehab and immediately buys drugs from her friend and drug dealer Fezco ("Fez"). Jules Vaughn, a transgender girl who is new in town, is invited by Kat Hernandez, a classmate, to a party hosted by popular college freshman Christopher McKay. Jules decides to first meet up at a motel with an older man from a hookup app. She lies about her age and they have sex. At the party, Kat loses her virginity. McKay and his girlfriend Cassie Howard have an uncomfortable sexual encounter, but discuss it tenderly. Maddy Perez, who recently broke up with star quarterback Nate Jacobs, has public revenge sex with a partygoer known as Tyler. Angered by this, Nate drunkenly harasses Jules, who threatens Nate with a knife before cutting herself. Jules leaves the party, accompanied by Rue, who introduces herself and goes home with her. As Nate returns home, he encounters his father, Cal, who was Jules's hookup.|
|2||2||"Stuntin' Like My Daddy"||Sam Levinson||Sam Levinson||Nate Jacobs||June 23, 2019||0.574|
An 11-year-old Nate discovers his father's collection of homemade videos featuring him having sex with young gay men and transgender women. Nate becomes a successful quarterback who struggles with anger issues and sexual insecurities. In the present, Nate breaks into Tyler's house and severely beats him, accusing him of raping Maddy at McKay's party after Maddy falsely tells him she blacked out. On the first day of school, Rue breaks down after being asked to talk about her summer. Cassie's sister Lexi attempts to comfort her, but Rue lashes out at her. Rue reminisces about trying oxycodone for the first time at 13, stealing from her father's prescription. Kat discovers that a video of her having sex at McKay's party is circulating online and realizes she can make money as a camgirl. Jules starts messaging with Nate, who impersonates Tyler, while McKay spends time with Cassie and accuses her of being too sexually forward. Mouse, Fezco's intimidating supplier, coerces Rue into trying fentanyl.
The title of this episode is a reference to the 2006 Birdman and Lil Wayne song "Stuntin' Like My Daddy".
|3||3||"Made You Look"||Sam Levinson||Sam Levinson||Kat Hernandez||June 30, 2019||0.493|
|A young Kat abruptly gains weight on a family vacation. Her middle-school boyfriend, Daniel, breaks up with her. She retreats into the world of romance and becomes a popular online fan fiction writer. In the present, Kat starts to work as a camgirl, catering to a series of submissive men with financial domination fetishes. Jules tells Rue she will stop being friends with her if she keeps using drugs. At her Narcotics Anonymous meeting, Rue says she is 60 days sober; another attendee, Ali, tells her he knows she is lying. Rue helps Jules take nude photos of herself after Nate sends her a dick pic, and she steals pills from Jules's kitchen. Maddy is shocked to find dick pics on Nate's phone. Rue and Jules argue after Jules reveals her plans to meet "Tyler" alone at night. Shortly thereafter, Rue goes to Jules's house to apologize and ends up kissing her. Panicked at the thought of alienating Jules, Rue visits Fez to get drugs, but, afraid for her well-being, he refuses to sell her any and locks her out of his house. Upset, Rue blames Fez for her addiction. She calls Ali for help.|
|4||4||"Shook Ones Pt. II"||Sam Levinson||Sam Levinson||Jules Vaughn||July 7, 2019||0.609|
An 11-year-old Jules is admitted to a psychiatric hospital because of her gender dysphoria and problems with self-harming. Later, she begins transitioning. In the present day, at a carnival, Nate and Maddy have an argument, and Nate grabs her by the throat after she insults his family. McKay upsets Cassie by refusing to acknowledge her as his girlfriend. Cassie and Maddy take MDMA, and Cassie flirts with a classmate, Kat's childhood sweetheart Daniel. Jules recognizes Cal as her hookup. Kat hangs out with a classmate, Ethan (who has a crush on her), but becomes jealous when she incorrectly assumes he is flirting with another girl and ends up having sex with an older boy. Rue looks for her sister, Gia, and finds her high on marijuana. Cal confronts Jules, begging her not to reveal their secret; she assures him that she will not tell anyone. After the carnival, Jules meets up with "Tyler" and discovers he is Nate. Nate then threatens to report the nudes Jules has sent him as child pornography unless she keeps quiet about her relationship with his father. Jules goes to Rue's house and they kiss.
The title of this episode is a reference to the 1995 Mobb Deep song "Shook Ones (Part II)".
|5||5||"'03 Bonnie and Clyde"||Jennifer Morrison||Sam Levinson||Maddy Perez||July 14, 2019||0.579|
As a child, Maddy lost interest in the idea of working after her mother stopped her from participating in beauty pageants. She eventually found herself in a toxic relationship with Nate, culminating in his attack on her at the carnival. In the present day, Rue tells her mother that she is dating Jules. Maddy tries to hide the injuries on her neck, but they are discovered after she passes out at school and a police investigation begins; Maddy's mother presses charges against Nate. Jules gets frustrated when Rue dismisses her situation with Cal. Ali does not believe that Rue's and Jules's relationship will last, scaring Rue. Cassie reconciles with McKay, who apologizes for his behavior at the carnival. Kat is cold toward Ethan, who does not understand why. Kat has a sexual encounter with a clothing store clerk about whom she had previously fantasized. Rue apologizes to Lexi for having been a bad friend and invites her to go roller skating with her and Jules. Cal questions the effects his secret sexuality has had on his children. Maddy meets Nate at a motel. After rollerskating, Jules takes Rue home with her, but cannot sleep.
The title of this episode is a reference to the 2002 Jay-Z and Beyoncé song "'03 Bonnie & Clyde".
|6||6||"The Next Episode"||Pippa Bianco||Sam Levinson||Chris McKay||July 21, 2019||0.569|
Growing up, McKay is coached by his father to become a successful football player. When he reaches college, he realizes he has little chance of being recruited by a professional team. In the present day, Nate is suspended from school and socially ostracized. Nate breaks into Tyler's apartment and coerces him into confessing to choking Maddy. He also blackmails Jules into telling the police that she saw Tyler attack Maddy. Cassie attends a Halloween party with McKay, where he is violently hazed by his fraternity brothers. He then has aggressive sex with Cassie, which leaves her in tears. The next night, Daniel hosts a party. Rue worries about Jules, who is drinking heavily and expresses uncertainty about her relationship. Rue apologizes to Fez for lashing out at him. Kat hooks up with Ethan but ditches him when he visits the bathroom. When Cassie refuses to have sex with Daniel, he insults her. At home, Cassie realizes her period is late. Nate and Maddy arrive at Daniel's party and are applauded by the partygoers. Rue becomes suspicious when she sees Jules's reaction.
The title of this episode is a reference to the 1999 Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg song "The Next Episode".
|7||7||"The Trials and Tribulations of Trying to Pee While Depressed"||Sam Levinson||Sam Levinson||Cassie Howard||July 28, 2019||0.549|
|Cassie's parents get divorced when she is in her early teens. After a car crash, her father descends into drug addiction and poverty and abandons their family. She frequently enters exploitative sexual relationships with her peers until she meets McKay. In the present, Rue falls into a manic depression after Jules grows distant, causing her bladder to shut down. After she and Lexi figure out what Nate did to Jules, Rue asks Fez to intimidate him. He does so, but Nate retaliates by anonymously reporting Fez to the police, forcing Fez and Ashtray to dispose of their stash when the police come to their home. Maddy confronts Kat over her new, assertive persona. Kat ends a cam session with a high-paying client when it makes her uncomfortable. Cassie tells McKay she is pregnant. He is overwhelmed and suggests she get an abortion. Jules visits TC, a friend from her old town, and meets TC's roommate, Anna. Jules and Anna go clubbing, take psychedelics, and share a sexual experience, during which Jules hallucinates about both Nate and Rue. She texts Rue the next morning to tell her that she misses her.|
|8||8||"And Salt the Earth Behind You"||Sam Levinson||Sam Levinson||Rue Bennett||August 4, 2019||0.530|
|Rue and Jules reconcile as Rue recovers in the hospital after a kidney infection. Nate is unable to sexually perform with Maddy, who confronts him about his sexuality, after which Nate attacks her. Maddy steals the video of Cal and Jules that Nate has in his possession, later watching it in shock. Nate wins his final high-school football game, but Cal criticizes his performance. Nate attempts to fight him, but after being subdued, begins to hit himself, leaving Cal shaken. Cassie terminates her pregnancy with her family's support. Fez breaks into Mouse's supplier's house and robs him in order to pay Mouse. At their school's winter formal, Kat seeks out Ethan and apologizes for her behavior. Rue confronts Nate, threatening to expose Cal. Nate taunts her about Jules's loyalty. After spending the night trying to make each other jealous, Nate and Maddy decide to peacefully end their relationship. Jules tells Rue that she is in love with both her and Anna. Rue and Jules decide to run away from their town together, but Rue backs out at the last minute and Jules leaves on a train alone. A heartbroken Rue returns home and relapses, before experiencing a vivid, musical hallucination.|
|Title||Directed by||Written by||Featured character(s)||Original air date||U.S. viewers|
|9||1||"Trouble Don't Last Always"|
"Part 1: Rue"
|Sam Levinson||Sam Levinson||Rue Bennett||December 6, 2020[d]||0.236|
|On Christmas Eve, after her relapse, an intoxicated Rue sits at a diner with Ali to reflect on her addiction. Rue admits that she willingly relapsed; Ali reminds her that addiction is a disease, and emphasizes the importance of committing to a cause greater than herself. Rue attempts to blame Jules for her relapse, but Ali points out that Rue had been saving the pills she took, suggesting that she was never serious about staying clean. He also notes that Rue never officially acknowledged her relationship with Jules. Rue eventually admits that she feels guilty about her treatment of her family (particularly her mother) and that she is suicidal. Ali argues that drugs fundamentally change a person; he reveals that he grew up with an abusive father for whom he harbored deep hatred, only to become violent with his wife after developing a drug addiction, estranging his daughters. Ali tells Rue that a refusal to forgive oneself for one's mistakes is what prevents personal growth, and that he has faith in her ability to improve.|
|10||2||"Fuck Anyone Who's Not a Sea Blob"|
"Part 2: Jules"
|Sam Levinson||Sam Levinson & Hunter Schafer||Jules Vaughn||January 24, 2021[e]||0.109|
|On Christmas Eve, after leaving Rue behind at the train station, Jules attends her first therapy session. She says Rue is the only person she believes loved her for who she truly is, but admits resenting the burden of having to preserve Rue's sobriety by being constantly available to her. Flashbacks reveal that Jules's mother was recovering from addiction during the events of season 1, but was hospitalized as the result of a relapse after overhearing Jules admit she cannot forgive her for abandoning her as a child. Jules's therapist observes that Jules's complicated feelings about Rue closely resemble those she has about her own mother. Jules further confides that she is still in love with "Tyler", the fake online persona Nate used to communicate with her, despite knowing that their relationship is a fantasy. Jules tells her therapist that she is contemplating going off her hormone replacement therapy due to her evolving notion of her own femininity, which she believes she has expressed only to please men. Upon returning home, Jules receives a surprise visit from Rue, who says she is on her way to meet Ali. Jules tries to apologize to Rue for leaving her, but an emotional Rue simply wishes Jules a merry Christmas before abruptly leaving. Jules breaks down crying in her bedroom.|
Season 2 (2022)
|Title||Directed by||Written by||Featured character(s)||Original air date||U.S. viewers|
|11||1||"Trying to Get to Heaven Before They Close the Door"||Sam Levinson||Sam Levinson||Fezco||January 9, 2022||0.254|
|As a child, Fezco was taken in by his grandmother, who introduced him to the drug trade. In a continuation of a scene from the season one finale, Ashtray kills Mouse with a hammer. On New Year's Eve, an intoxicated Rue accompanies Fez and Ashtray to an intense drug deal, in which Rue and a new character, Faye, are violently forced to strip down to prove that they aren't wearing wires, before attending a large house party. At a convenience store, a drunken Cassie runs into Nate, who offers her a ride to the party; upon arriving, the two have sex in a bathroom and are nearly caught by Maddy, forcing Cassie to hide in the bathtub. Rue takes a concoction of drugs with a boy named Elliot and nearly enters cardiac arrest before taking Adderall to stabilize her heartrate. Outside, she and Jules reunite, where Rue tells Jules that she relapsed the night Jules left her at the train station. Later, the two confess their feelings for each other and kiss. Fezco has a conversation with Lexi and they exchange phone numbers. He then confronts Nate and viciously beats him until the other partygoers intervene and stop him.|
|12||2||"Out of Touch"||Sam Levinson||Sam Levinson||Nate Jacobs||January 16, 2022||0.279|
|Nate recovers from his beating in the hospital and refuses to tell his father who attacked him. He finds himself strongly attracted to Cassie, who has been undergoing a depressive episode since her abortion and feels uneasy without a boyfriend. Cassie continues to see Nate despite the guilt she feels for supposedly betraying Maddy, who still loves Nate. One night while riding her bike, Rue witnesses Nate and Cassie kissing in his truck. Jules becomes insecure about Rue's friendship with Elliot, unaware that the two are regularly taking drugs together. Kat begins losing interest in Ethan, fantasizing about more stereotypically masculine men and briefly becoming consumed by an online culture of toxic positivity. Cal begins investigating Nate's assault and pressures Cassie into naming Fezco as the perpetrator; when Lexi decides to visit Fezco and get his attention, Cal and Fezco have a tense standoff at Fez's convenience store, which Lexi witnesses. Cal then confronts Nate, who reveals that he is aware of Cal's secret sexual exploits, including the video of him and Jules. Cal asks Nate whether he has the recording; Nate smiles without answering.|
|13||3||"Ruminations: Big and Little Bullys"||Sam Levinson||Sam Levinson||Cal Jacobs||January 23, 2022||0.264|
|As a teenager, Cal felt a budding attraction to his friend Derek while dating his future wife, Marsha. Eventually, Cal made his feelings known to Derek, who reciprocated them, but Marsha's unexpected pregnancy compelled Cal to stay with her and keep his sexual orientation hidden. Rue develops a plan to keep her drug use hidden from Jules and Gia while repairing Jules's and Elliot's relationship, covering up her other drug use with cannabis. When Rue runs out of drugs, she convinces schoolteacher turned drug supplier Laurie to give her a large stash, ostensibly for her to sell. Ali becomes suspicious of Rue, who insults him, leading him to cut ties with her. Cassie becomes obsessed with her covert romance with Nate, distancing herself from friends and family in the process. Lexi channels her frustration with Cassie, Rue, and her own introversion into writing a play, which she prepares to stage at school. Assuming that Fez has the video, Cal visits his house and is beaten and humiliated by Ashtray into admitting his indiscretions. He also learns of Jules's and Nate's relationship; Fez lets him leave on the condition that he ceases to pursue revenge against him and keeps Nate from further antagonizing Rue and Jules. One Friday night, Nate cancels his plans with Cassie to rekindle his relationship with Maddy.|
|14||4||"You Who Cannot See, Think of Those Who Can"||Sam Levinson||Sam Levinson||–||January 30, 2022||0.318|
|Jules kisses Elliot while Rue reflects on her love for Jules. Cassie ends her relationship with Nate after he admits to having resumed talking to Maddy. The Howards host a birthday party for Maddy. At the party, Kat admits to Maddy that she doesn't love Ethan, and Maddy advises her to follow her feelings. Cassie gets excessively drunk; when Nate unexpectedly arrives and discusses his ongoing involvement with Maddy, Cassie changes into a revealing swimsuit and eventually vomits in front of the guests. Rue, Jules, and Elliot entertain themselves by playing Truth or dare? After narrowly escaping apprehension for stealing from a convenience store, Rue begins drinking in front of Jules; after Jules asks why she's drinking, Rue grows angry and lashes out at her. After abandoning the group and returning home alone, Rue takes drugs and hallucinates her father in a church. Cal gets drunk and drives recklessly to the bar where he kissed Derek. After getting thrown out, he returns home and comes out to his family, scathingly criticizing them for their perceived hypocritical hostility to his closetedness. He abruptly chooses to leave them. Elliot confesses to Jules that Rue is not sober and that the two have been taking drugs together. Jules is devastated but sleeps with Elliot anyway.|
|15||5||"Stand Still Like the Hummingbird"||Sam Levinson||Sam Levinson||Rue Bennett||February 6, 2022||0.353|
|Jules tells Leslie that Rue has relapsed, prompting her to purge Rue's drug stash. Leslie, Jules, and Elliot confront Rue, causing her to have a violent breakdown during which she damages her house and angrily breaks up with Jules and cuts ties with Elliot. Leslie attempts to take her to rehab again, but Rue flees her car while in traffic. While on the run, Rue begins to suffer the effects of withdrawal. As night falls, Rue flees to the Howard household, where Leslie stages an intervention with the help of Suze, Lexi, Cassie, Maddy, and Kat. Backed into a corner, Rue reveals Cassie's relationship with Nate to the group, initiating a fight between Maddy and Cassie that allows Rue to escape in the chaos. She turns to Fezco for help, but he throws her out after she tries to steal his grandmother's medication. Shortly after, Rue burglarizes a house, stealing drugs and jewelry. After being caught in the act by the homeowners after they arrive home, and escaping a police chase, Rue reaches Laurie's apartment. Laurie gives her morphine and, although she empathizes with Rue's pain, insinuates that she will force her to become a prostitute to pay her debts. But Rue wakes up after dreaming about her father, and realizes that she was in more danger than she was before she got there. She escapes Laurie's place through the bathroom window and returns home. Leslie sees Rue open the front door.|
|16||6||"A Thousand Little Trees of Blood"||Sam Levinson||Sam Levinson||–||February 13, 2022||0.283|
|A week after returning home from Laurie's, Rue makes progress in recovering from withdrawal. She calls Ali and apologizes for what she said to him, and Ali comes over and cooks dinner for the Bennett family. Kat attempts to break up with Ethan in a foolish manner, leading him to decide to pull the plug on their relationship. Maddy ponders what to do after finding out the truth about Nate and Cassie, and discusses it with Samantha. As Cassie and Nate grapple with their secret being out, they fight with their respective mothers. After seeing the stress Cassie is under, Lexi wonders how her play is going to be received while hanging out with Fez. While taking out the trash, Faye sees Custer, who tells her that he is being forced to work with the cops to take down Fez and Ashtray for Mouse's murder. Nate decides he must take matters into his own hands to protect his future and the Jacobs family business by threatening Maddy with a gun to hand over the disc. Nate gives the disc to Jules, and they reveal to each other they were not lying about their feelings when Nate was catfishing her the previous year. Nate calls Cassie and tells her she can stay with him while the drama blows over. Leslie finds out that no inpatient rehab facility has room for Rue and breaks down, fearing that she'll kill herself without it.|
|17||7||"The Theater and Its Double"||Sam Levinson||Sam Levinson||Lexi Howard||February 20, 2022||0.350|
|"Our Life" is performed for East Highland students, parents, and faculty. Lexi's classmates quickly realize that the play is based on their lives with their names changed. Earlier, Lexi is seen talking to Fezco as she worries that people will be upset by the play; he later promises to attend her play. The episode traverses between the present and past as the play depicts significant events and relationships from Lexi's perspective: Rue's father's wake and her descent into addiction; Cassie going through puberty; Rue's and Lexi's friendship; Lexi's relationship with her father; Cassie's and Maddy's friendship; and Maddy's and Nate's relationship. Custer arrives at Fezco's house before the play starts and Ashtray is suspicious of him. Cassie and Nate continue their relationship despite his sustained feelings for Maddy and Jules. Leslie tells Rue she is done looking out for her and plans to focus on Gia. Jules destroys the disc Nate gave her. Maddy swears to leave East Highland after the school year is done since she feels misled and has nothing to keep her there, but she is sad to be leaving Samantha and Theo, to whom she has become close. Fezco fails to make it to Lexi's play after Ash stabs Custer. The episode ends with a rendition of "Holding Out for a Hero", depicting Nate's character, played by Ethan, and other male students working out in a homoerotic manner. Nate angrily calls the scene "homophobic", leaves the play early, and breaks up with Cassie, telling her to pack her things and leave his house.|
|18||8||"All My Life, My Heart Has Yearned for a Thing I Cannot Name"||Sam Levinson||Sam Levinson||–||February 27, 2022||0.625|
|An enraged Cassie disrupts the play to insult and mock Lexi but flees when Maddy chases her backstage and attacks her. Supported by her crew and the audience, Lexi continues the play and dedicates it to Fezco (without naming him). Custer tries to get Fezco to reveal his role in Mouse's murder before Faye signals him to keep quiet. Realizing he is a police informant, Ash stabs Custer in the neck, much to Fezco's dismay; Fezco suffocates Custer to keep him quiet as he dies and submerges his phone in a drink. Earlier, Lexi and Fezco discuss their plans for the future; they are both glad to have become friends. Rue visits Elliot to forgive him for snitching on her as she believes he might have saved her life. They agree they are not good for each other. The play concludes with Rue's speech at her father's wake and a heartfelt conversation between Rue and Lexi about life and loss; Rue later thanks Lexi for showing her a version of her life that she didn't hate. Fezco pleads with Ash to surrender to the police, allowing Fezco to take the fall for Custer's murder. Instead, Ash locks himself in the bathroom with several guns and engages in a shootout with the police, who shoot him and arrest a wounded Fezco. Nate confronts Cal with a gun and a flash drive containing all of Cal's explicit videos, revealing his trauma from viewing the videos at a young age. Tipped off by Nate, the police arrive to arrest Cal. Cassie tells Maddy that Nate broke up with her before she lashed out on stage. Maddy tells Cassie that it's "just the beginning". After the play, Jules tells Rue she loves and misses her. Rue responds by kissing her on the forehead before leaving. As she walks out of the school, Rue narrates that she managed to stay clean for the rest of the school year and that she is cautiously hopeful about the future.|
Euphoria's first season was met with a positive response from critics, with much of its praise going to its acting, story, visuals, and approach to mature subject matter. On the review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the first season has a positive score of 80%, with an average rating of 7.3/10 based on 97 critical reviews. The site's critical consensus summary states, "Though at times hard to watch, Euphoria balances its brutal honesty with an empathetic—and visually gorgeous—eye to create a uniquely challenging and illuminating series, held together by a powerfully understated performance from Zendaya." The review aggregator website Metacritic, which uses a weighted average, assigned a score of 68 out of 100, based on 26 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews". Ben Travers of IndieWire praised the show's authenticity, how HBO "grounds itself in stark reality", and Zendaya's performance and narration. Tim Goodman of The Hollywood Reporter noted Zendaya's performance and the handling of the subject matter. Pilot Viruet of Observer called the show "visually stunning" and praised the ensemble performance, but criticized the writing as "shaky, filled with clunky lines", and recommended that the show "keep its focus narrow". Jamila Stewart of Vogue stated that Euphoria still has a palpable impact on where fashion trends fall today.
The first of the series' two special episodes, "Trouble Don't Last Always", received widespread critical acclaim for its writing, performances, and shift in tone and content from the first season. On Rotten Tomatoes, the episode has a score of 96%, with an average rating of 8.44/10 based on 23 critical reviews. The website's critical consensus reads, "Euphoria slows down the tempo without losing the beat in a special episode that pairs a raw Zendaya with a steady Colman Domingo to create small screen magic." On Metacritic, the episode has a weighted average score of 84 out of 100, based on 10 reviews, indicating "universal acclaim". The second of the two special episodes, "Fuck Anyone Who's Not a Sea Blob", also received critical acclaim, with particular praise for Schafer's performance and writing, as well as the episode's distinctive directorial approach, emotional resonance, and exploration of trans identity. On Rotten Tomatoes, it has a score of 95%, with an average rating of 7.9/10 based on 22 critical reviews. The site's critical consensus reads, "By centering on Jules' journey, Fuck Anyone Who's Not a Sea Blob adds welcome depth to her character and gives Hunter Schafer plenty of room to shine." On Metacritic, the episode has an average weighted score of 78 out of 100, based on 10 reviews, indicating "generally favorable reviews."
The series' second season received mostly positive reviews, with critics praising the performances and visuals but criticizing the season's pace and characterization. On Rotten Tomatoes, the second season received a "Certified Fresh" score of 81%, with an average rating of 7.2/10 based on 119 reviews. The site's critical consensus reads, "As willfully provocative as ever in its second season, Euphoria still isn't for all tastes—but when its addictive ingredients are mixed just right, the results remain intoxicating." Metacritic assigned the season a score of 74 out of 100 based on 19 reviews, indicating "generally favorable reviews". IndieWire's Ben Travers criticized the sexual content but appreciated Zendaya's performance, writing, "After seven of the eight episodes, Season 2 is exactly what a drama seeking to spark conversation fears most: It's skippable." Rebecca Nicholson for The Guardian gave the second season two out of five stars, writing, "this long-awaited second season has decided to lean into its crueller instincts." USA Today's Patrick Ryan praised the performances of Zendaya, Schafer, and Fike, but wrote that "the new episodes are much less captivating when they shift their focus away from Rue and Jules."
Criticism and controversy
Some commentators and organizations have criticized the show's explicit content, including self-harm, excessive drug use, and sexual material. The conservative media advocacy group Parents Television and Media Council called the series "dark, depraved, degenerate and nihilistic" and asked HBO and AT&T to end it. Common Sense Media, which provides information relating to media's suitability for children, also noted the strong adult themes and advised against teenage viewership. One scene involving more than 30 shots of penises was criticized by both critics and supporters alike, with Esquire calling it "pointlessly gratuitous". The Guardian wrote that writers and producers should find new and different ways to shock audiences. In 2022, Minka Kelly said she felt discomfort at the quantity of nude scenes in the show. Samuel Getachew wrote in a Culture piece for Vogue that the show's depictions of trauma aestheticizes it in a way that his "generation is particularly vulnerable to".
Levinson acknowledged the controversies over the show's content, saying that some parents will be "totally fucking freaked out". Augustine Frizzell, who directed the show's pilot episode, said that the explicit content should help foster a conversation between parents and teenagers. Levinson also said that he hopes the show "opens up a dialogue" due to the "disconnect between parents and teenagers". Zendaya issued a warning both before the show and season 2 premiere about its "deeply emotional subject matter". HBO voiced objections to some sexually graphic scenes, but said it would not interfere with the show's "creative process". The show includes viewer discretion warnings and a website for mental health and other support group resources.
The show's premiere averaged 577,000 viewers in its time slot, a number that increased to one million after the same-night linear replay and preliminary viewing on HBO Go/Now. The hashtag #EuphoriaHBO trended number one in the U.S. and number three worldwide on Twitter after the premiere. The first season was the most watched of HBO's series in the 18–49 demographic. The season 2 premiere drew 2.4 million viewers across all HBO platforms, a series high. It also marked the strongest digital premiere night performance for any episode of an HBO series since HBO Max's launch. At the end of its second season, it became the second most watched HBO show of all time (behind Game of Thrones), with episodes averaging 16.3 million viewers.
|1||"Pilot"||June 16, 2019||0.17||0.577||0.08||0.225||0.25||0.802|
|2||"Stuntin' Like My Daddy"||June 23, 2019||0.20||0.574||0.07||0.200||0.27||0.774|
|3||"Made You Look"||June 30, 2019||0.19||0.493||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|4||"Shook Ones Pt. II"||July 7, 2019||0.21||0.609||0.10||0.218||0.31||0.827|
|5||"'03 Bonnie and Clyde"||July 14, 2019||0.21||0.579||0.13||0.289||0.34||0.868|
|6||"The Next Episode"||July 21, 2019||0.20||0.569||0.12||0.266||0.32||0.835|
|7||"The Trials and Tribulations of Trying to Pee While Depressed"||July 28, 2019||0.19||0.549||0.13||0.297||0.32||0.846|
|8||"And Salt the Earth Behind You"||August 4, 2019||0.21||0.530||0.12||0.273||0.33||0.803|
|1||"Trouble Don't Last Always"||December 6, 2020||0.08||0.236||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|2||"Fuck Anyone Who's Not a Sea Blob"||January 24, 2021||0.02||0.109||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|1||"Trying to Get to Heaven Before They Close the Door"||January 9, 2022||0.08||0.254||TBD||TBD||TBD||TBD|
|2||"Out of Touch"||January 16, 2022||0.09||0.279||TBD||TBD||TBD||TBD|
|3||"Ruminations: Big and Little Bullys"||January 23, 2022||0.09||0.264||TBD||TBD||TBD||TBD|
|4||"You Who Cannot See, Think of Those Who Can"||January 30, 2022||0.13||0.318||TBD||TBD||TBD||TBD|
|5||"Stand Still Like the Hummingbird"||February 6, 2022||0.11||0.353||TBD||TBD||TBD||TBD|
|6||"A Thousand Little Trees of Blood"||February 13, 2022||0.11||0.283||TBD||TBD||TBD||TBD|
|7||"The Theater and Its Double"||February 20, 2022||0.14||0.350||TBD||TBD||TBD||TBD|
|8||"All My Life, My Heart Has Yearned for a Thing I Cannot Name"||February 27, 2022||0.24||0.625||TBD||TBD||TBD||TBD|
Awards and nominations
|People's Choice Awards||Favorite Drama TV Star||Zendaya||Won|||
|Satellite Awards||Best Actress – Television Series Drama||Zendaya||Won|||
|American Cinema Editors Awards||Best Edited Drama Series for Non-Commercial Television||Julio C. Perez IV (for "Pilot")||Nominated|||
|Art Directors Guild Awards||One-Hour Contemporary Single-Camera Series||Kay Lee||Nominated|||
|Black Reel Awards for Television||Outstanding Actress, Drama Series||Zendaya||Won|||
|British Academy Television Awards||Best International Programme||Sam Levinson, Ravi Nandan, Kevin Turen and Drake||Nominated|||
|Critics' Choice Television Awards||Best Actress in a Drama Series||Zendaya||Nominated|||
|GLAAD Media Awards||Outstanding Drama Series||Euphoria||Nominated|||
|Guild of Music Supervisors Awards||Best Music Supervision – Television Drama||Adam Leber and Jen Malone||Won|||
|Make-Up Artists and Hair Stylists Guild Awards||Best Contemporary Make-Up||Doniella Davy and Kristen Coleman (for the specials)||Nominated|||
|Primetime Creative Arts Emmy Awards||Outstanding Contemporary Costumes||Heidi Bivens, Danielle Baker and Katina Danabassis (for "The Next Episode")||Nominated|||
|Outstanding Contemporary Makeup (Non-Prosthetic)||Doniella Davy, Kirsten Sage Coleman and Tara Lang Shah (for "And Salt the Earth Behind You")||Won|
|Outstanding Music Composition for a Series (Original Dramatic Score)||Labrinth (for "'03 Bonnie and Clyde")||Nominated|
|Outstanding Music Supervision||Jen Malone and Adam Leber (for "And Salt the Earth Behind You")||Nominated|
|Outstanding Original Music and Lyrics||"All for Us" – Labrinth (for "And Salt the Earth Behind You")||Won|
|Primetime Emmy Awards||Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series||Zendaya (for "Made You Look")||Won|||
|TCA Awards||Outstanding Achievement in Drama||Euphoria||Nominated|||
|American Cinema Editors Awards||Best Edited Drama Series for Non-Commercial Television||Julio C. Perez IV (for "Trouble Don't Last Always")||Nominated|||
|BET Awards||Best Actress||Zendaya (also for Malcolm & Marie)||Nominated|||
|Casting Society of America||Television Pilot and First Season – Drama||Mary Vernieu, Jessica Kelly, Jennifer Venditti and Bret Howe||Won|||
|Costume Designers Guild Awards||Excellence in Contemporary Television||Heidi Bivens (for "Trouble Don't Last Always")||Nominated|||
|Hollywood Critics Association TV Awards||Best Actor in a Limited Series, Anthology Series or Television Movie||Colman Domingo||Won|||
|Best Actress in a Limited Series, Anthology Series or Television Movie||Zendaya||Nominated|
|Best Broadcast Network or Cable Limited Series, Anthology Series or Live-Action Television Movie||Euphoria Two-Part Special||Nominated|
|Hollywood Music in Media Awards||Best Original Song in a TV Show/Limited Series||"All for Us" – Labrinth||Won|||
|Make-Up Artists and Hair Stylists Guild Awards||Best Contemporary Hair Styling||Melanie Smith and Kaity Licina (for "Trouble Don't Last Always")||Nominated|||
|Peabody Awards||Entertainment||"Trouble Don't Last Always"||Nominated|||
|Primetime Creative Arts Emmy Awards||Outstanding Cinematography for a Single-Camera Series (One Hour)||Marcell Rév (for "Trouble Don't Last Always")||Nominated|||
|Outstanding Contemporary Costumes||Heidi Bivens, Devon Patterson and Angelina Vitto (for "Fuck Anyone Who's Not a Sea Blob")||Nominated|
|Outstanding Contemporary Makeup (Non-Prosthetic)||Doniella Davy and Tara Lang Shah (for "Fuck Anyone Who's Not a Sea Blob")||Nominated|
|Satellite Awards||Best Actress – Miniseries or Television Film||Zendaya (for "Trouble Don't Last Always")||Nominated|||
|Writers Guild of America Awards||Television: Episodic Drama||Sam Levinson (for "Trouble Don't Last Always")||Nominated|||
|American Cinema Editors Awards||Best Edited Drama Series||Julio C. Pérez IV and Nikola Boyanov (for "Fuck Anyone Who's Not a Sea Blob")||Nominated|||
|Costume Designers Guild Awards||Excellence in Contemporary Television||Heidi Bivens (for "Fuck Anyone Who's Not a Sea Blob")||Nominated|||
|2022||MTV Movie & TV Awards||Best Show||Euphoria||Won|||
|Here For The Hookup||Won|
|Best Performance in a Show||Zendaya||Won|
|Best Kiss||Hunter Schafer and Dominic Fike||Nominated|
|Best Fight||"Cassie vs. Maddy"||Won|
|Best Song||"Little Star" by Dominic Fike||Nominated|
Euphoria's score was composed by English singer, songwriter, and record producer Labrinth. The song "All for Us", performed by Labrinth and Zendaya, is hinted at throughout season 1 before being performed as a large musical number at the end of the season finale. Labrinth makes an appearance in the show alongside Zendaya to perform their song "I'm Tired".
When you look back to your teenage days, it feels semi-magical but semi-crazy and semi-psychotic. I wanted to make sure the music felt like those things.
The show also makes extensive use of popular music, including hip hop, trap, R&B, experimental, indie rock, standards and doo-wop, with some episodes featuring over 20 songs. For their work on Euphoria's first season, music supervisors Jen Malone (who also supervises Atlanta) and Adam Leber won the 2020 Guild of Music Supervisors Award for Best Music Supervision in a Television Drama.
The score album for the first season was released by Sony Masterworks through Milan Records on October 4, 2019 for digital download. The album was also released on vinyl on January 10, 2020. The score has been described as "the holy lilt of gospel, orchestral and electronic" and was favorably reviewed by Variety.
The score album for the second season is set to be released by Columbia Records on April 22, 2022, in digital and physical formats. Like the previous one, it was composed and produced by Labrinth.
Season 1 soundtrack
|Euphoria Season 1 (An HBO Original Series Soundtrack)|
|Soundtrack album by |
|Released||May 14, 2021|
|Singles from Euphoria|
A soundtrack album featuring a selection of songs from the first season and specials was released by Interscope Records digitally on May 14, 2021, with vinyl copies released on September 3, 2021.
|1.||"All for Us"||Labrinth and Zendaya||3:12|
|3.||"Fly Me to the Moon (In Other Words)"||Bobby Womack||2:08|
|4.||"Even the Nights Are Better"||Air Supply||3:52|
|5.||"Work"||Charlotte Day Wilson||3:44|
|6.||"Champagne Coast"||Blood Orange||4:52|
|7.||"Taking Responsibility"||Kilo Kish||3:29|
|8.||"Run the Road"||Santigold||4:22|
|9.||"Hot"||The Last Artful, Dodgr||3:10|
|10.||"Be Mine"||Amandla Stenberg||3:40|
|11.||"My Body Is a Cage"||Arcade Fire||4:47|
|12.||"Lo Vas a Olvidar"||Billie Eilish and Rosalía||3:23|
|13.||"Love Me Low"||Ai Bendr||2:29|
|Spanish Albums (PROMUSICAE)||73|
|US Top Soundtracks (Billboard)||8|
Season 2 soundtrack
|Euphoria Season 2 (An HBO Original Series Soundtrack)|
|Soundtrack album by |
|Released||March 4, 2022|
|Singles from Euphoria|
The soundtrack to season 2 was released digitally by Interscope Records on March 4, 2022, with CDs releasing on May 13, 2022, and vinyl on July 29, 2022. The album's release was preceded by seven singles, "Watercolor Eyes" by Lana Del Rey, "How Long" by Tove Lo, "(Pick Me Up) Euphoria" by James Blake featuring Labrinth, "Sad4Whattt" by EricDoa, "Yeh I Fuckin' Did it" by Labrinth, "I'm Tired" by Labrinth and Zendaya, and "Elliot's Song" by Dominic Fike and Zendaya.
In an interview with IndieWire, Labrinth stated of the soundtrack's religious undertones: "We spoke about using organs because of a lot of the religious influences in the show, especially with Rue. We wanted a lot of the sounds edging towards a religious sound. And because I love both Pentecostal and Catholic sounds, I kind of was like trying to merge them both together."
|1.||"I'm Tired"||Labrinth and Zendaya||3:07|
|2.||"Don't Be Cruel"||Billy Swan||4:13|
|3.||"Dead of Night"||Orville Peck||3:59|
|4.||"Live or Die"||Noah Cyrus and Lil Xan||3:14|
|5.||"Right Down the Line"||Gerry Rafferty||4:27|
|6.||"Yeh I Fuckin' Did It"||Labrinth||2:11|
|7.||"Never Tear Us Apart"||INXS||3:06|
|8.||"Watercolor Eyes"||Lana Del Rey||3:31|
|9.||"(Pick Me Up) Euphoria"||James Blake featuring Labrinth||3:15|
|10.||"How Long"||Tove Lo||3:19|
|11.||"Call Me Irresponsible"||Bobby Darrin||2:05|
|12.||"It Ain't Over 'til It's Over"||Lenny Kravitz||4:02|
|13.||"Elliot's Song"||Dominic Fike and Zendaya||2:30|
|15.||"U Could Tëll"||Yeat||2:28|
|UK Soundtrack Albums (OCC)||12|
- Hunter Schafer is credited as writer with Sam Levinson in "Fuck Anyone Who's Not a Sea Blob".
- Also narrated by Maude Apatow in "The Theater and Its Double".
- Gustave Rudman Rambali is credited as composer with Labrinth in "Shook Ones Pt. II".
- "Trouble Don't Last Always" was released online on HBO Max as early as December 3, 2020, ahead of its broadcast on television.
- "Fuck Anyone Who's Not a Sea Blob" was released online on HBO Max as early as January 21, 2021, ahead of its broadcast on television.