What is it?
I can’t remember 2019, because Covid has wiped both my short- and long-term memory.
Well, Euphoria was a Very Big Deal in the good old days of two years ago. It’s the youth drama that ate all other youth dramas: a tough and uncompromising – but also thoughtful and insightful – exploration of relationships, sex, body consciousness, gender identity, teenage hedonism and the claustrophobia of smalltown living, and all the variations therein.
Remind us of the key people and places, please.
Running the show is writer/director Sam Levinson, who adapted the American version from an Israeli series of the same name. Set in the fictitious Southern Californian suburb of East Highland, the initial eight-episode series revolved around a bunch of teenagers getting high and getting by. And sometimes very much not getting by, as mentally and emotionally troubled lead character Rue (Zendaya) spiralled into the depths of addiction and her new-in-town best friend, Jules (Hunter Schafer), became entangled in an abusively complex love triangle.
Then what happened?
Rue and Jules fell in love with each other (it’s complicated), and we all fell in love with Euphoria. The show made stars of much of the cast: we celebrated it with two separate covers of our Winter 2019 print edition: Javon Walton, who plays pre-teen drug dealer Ashtray, and Alexa Demie (Maddy) who we first met having revenge sex in in a swimming pool. Also step forward Storm Reid (as Rue’s little sister, Gia), Barbie Ferreira (Kat), Maude Apatow (Lexi) and Sydney Sweeney (Cassie). And it made a superstar of Zendaya. She went on to scoop the 2020 Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series – at 24, the youngest ever actress to win the accolade.
To tide us over, HBO/Sky broadcast two not-so-festive festive specials last December and January, shot under Covid protocols. Mainly two-handers, the first featured Rue talking in the wee hours in a diner with her Narcotics Anonymous sponsor Ali (Colman Domingo), while the second focused on Jules in a session with her therapist.
And now what’s happening?
Going by the Official Tease, there’s a car chase, grocery store robbery, vicious beatdown and what looks like a SWAT raid. Rue is grabbed violently from behind, her mouth gagged, slammed against a bathroom wall and chased by a police squad car. There are also buzzy new cast members Dominic Fike and Demetrius Flenory Jr.
What’s the music like?
The first half of the trailer features a Rue rolling around her apartment, singing along to Bobby Darin’s Call Me Irresponsible. Altogether now: “Throw in undependable too… Tell me that I’m impractical, rainbows I’m inclined to PURSUE!” Then the music, like the visuals, gets heavy, dark and pounding.
Any ominous but delicious voiceover to go with those?
Yep. Says narrator Rue: “When you’re younger… everything feels so permanent… but as you get older…. You being to realise, nothing is. And everyone you love can drift away.”
Laughs? Tell us there’s some laughs.
Oh yeah. As extraordinarily inhabited by Zendaya, Rue is your woman for every emotion, from angsty to zany. Gia [doing her homework]: “Rue! Are you high?” Rue: “I mean…”
When’s it out?
10th January 2022. Could we perhaps fast-forward to then? Not through Christmas and New Year, ofc, but maybe the crappy first week of the year? Just a thought.