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A Monthly Culture Matrix For the Cosmopolitan Traveler

Euphoria, Season Two

Premiering on HBO on January 9 / Film & TV

Critics were aghast when Euphoria, an HBO show about California high-schoolers who do drugs, have sex, sext, cut, and become camgirls—among other things—premiered in 2019. Indie Wire called it “horrifying,” Esquire said it was “pointlessly gratuitous,” and The Washington Post claimed it “actually crosses into the realm of the pornographic.” As with Bret Easton Ellis’s Less Than Zero—a 1985 novel in which teenagers snort lines and sell sex—Euphoria’s shock effects distracted from the actual merits of the work. In Season One, Euphoria focused on Rue (Zendaya) getting sober and falling in love with Jules Vaughn (Hunter Schafer), who breaks Rue’s heart in the finale. Beginning this week, Season Two sees a relapsed Rue trying to get sober once more. There’s suitcases of pills, sex, and guns. More importantly, there are big-budget, well-choreographed scenes and excellent performances. —J.D.

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