As Hollywood continues its reflection of hard and difficult topics, people need to be aware and cautious when teenagers are thrown into the stories. The big screen has a way of glamorizing every situation, and to a younger viewer’s eyes who has yet to experience a majority of the world, this could normalize things like drug use, toxic relationships and so much more.
This isn’t necessarily a problem until people learn the subject of the movie or show. Oftentimes just being a teenager is romanticized, like the whole world has just agreed they would rather go back to this age. Hollywood has made being a teenager feel like the start of our lives and something we should want to be like, but that is simply not how it works.
To a teenager viewing this over glorification of their age could feel overwhelming. The fact that they aren’t having these crazy experiences that are constantly perpetuated on the screen can cause a reaction that they need to be in situations in their life that reflect events in shows like “Euphoria,” “Grand Army” or “Thirteen Reasons Why,” and the list can go on forever.
TV shows and movies about teenagers are obviously going to garner some teenage and even tween attention. There is no doubt shows like “Euphoria” and “Thirteen Reasons Why” didn’t accidentally target these audiences. These shows tried to create the narrative that it was important for teenagers to witness these tough stories as a way to prevent these tragedies from occurring. For some shows and movies, this is done well, while others barely explored the depth of these difficult stories.
The HBO Max show “Euphoria” is under fire a lot due to its prolific amount of on screen drug use. The difference I see in this show compared to it’s often comparison “Thirteen Reasons Why” is that “Euphoria,” especially in season two, sees the drug addict Rue go deep and almost destroy her life due to drugs. There’s a reason audiences like to focus on how bad Cassie has become, it’s because “Euphoria” portrayed being a drug addict as something terrifying and destructive. It’s pretty concise from audiences on their reaction to Rue’s character arc, that she almost destroyed her life for drugs and chasing the high was ultimately not worth it.
Hollywood showcasing these hard to watch stories about difficult topics is impressive. But they can’t simply steer away every teenager from their movies and shows, especially when it’s about them. These shows are taking a look at the difficult topics that can’t be watched alone. If there’s anything Hollywood wants, it’s to create a discussion. And topics like mental health, relationships and drug use are some discussions that can’t be kept to one’s own mind. The screen is shown to all so all can discuss it.