HBO’s “Euphoria” Criticized Over Unnecessary Nudity


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Zendaya posing for “euphoria” cover photo

Gisselle Gamez, Opinions Writer

Social media platforms like Twitter and TikTok have been filled with memes, reviews, and lots of talk about HBO’s season two of “Euphoria.” Viewers question the excessive on-screen nudity that the show contains and whether or not it is necessary for telling the story of troubled high school kids. The truth is that the show’s storyline is good enough without the heavy amount of nudity in every episode. 

 The hit TV show features nudity within the first twenty minutes of season two’s first episode. Although nudity is useful in creating a realistic image of what the characters are going through, it is not necessary as it already contains graphic scenes of drug abuse, physical violence, and domestic abuse. 

Not only have viewers expressed their opinions on the unnecessary nudity, but actors from the show as well. Actress, Sydney Sweeney, who plays Cassie Howard, one of the main characters of the show, has more nude scenes than any of the other cast members. Her character’s storyline is that of a troubled teenage girl who finds herself seeking validation from men and often betraying those she loves. Sweeney told Mykal Mason of TV news site “ScreenRant,” that the immense amount of nudity that is part of her script takes away from her skills as an actress, causing her performance to not be taken seriously. “I’m very proud of my work in Euphoria. I thought it was a great performance. But no one talks about it because I got naked,” said Sweeney in an interview regarding her performance on “Euphoria.”

The frequent nudity on the show may cause viewers’ attention to deflect from the actors’ performance and the message of the show. It also takes away credibility from certain actors due to the inevitable sexism that exists in society.

It is safe to say that nudity is not at all necessary when it comes to telling the stories of a group of troubled high school teens. The drug abuse and graphic violence scenes that the show contains alone show their messed up lives. In fact, episode four of season two has been one of the best and most entertaining episodes of the new season so far and it contained the least amount of nudity in comparison to previous episodes. Considering the show is about kids in high school, the amount of nudity portrayed is questionable. 

Although the show’s target audience is older teens and young adults, the characters are supposed to be high school students, meaning that there is no need for nudity. The need that scriptwriters feel for including nudity in TV shows about teens is something that many people have been questioning on social media. 

One might argue that the nudity included in the show is a step forward in sexual liberation or feminism, but in this show’s case that is not valid. “Showing breasts on television seems to benefit the male gaze more than anything else,” said Brittney Plusnick in an article for Her Campus titled “Euphoria’s nudity isn’t liberating anybody.” Considering the writer, Sam Levinson, is a man, tailoring the show to appeal to the male gaze makes complete sense.

Many may say that instead of the nudity in the TV show making it more fun to watch, it makes it difficult to continue watching. “A montage at the start of episode two is borderline unwatchable – a hellish vision of sex, bodies, and gore that made me wonder why it felt the need to try so hard,” said Rebecca Nicholson in her TV review for The Guardian titled “Euphoria season two review – far too much nudity, sex and violence.” 

It is as if the show has started to rely too much on the images on the screen instead of the story those images are meant to tell. Cassie Howard’s story could have been told just as efficiently without all of the topless scenes. Nudity in this TV show doesn’t add anything to the storyline of the characters. The nude scenes may drive away potential viewers. It also calls for negative critique from viewers on multiple social media platforms.