I’m not entirely sure what I expected based on the trailer for HBO’s Euphoria, which debuts Sunday night after Big Little Lies. I thought maybe sort of a Skins-esque teen drama with a more diverse cast and all the freedom that HBO provides.
I did not, however, anticipate that, with that freedom, creator Sam Levinson (son of Barry) would introduce 30 dicks in one episode, or feature a scene in which actor Eric Dane commits statutory rape with a 17-year-old trans girl, or a sex scene with teens that involves choking.
It sounds like a show that’s begging for Internet writers to watch, and potentially a series that inspires more think pieces than viewers, although I am tentatively hopeful based on the mixed-to-positive reviews. The show itself is based on an Israeli series of the same name, and stars — among others — Zendaya, Storm Reid (from A Wrinkle in Time), Hunter Schafer, and Maude Apatow (daughter of Judd). Euphoria is apparently so explicit that one cast member quit while shooting the pilot, according to The Hollywood Reporter:
The risqué material was even too much for a principal castmember. While shooting the pilot, actor Brian “Astro” Bradley, 22, a former X Factor contestant and rapper signed to Nas’ label, wanted out of the show. Details surrounding his exit are fiercely guarded, but sources say Bradley was uncomfortable shooting scenes that weren’t in the original pilot script and suggested his character would experiment with homosexuality in future episodes. After a lengthy back-and-forth with producers, HBO stepped in and replaced Bradley with The Hate U Give’s Algee Smith. They reshot his parts in the pilot, including an intense sex scene with 21-year-old actress Sydney Sweeney, who says of the recasting, “Let’s just say I’m very glad that Algee is playing the character.”
In addition to that one episode that features 30 penises, Eric Dane will present a rarity on television, even of the premium variety: An erect penis. “There are going to be parents who are going to be totally f**king freaked out,” says Levinson of the series, which is also based on his own experiences with addiction. As for the 30 penis episode — a gender-bent homage to Carrie — it originally included 80 penises, which is a whole lot of dick.
The way THR describes it, Euphoria may also be about HBO testing limits with its new, more conservative overlords at AT&T at an especially crucial time for HBO, weeks after Game of Thrones ended its run and as it prepares to be the biggest lure as AT&T rolls out this winter’s WarnerMedia streaming service.