The Guide #17: HBO’s Euphoria is back – and so is the trigger warning discourse

Culture

Focus / Culture 15 Views comments

In this week’s newsletter: Call it woke, call it sensible – but content warnings show creators like Zendaya are at least thinking about how their work affects people

I’ve decided to kick things off with a small helping of trauma, and ask: should our most troubling pop culture come with a warning? I’m thinking specifically of HBO’s no holds barred teen drama Euphoria, which returned to screens this week, and – for UK viewers – was preceded by an announcement that the episode contained “depictions of drug abuse, very strong language, some strong violence, scenes of a sexual nature and strong images of nudity from the start”. Elsewhere, there was a more explicit content warning on Instagram, where the show’s star and executive producer, Zendaya, said that season two was “deeply emotional” and “triggering”, urging fans to watch only if they felt comfortable.

Indeed, Cassie (Sydney Sweeney) getting covered in wee was far from the most harrowing part of an episode which featured a shooting at a strip club (complete with what will surely be the first of many erect penises we’ll see this series), heroin use, and a bloody beating.

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