Sunday, July 28, 2019

REVIEW: 'Euphoria' - Rue and Jules Continue to Inflict Damage in 'The Trials and Tribulations of Trying to Pee While Depressed'

HBO's Euphoria - Episode 1.07 "The Trials and Tribulations of Trying to Pee While Depressed"

Rue gets depressed and watches 22 straight episodes of a British reality show. Jules goes to visit an old friend. Cassie looks for advice in the aftermath of Halloween night.

In 2018, there were 495 scripted shows airing amongst the linear channels and streaming services. The way people are consuming content now is so different than it used to be. It happens according to one's own schedule. As such, there is less necessity to provide ample coverage of each specific episode in any given season from a show. Moreover, it is simply impossible to watch everything. As such, this site is making the move to shorter episodic reviews in order to cover as many shows as possible. With all of that being said, here are my thoughts on the next episode of HBO's Euphoria.

"The Trials and Tribulations of Trying to Pee While Depressed" was written by Sam Levinson and directed by Sam Levinson

This show can be a lot to take. It enjoys overindulging in horrendous behavior in order to define its ensemble of characters. It articulates just how messed up and complicated life can be for the social media generation. And yet, it has struggled when it comes to making some larger point about all of these observations. So now, the narrative is working extra hard to move to the next stage of things while making it feel like a crescendo of plot beats is complicating life for these characters. It still feels like a messy collection of storytelling choices that aren't really building towards anything epic or interesting. Instead of feeling as if there is some conspiracy regarding Nate that could topple over at any point in time, he just presents as a one-note antagonist to whom the audience should want bad things to happen. It's unclear if he will receive any consequences for his actions though. His father believes the strict lesson to be learned from all of this is hoping for the best without wanting to know all of the ugly details. That's terrible parenting. Sure, the show hasn't really presented a case of solid parenting that understands what the teenagers need at this particular moment in time. Rue literally has to be in agonizing pain on the floor for her mother to notice the extent of what's going on in her life. Sometimes life has to be blunt in those ways. But that's increasingly the only way this show knows how to tell its stories. That's lame and unimaginative. The show absolutely flourishes when it comes to its visual palette. It knows exactly how to present situations in unusual and unexpected ways. At the end of the day though, it still has to function as a smart and engaging drama about human connection. This hour should be a chaotic trip through manic depression as Rue experiences highs and lows. Instead, it mostly feels like a note of what her personality could be and heightens the drama for why she may need medication in her life. Jules was the high she was chasing for awhile. But now, it has become clear to Rue that she can't rely her entire sobriety on this friendship. Sure, she doesn't have something else to fill the void. Reality television can only do so much. In fact, it seems like a fair amount of damage is inflicted onto Rue for no real reason here. Yes, depression is a serious disease that manifests itself in many dangerous and distinct ways. The show just immediately goes for the extreme without putting in enough of the work to show why now is the time for all of this to happen in Rue's life. She thinks she has everything figured out. But then she realizes that none of it is worth it in the long run because she has no idea what other people are thinking. Of course, Rue and Nate are at the top of Jules' mind. They are what consume her thoughts. Even when she escapes to her old home town and friends, it's a familiar setting of partying and drugs that leads to reckless decisions being made. She's not suddenly a different person. Nor does she receive much clarity other than knowing that all of this is bound to end in disaster. And finally, this hour delves further into Cassie's backstory and how the push-and-pull with her own father has made her fall deeply in love with many guys over the course of her life. It's a rush she is continually chasing and it applies to her decision-making over her new pregnancy. That could present itself as a serious complication that should change her behavior. And yet, there is no confidence at this point that anything will change especially since the season is already coming to a close.