You know what America needs? A show about teens starring a Disney star that’ll leave parents “totally f***ing freaked out.”
So thinks HBO and 34-year-old creator Sam Levinson, son of Rain Man director Barry Levinson.
Hence, the cable network’s new program, Euphoria, starring Zendaya — the young girl who made a splash on Disney Channel show Shake it Up.
And what’s it gonna offer the young and impressionable, about the young and impressionable?
Here are a few gifts of note, as per The Hollywood Reporter:
- Graphic nudity, including one scene displaying roughly 30 completely naked young men
- Rape, courtesy of a prosthetic penis
- Sex with choking
- Masturbation over a webcam
It ain’t exactly Saved by the Bell.
What kind of a world is this sort of teen-targeting entertainment creating?
It’s creating one, apparently, in which Zendaya’ll be taken seriously as an actress.
Gotta cut that Disney cord:
“We can get away with a lot of s**t with comedy. I’ve only really done family movies, so everybody sees me a certain way and doesn’t assume that I can do [a part like this] — or that I want to.”
As per THR:
[She’d] been searching for a reputation-busting role that would signal her transition from Disney Channel to adult actress.
It’s gonna bust it, alright.
But don’t worry — the drug use, in addition to the bulletted list above, ain’t about shock value.
So says Casey Bloys, HBO’s president of programming:
“It’s not sensational to be sensational. It may seem boundary-pushing, and the idea of putting them on TV may be, but somebody lived them.”
But also…well, I’ll just let the Reporter take the reigns here:
Despite HBO’s enthusiasm for authentic and edgy content, the network does have its limits. According to Levinson and Zendaya, execs pushed back on two scenes. One was the opening shot, which in the final version begins with Zendaya’s character narrating her birth. “I was repeatedly crushed over and over by the cruel cervix of my mother,” she says as a CGI clip of herself as a baby in utero plays onscreen. But Levinson actually wanted to start with a dolly shot that began on the lights in the hospital room, boomed down behind a doctor and went straight between her mother’s legs and into her vagina. “They were like, ‘Nah, you can’t open it that way,’ ” says Levinson. “I just thought, ‘It’s a battle I don’t need to fight right now.'” They had already shot the scene, though, and actress Nika King, who plays Zendaya’s mom in the show, says she had another actress step in to portray the most intimate part. “Her vagina got credit, don’t worry,” she says. “It’s on IMDb Pro, I promise you.”
And there’s this:
[F]ormer HBO chairman Richard Plepler would often tell people the series makes Netflix’s teen suicide drama 13 Reasons Why look like an after-school special.
So parents, prepare for a freak-out. Says Sam, who wrote all eight episodes:
“There are going to be parents who are going to be totally fucking freaked out.”
Not so long ago, America’s youth were entertained by television fare such as Gilligan’s Island and The Brady Bunch. We see the generations turned out by those; what’s this generation going to be like? How about the next?
Let us all know, in the Comments section.
And please consider reading this, as a companion piece; it’s something we could us much more of: “Margot Kidder Is Gone, But The Love Of Superman — And What It Taught Us — Lives On.”
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