Euphoria, As We See It, and Rosamund Pike
Coming of age never ends, plus what's the deal with the Gone Girl star's career
On this week’s episode of Criticism Is Dead, we discuss Euphoria and As We See It, two shows about the pains of growing up.
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02:53 HBO teen drama Euphoria is inarguably a huge cultural force, especially among younger generations — but is it any good?
TV loves a teen drama. From Skins to Gossip Girl to all the slightly less ~scandalous~ high school shows littering the television landscape, we see this demographic represented in almost every shape and form. So what is it about Euphoria that makes it undeniably the biggest, most impactful one of all — especially among actual teens — in this current day and age?
Well, it looks really, really good (season 2, in particular, was shot entirely on film and is even more visually striking than the previous season). It has a great score, great performances — real star-making stuff — and the gloss of edgy prestige bestowed by HBO. The writing could be better; the sheen of utter self-seriousness surrounding this project is occasionally off-putting; the tunnel vision of its single showrunner/writer/auteur Sam Levinson is probably not doing it any favors. But despite all of that, it’s worth paying attention to, at least for its internet/cultural impact (the memes!).
21:52 As We See It, streaming on Amazon Prime Video, is one of the few genuinely terrific shows about people with autism and the loved ones in their orbit.
Shows and films about autism have historically perpetuated the singular myth of savantism: this idea that everyone on the spectrum is a genius who just has some social anxieties. As We See It moves past that idea to expand a true spectrum of what being on the spectrum could look like, through the lives of three very different characters kept together by a shared apartment and a decades-old friendship.
The way that this show fleshes out these characters is fantastic. Their highs and lows in adulthood are both hyper-specific and broadly universal, and not necessarily defined by their autism but by a world that is not accommodating of neurodivergence. Moreover, the series also thoughtfully explores what it’s like to be a guardian, family member, or carer of the central characters, presenting a fuller view of this slice of life. It’s funny, it’s tender, it’s very easy to zoom through — here’s to a season 2, hopefully!
39:00 Plus, culture notes about Rosamund Pike’s running streak of strange taste in projects.
Here’s the article (by my colleague Olivia Craighead): “Someone Help Rosamund Pike.”
I’m sure you’ve seen this already but here again for your listening pleasure:
Some thoughts on And Just Like That… and its finale… (previously discussed on the pod here!)
Finally, leaving you with this :)
That’s it for now! See you next week.
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Artwork and design: Sara Macias and Andrew Liu