The internet is full of to-watch lists right now, as most of the world is in lockdown mode as the coronavirus spreads. With all that time indoors, and so many streaming services at our disposal, it’s hard to know where to begin. We have plenty of streaming lists available on Nerdist, but wanted to offer something a little different here. Assuming you’ve already watched the HBO drama Euphoria, we have some follow-up content to look into after bingeing all eight episodes of that series.
Euphoria follows several suburban teens dealing with various predicaments: mental illness, addiction, body dysphoria, domestic abuse. The show is presently gearing up for its second season; last week, the official Twitter posted images from the first table read.
It’s a wonderful show, and what’s more, it’s loaded with other pop culture references. It also shares some DNA with other teen shows you should check out if this one hooked you. Here’s a starter kit for all of the Euphoria-related things to catch up on in isolation.
Romeo + Juliet
Euphoria‘s sixth episode, “The Next Episode,” sees the teens attend a Halloween party where everyone is dressed to the nines. Most of the costumes are fun pop culture nods, the most notable being Jules’ getup as Juliet from the 1996 film Romeo + Juliet. She shows up wearing the angel wings and white dress that Claire Danes made famous. We’re not entirely positive that Gen Z is aware of the cultural smash that Baz Luhrmann’s film was way back when, but we salute the choice either way.
The episode features another allusion to Romeo + Juliet, when Jules and Rue kiss underwater in a swimming pool; it mimics a kiss Claire Danes and Leonardo DiCaprio share in the film, right as their forbidden love starts to blossom. If you’ve never seen the romance classic or want to rewatch, it shares a lot in common with Euphoria in other distinct ways—namely in kinetic energy, rushes of color, and a fantastic soundtrack. You can watch it with a Starz subscription (or free trial) on Hulu here.
Another Halloween costume Easter egg? This fabulous costume worn by Kat Hernandez. While it may look like regular nun gear, it’s actually an allusion to the 1981 exploitation film Ms. 45, directed by Abel Ferrera, which also features a character at a Halloween party.
It’s a perfect costume for a character like Kat, who is basically part of her own exploitation arc in Euphoria. You can watch Ms. 45 for free on Tubi here.
Maddy is one of Euphoria‘s most fascinating characters. A young, headstrong woman, she has ton of style, attitude, and knows how to pull her weight. She’s also enveloped in a dramatic and dangerous love affair with school jock Nate. It’s all very complicated, and at times quite heartbreaking, but that’s the Euphoria way.
She’s also known for her trademark jeweled eye makeup, a look that Alexa Demie (the actress who plays Maddy) suggested herself. Her reference points? Pictures of soul singer Nina Simone, and pictures from the 1995 erotic drama Showgirls, directed by Paul Verhoeven. The film was reviled upon release but has taken on a cult status in the years since. It’s exactly the sort of movie we’d expect a character like Maddy to love. You can watch it with a Starz subscription on Hulu here.
If there’s one show that gets brought up alongside Euphoria, it’s Skins. The British drama also dealt with unruly teens dealing with real-world issues like drugs, sex, eating disorders. And like Euphoria, it was filmed in a way that really put you in the headspace of the main characters. In fact, the party scenes from Euphoria seem to specifically reference the opening credits of Skins.
If you’re looking to sink your teeth into another show about troubled youths, we can’t recommend Skins enough. You can stream the whole series on Netflix here.
“The Next Episode” is not only loaded with incredible pop culture costumes, but it also contains one of our favorite little Easter eggs from the show. When Rue interrogates the teen boy giving her sister weed, she puts on a bit of a show, playing up her toughness to scare him off. In her attempt to sound intimidating, she lists off all of the people she will call to hunt him down.
If the names sound familiar, that’s because they’re all characters from The Wire, another HBO series about the narcotics scene in Baltimore. Not only do the shows share a network, but they also similarly tackle the stigma around drug use and crime with an elegance that make them deeper than your average program. You can stream every episode of The Wire on HBO Now here.
New Line Cinema
It’s clear the films of Paul Thomas Anderson had a major influence on Euphoria creator Sam Levinson. The fourth episode of the series, “Shook Ones, Pt. II,” is set largely at a local carnival and has heavy shades of PTA’s 1999 film Magnolia, from its camera movements, to its bombastic score, to its keen sense of character.
Moreover, Euphoria‘s pilot features direct homage to the director. A party scene mimics the pool party sequence from PTA’s 1997 film Boogie Nights. The camera following Maddy into the water is a direct allusion to this moment.
Twin Peaks: The Return
The word “Lynchian” gets thrown around a lot, but Euphoria is one of the few shows in recent memory that genuinely captures a similar spirit to David Lynch. It’s not a direct reference, but we see Lynch’s influence in the melancholy of the camerawork, the strange and sometimes jarring aesthetic choices, the haunting music. It’s especially of a piece with Lynch’s recent foray back into television, Twin Peaks: The Return.
HBOThere’s one specific moment in Euphoria—when Jules rides her bike alone at night—that mimics the camerawork used in The Return as Dale Cooper’s doppelgänger drives his car through blackness. There’s also something in the precise way Levinson captures the magical, ugly beauty of youth that reminds us of moments from the original Twin Peaks and especially the sequel film, Fire Walk with Me.
In the second episode of Euphoria, “Stuntin’ Like My Daddy,” we see Cassie watching the 1996 film Fear, starring Mark Wahlberg and Reese Witherspoon. Wahlberg plays a violent sociopath in an abusive relationship with Witherspoon; this relationship that looks a lot like the one between Euphoria characters Maddy and Nate. There are even some direct lines drawn between Nate and Wahlberg.
After beating up the guy who slept with Maddy, Nate puts on an outfit that looks almost identical to one Wahlberg wears in the film. Later in the season, as Nate grows more and more unhinged, he beats himself up, punching himself in the chest the way Wahlberg’s character does in the film. Gen Z-ers might be unaware of this movie, parts of which are utterly ridiculous. But it’s still a weirdly enjoyable watch, and has some good messaging about how to spot an abusive person. You can rent Fear on Amazon here.
My So-Called Life
It’s easy to make comparisons between Euphoria and a show like My S0-Called Life, as both are heady teen dramas dealing with intense topics. The latter, which starred Claire Danes (perhaps Euphoria‘s most referenced ’90s icon) aired from 1994 to 1995—only one (perfect) season—but made a huge impression on Gen X-ers and other moody teens in the decades since. That includes Rue’s sister, Gia, who is shown watching an episode of My S0-Called life.
Rue joins Gia in her viewing session, and for a brief moment, we are reminded of the show that really kicked off the “teen girls deserve to be taken seriously” trend. You can stream every episode of My So-Called Life on ABC.com here.
In the fifth episode of Euphoria, “Bonnie and Clyde,” we learn a lot more about Maddy. Most importantly, that she is obsessed with Sharon Stone’s character in the 1995 Martin Scorsese film Casino. She’s so into the character, that she aspires to own her fur coat. A prize her boyfriend Nate eventually gives her.
Maddy is the character you’d least expect to be a cinephile but who seems to have the deepest appreciation for the art form. From her Showgirls-inspired makeup, to this coat, to her Taxi Driver costume in the Halloween episode, she’s always here to remind us what an emporium of film references Euphoria can be.
Featured Image: HBO