Euphoria Character Analysis Essay
Deviance can manifest in different forms such as through the use of media. Studies of the role of media have showed how media can be used for deviance but as well as, how media can influence perceptions. As can be seen in episode 4 of Euphoria it explores the lives of teenagers in high school. The main characters of this show are Rue, Jules, Nate, Maddy and Kat, and Nates dad. In this paper I will demonstrate how Euphoria encapsulates various aspects of media deviance from both a point of view of discussing the context of episode 4 and from audience perspective. I have chosen Euphoria for this topic of media deviance because it contains strong context that supports deviance theories and concepts explored in this course. Through this analysis it will be evident how the aspects of media and deviance occur in with relatable and realistic depictions from this episode of Euphoria.
Episode 4 synopsis
The episode begins with retracing Jules’ early childhood where she was put into a psychiatric care facility and an overview of mental health and family issues. The next scene of the episode highlights Rue who is a drug addict who is explaining to her sponsor how she kissed Jules. The episode then transitions to the main setting of an annual carnival where a chili cooking contest is held where Nate’s Dad wins every year. The episode then moves to a scene where Jules goes up and buys a bowl of chili from Nate’s Dad whom she had sexual intercourse not knowing he was Nate’s dad. At this point, Nate’s dad also realizes Jules is underage due to his sons stating she is new to town and a sixteen-year-old. The next scene transitions to Maddy who is Nate’s girlfriend who shows up dressed provocatively according to Nate who makes comments about her outfit. Due to Maddy’s outrage at Nate she pushed over Nate’s parents’ chili booth. Nate then aggressively grabbed Maddy and walked her away from the crowd where he physically assaulted her by choking her. During this time, another character Kat who is also friends with Maddy and Jules was having sex with a guy she just met at the carnival. The episode then switches to a scene after the carnival, where Jules goes to meet a man named “Tyler” who she has been texting and getting close with from a dating app. In a dark park, Jules meets Nate who catfished Jules under the name “Tyler. Nate threatens Jules to do as he says with naked pictures, she took of herself and sent to “Tyler”. The context behind this scene is that Nate knows that his dad slept with Jules after finding a CD recording of it.
In episode 4 of Euphoria, it captured the social group of teenagers. In this episode there is framing that occurs that not only shapes the storyline but as well shaped audience perceptions. Media framing occurs when media selects particular aspects to convey a reality that may not be the full picture (Bereska, 2018, p.104). The objective of media framing is to make the media communicate messages such as, promoting a problem definitions, causal interpretation, moral evaluation, and treatment recommendations (p.104). This episode captures a conflict and human-interest frame that focuses on both human life stories, emotions but as well as, conflicts between institutions and individuals.
In episode 4 and throughout the series the teenagers are portrayed as hypersexual individuals, whereas in society this group of hypersexual teens are normally deemed as sexually deviant and would face more issues that what is depicted in the series. Too also, the framing affect that this show might have on audience is the perception that sex is how it is depicted in the series with no consequences or risks. To illustrate, at the carnival Kat has intercourse with a guy she did not know and the frame in which this was shown, left out the use of a contraceptive protection or discussion of consent. The nature of this sexual act would also be deemed deviant for the location in a public setting where often times it could be punishable by law. This framing offers a casual interpretation of unprotected and public sexual relations. As well as it can influence an audience to redefine what consent is. This can be better understood through administrative research studies on media which strives to demonstrate how media message influence individuals’ thoughts, feelings and behaviours. This framing present in this euphoria episode might have an effect on how audience perceives sexuality and/or relationships especially if the audience is in same age demographic as what is represented in this show.
Another form of framing that occurs is the framing of cis-gendered women in this episode as nonchalant and accepting of violence perpetrated against them. Maddie was verbally and physically harassed by Nate. The frame in which this was shown inferred a message that perpetrating violence against women is normal and a casual occurrence. As can be seen in critical research studies which suggest that media influence culture rather defines boundaries, identifies social problems and shapes public debate. Based on critical research studies, this episode can influence how violence against women is perceived as normal with no consequences. It may also influence the women to extend their boundaries that would allow them to be disrespected in the same way Maddy was in this episode.
To add, media deviance nexus was another prevalent topic in this episode. As can be seen in this episode where Nate catfishes and entraps Jules to manipulate her into doing what he wants. Nate posed as “Tyler” on a dating app and portrayed a false identity to the extent of Jules is falling deeply for him. Nate used the media platform of a dating app to commit deviance in catfishing Jules and used media for deviance by blackmailing her. Nate and Jules could also be charged with child pornography. According to Bereska (2018), child pornography can be described as “any representation of someone under the age of 18 engaged in explicit sexual activity or any representation of someone under the age of 18 (p.150)”. The text also addresses how both underage youth who take nude/partially nude photos of themselves and/or individuals who share someone else’s photos can be charged with child pornography. Too also, Mr. Jacobs participated cybercrime which can understood to be deviant acts carried out through the usage of technology (p.111). Mr. Jacobs is a sexual predator for having sex with a minor but as well produced and filmed child pornography with Jules. These actions are all forms of media deviance.
In addition, this episode relates to the topic of media violence and deviance. The storyline of series is that Mr. Jacobs a married man with a family has been having sexual relationships with men and videotaping them. In earlier episodes, it revealed that as a child Nate had found these videotapes of his father with other men. Nate also found the video of his dad with Jules. The series insinuates that Nate’s deviant behaviour is a result of his dad’s affairs with minors and other men. This scenario strongly correlates to the deviance correlation studies in the media. Correlational studies have found a relationship between watching violent media and people’s level of aggressiveness, which can be said the same for Nate (p.101). Nate’s actions towards Maddy at the carnival would be a prime example of this.
In conclusion, episode 4 of Euphoria demonstrates various aspects of media violence, deviance and sexuality. Episode 4 consisted of framing social groups of teenagers and women that exuded normalization of social issues that would have been policed in real life. The episode also illustrated the use of media for deviance through Nate and his father participating in child pornography. As well, episode 4 reinforced correlational and critical research studies in media that explained how media can influence both an individual and culture. Altogether, this episode conveyed the importance of studying the media. As was demonstrated, not only was the perceptions in the context of the show imperative in demonstrating the role of media and deviance it was also equally important from an outsider point of view where it showed how it can affect the audience perceptions of reality. For this reason, the role of the media is topic that should continue to be explored in academia as it reveals the effect it can have in reality through the influence of individuals and culture.