Euphoria‘s New Season 2 Characters Sound Complex — & A Little Problematic

Photo: Courtesy of HBO.
Whether Euphoria is the most authentic teen show on American television or an overblown, oversexualized cautionary tale about “kids these days” depends on your perspective. If you are like me and can’t stop watching regardless of your opinion on the series, good news: Euphoria will return for season 2, and bring some new characters when it does.
Euphoria stars Zendaya as Rue, a thoughtful teenager fresh out of rehab who struggles with anxiety and substance abuse issues. Season 1 follows Rue as she falls in love with Jules (Hunter Schafer), a spontaneous and fun new girl who is terrifyingly capable of breaking the fragile Rue’s heart. Over the course of the first season, Rue clashes with Nate (Jacob Elordi) (a violent and angry jock grappling with his identity), sketchy drug dealers who prey upon Rue’s vulnerability post-rehab, and her own demons that keep her from staying sober. 
Rue acts as an unreliable narrator for Euphoria, telling the audience stories of friends, including Sydney Sweeting’s Cassie, who has her nude photos sent around without her consent; Maddy (Alexa Demie), a tough and savvy cheerleader who is nonetheless secretly abused by her on-again, off-again boyfriend Nate; and Kat (Barbie Ferreira), who turns to camming with older men to find confidence. 
Given that Euphoria is a tapestry of life, new characters are vital to keeping the show fresh. It’s the young women that Euphoria spends the most time with, following them as they navigate their increasingly complicated lives in the age of social media. Casting breakdowns via Project Casting for upcoming speaking roles on the show detail four new characters who will play a part in Euphoria’s season 2, and it’s disappointing that the new women don’t seem to have the same nuance as the original characters. 
The first role is for 17-year-old Darian. He’s described as “an outsider” who is sensitive, vulnerable, and mischievous. Like Rue, Darian may struggle with addiction. While he’s “definitely not the cool kid at school,” the breakdown states he is “one of the more interesting kids.”
Another new character, 17-year-old Ray, is described in the same warm manner. The “working class” character is “attractive in a real and accessible way” with a “pure heart.” He “might be going nowhere in life but has a smile so genuine it’s not depressing.” He’s labeled “scrappy but a fighter,” and is “not verbose or educated” as he “has all the words he needs.”
The breakdown for the two women characters aren’t as fleshed out and read more like caricatures. 
Ami, a woman whom the breakdown says can range from 18 to her 20s, is described as a drug addict and stripper who hates her boyfriend. Ami “talks shit” and “can’t read a room,” but can “make a bad situation worse.” Rapper Azealia Banks stated on social media that she sent in an audition tape for season 2 of Euphoria, and fans speculate that this is the part for which she is potentially being considered.
The character of Serena, who is in her 50s, is described similarly to Ami. She is “sassy and tough,” and “the kind of women who partied her whole life and attended every White Snake concert and now she has several different hustles just to make a living.”
We don’t know what place these characters will have on Euphoria season 2, so judging them based on their breakdowns is premature — though Refinery29 reached out to HBO for comment. Still, given that Euphoria is told from the perspective of a woman, and is about this same young woman diving deep into the psyche of her friends, one would hope that season 2 would continue with this trend. And hey, maybe it will — but these casting breakdowns aren’t the best indicator of that. 

Euphoria season 2 heads to HBO later in 2020.

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