Via America’s Lawyer: Mike Papantonio is joined by legal journalist Mollye Barrows to give their take on HBO’s new teen-centric series “Euphoria.” It’s already caused a stir over its graphic depiction of sex, violence, and addiction among Generation Z. Is this portrayal authentic, or intentionally provocative to keep more mature audiences riveted?

Transcript:

*This transcript was generated by a third-party transcription software company, so please excuse any typos.

Mike Papantonio:             This Sunday, HBO debuted its new teen centric series is what we’ll call it, Euphoria, which explores things of sexual violence and drug addiction through the lens of today’s high-schooler’s, supposedly. It premieres and it’s premiere has rocked the landscape because for a lot of different reasons, we’re going to talk about. Many reviews are heralding the show for, for continuing to push the envelope by exploring dark, dark themes. Others, however deeply troubled by the show’s grim portrayal of youth culture and characterize it as a gross misrepresentation of general, of generation z. Is it, a generation of hedonistic good for nothings. So does Euphoria seem authentic to you? I gotta tell you, I gave it a shot. I looked at it, I watched it. Here’s, here’s my…

Mollye Barrows:                You are not a fan.

Mike Papantonio:             No, no. Here’s my impression. First of all, you can have a generation, the z generation.

Mollye Barrows:                Yes.

Mike Papantonio:             These are pretty good kids. I mean, let’s think about it.

Mollye Barrows:                Isn’t your kid a z generation?

Mike Papantonio:             Huh?

Mollye Barrows:                Is, is, is your kid a z generation?

Mike Papantonio:             No I have a millennial.

Mollye Barrows:                That’s right. the difference in age.

Mike Papantonio:             You got a generation of, first of all, look what they’re doing.

Mollye Barrows:                Yes.

Mike Papantonio:             They’re taking on climate change. They’re going to court on climate change. They’re going to court on gun rights.

Mollye Barrows:                That’s right.

Mike Papantonio:             Think of what they’re doing.

Mollye Barrows:                The Parkland kids, you’re right.

Mike Papantonio:             The Parkland kids. They’re out, they’re out in the streets protesting the right things.

Mollye Barrows:                Yes.

Mike Papantonio:             These are good kids. They’re, they’re excelling. I mean, so you take this program, Euphoria, let’s call it what it is. Okay. It’s gratuitous porn…

Mollye Barrows:                With a plot.

Mike Papantonio:             With a plot. So HBO can make money. In the meantime, they decimate the image.

Mollye Barrows:                Yes.

Mike Papantonio:             I mean, I don’t know where these kids on Euphoria live. They live in California. I don’t know. You Watch this show and you go there, they’re drug crazed sex addict, you know, name it, name it. And that’s what’s wrong with them. According to Euphoria. I would like, who’s, who’s the producer on this? I’m sure…

Mollye Barrows:                Well HBO, it’s an HBO show and the writer of the episodes, the creator is a guy, 34 year old Sam Levinson.

Mike Papantonio:             Oh, says he was based on his life. Right. Right Sam.

Mollye Barrows:                His experience and addiction.

Mike Papantonio:             If you look at this show, this is nothing except HBO trying to squeeze out another dollar.

Mollye Barrows:                Right.

Mike Papantonio:             And forget, they’re talking about the generation of really good kids here.

Mollye Barrows:                They were talking about a generation of good kids and it’s interesting because this is actually a show that came from Israel. So they redeveloped it for the American market. He wrote it based, he said on his own experiences growing up in high school that these were some of the addiction issues that he saw with numbers of his peer group and maybe you know, he is the son of a director, so maybe he grew up in a more affluent society circle of friends where they had more access to drugs, maybe more money, some sort of excessive partying. I’m just trying to be the devil’s advocate.

Mike Papantonio:             Mollye, look at this show.

Mollye Barrows:                I’m not defending it.

Mike Papantonio:             Maybe there’s some little place in California where this cat grew up and everybody was, they had their, their heads screw, they have their heads scrambled.

Mollye Barrows:                Sex, drugs and rock and roll is nothing new for teenagers.

Mike Papantonio:             No it’s not.

Mollye Barrows:                There’s no rock and roll in this though. It’s really kind of sad.

Mike Papantonio:             No, they’re all stoned. And here’s the point again, I always brag and I don’t have a generation z’er, but I know a lot of them. They’re really good kids. They’re involved in the community. This generous, this show Euphoria is just nothing but a bunch of hype garbage where HBO is trying to squeeze out another dollar. Why? Because they had to loose, the, the, you know because…

Mollye Barrows:                Game of Thrones is off.

Mike Papantonio:             Game of Thrones is off, so they want to stream it. Right?

Mollye Barrows:                And HBO has a new boss, AT&T, and they have essentially said, we want to see more programming that’s geared towards viewers who want to watch it online, who want to stream it. They want to compete in that market. So who are they going to be, you know, marketing that too? Well of course it’s going to be younger viewers because that’s who’s watching a lot and we all are, but streaming is definitely appealing to the younger crowd, the younger audience.

Mike Papantonio:             Are they trying to say to these kids, this is how you should act?

Mollye Barrows:                Let’s hope not.

Mike Papantonio:             Because these generation z ain’t buying into it. If you look at the numbers on generation z, drug addictions down, alcohol use is a down, gratuitous sex is down. This is…

Mollye Barrows:                Well gratuitous sex is not down. I have a, it’s, it’s half of that. Now they’re not doing as many hard drugs. That’s true.

Mike Papantonio:             Okay, all right.

Mollye Barrows:                They’re still getting high on weed. They’re vaping out the, out the window.

Mike Papantonio:             Yeah.

Mollye Barrows:                I mean you name it, they’re vaping it.

Mike Papantonio:             But when you look at Euphoria, are you looking at this…

Mollye Barrows:                No. I certainly hope and I, and mind you, I, when I read up on it and I watched a little bit of it, I didn’t watch a lot of it cause I didn’t want to be depressed and it’s just not my kind of thing.

Mike Papantonio:             Well watch it, watch it. You have a child coming up and you have…

Mollye Barrows:                I know, it terrifies me.

Mike Papantonio:             So here’s what you’ve got. You’ve got these California New York types. Okay.

Mollye Barrows:                Yeah.

Mike Papantonio:             And they’re saying, hey, this is cool. We’ll show, all it is, is gratuitous. It’s pornography.

Mollye Barrows:                Well it is and I agree with you on that. So going back to your statistics, they did say that like half of all the kids by the time they’re at 18 in America have had sex. But when you break that down, most of them were in relationships, if you will. And, and it’s not the sort of image that’s being portrayed on Euphoria where there’s just this willy nilly hooking up with same sex friends, opposite sex friends, you name it, whoever’s in the room, whoever’s got the pills or whatever, but…

Mike Papantonio:             I’m not analyzing this like a Quaker. Okay. This is not…

Mollye Barrows:                I didn’t think you were a Quaker.

Mike Papantonio:             This is not a moral analysis I’m giving you. What I’m upset about is some cat who’s trying to just squeeze another dollar, you know, just trying to squeeze another dollar on HBO. And this is, what’s his name? Levinson.

Mollye Barrows:                Yes. Sam Levinson, he’s the creator.

Mike Papantonio:             I feel sorry, poor Levinson. Okay. He grew up with his eggs scrambled. No question. A good for…

Mollye Barrows:                He does say he relates to the teenagers.

Mike Papantonio:             Okay. Good for him. He grew up, he grew up with his eggs totally scrambled and, but I’m looking at and comparing what I’m seeing on Euphoria with what I see out with that generation, and it’s, when people drill down on this, you know what it’s really about, it probably isn’t even kids watching it. Because it’s this gratuitous, as I say, it’s this gratuitous sex. It’s, it’s appealing to some couriering, couriering interests of some old cat who’s watching.

Mollye Barrows:                That’s gross.

Mike Papantonio:             But that’s what’s happening here.

Mollye Barrows:                Oh no, that’s exactly what’s happening.

Mike Papantonio:             If you don’t think they have focused this, if you don’t believe they have focused this, they’ve looked at what happened in Israel.

Mollye Barrows:                Of course.

Mike Papantonio:             They know exactly what the marketing is.

Mollye Barrows:                Who’s watching and how are they’re gonna make money.

Mike Papantonio:             The pervs.

Mollye Barrows:                Of course.

Mike Papantonio:             Okay, the pervs are watching it and they’re also showing it to kids and saying, hey, maybe this could be your life. Maybe you could be a drug addict who’s completely out of…

Mollye Barrows:                It has gotten a little bit of critical acclaim. People are saying, at least it’s bringing to light some issues that teenagers feel like they’re struggling with. But I’m with you. It’s an artsy take on a grim and grizzly sort of over the top eccentric look at that. But you know, when it came out, it only had like less than 600,000 viewers and but streaming. Yeah, they did it like up around the million. So you’re right, it’s the pervs that are out there online watching.

Mike Papantonio:             It’s the pervs. Mollye, thanks for watching. Thanks for talking about, I want to talk about this more as we watch more serious.

Mollye Barrows:                Okay.

Mike Papantonio is an American attorney and television and radio talk show host. He is past president of The National Trial Lawyers, the most prestigious trial lawyer association in America; and is one of the few living attorneys inducted into the Trial Lawyer Hall of Fame. He hosts the international television show "America's Lawyer"; and co-hosts Ring of Fire Radio, a nationally syndicated weekly radio program, with Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and Sam Seder.