'Euphoria, 'Ozark, and 'The White Lotus': How the 2022 Emmy Awards Reaffirm Our Love for Drugs

'Euphoria, 'Ozark, and 'The White Lotus': How the 2022 Emmy Awards Reaffirm Our Love for Drugs ...

Zendaya became the first Black woman to win the Primetime Emmy Award twice for her role as Rue Bennett in Euphoria on Monday. And she is the youngest actor to win two Emmys for acting, period.

Zendaya gave a brief but heartfelt acceptance address in which she thanked her friends and family, Euphoria writer Sam Levinson, and the cast and crew. I want you to know that anyone who has loved a Rue or feels like you are a Rue, I'm so grateful for your stories and she'll always carry them with her.

The Truth of Addiction

Zendaya's performance, especially in the depiction of withdrawal in "Stand Still Like The Hummingbird," was heartbreakingly accurate. From the gasping of loved ones to desperate attempts to obtain another fix, she harmed anyone who has ever loved a Rue.

According to the American Addiction Centers, 38 percent of Americans struggled with illicit drug disorders in 2017. Rue's story is not far from many in the United States and throughout the world.

The Dangers of Drugs

Julia Garner won her third Emmy for her role as Ruth Langmore in Ozark, while Olivia Massbacher was nominated in two categories for her roles as Cassie Howard in Euphoria and Olivia Massbacher in The White Lotus. All three characters deal explicitly or recreationally with drugs.

Despite how casual they may appear, each character is using drugs (in one way or another) in a different capacity.

The power is tremendously compelling. The danger is hugely compelling.

The emotional highs and lows that accompany any television program with drugs are entertaining. Rue stares her mother in the face, realizes she's been cornered, and declares, "You know what's a shame, Mom?" It's terrifying, but also as an artist's role in "Stand Still Like a Hummingbird" is almost unfathomable.

Zendaya has completely surrendered to what Rue wants, and it shows. You believe the person on your television is an addict, and the drama entrances you. She does what every Rue in that situation would do: you love her for all that she is and more for all that you know her to be, because you know that without the use of drugs, Rue is a sweet girl with a big heart. You long for her, and you hope that she will not succumb to Laurie's clutches.

Julie Garner portrays Ruth Langmore as smart and hard-working. She deals with the most vicious people in the world, yet Ruth makes no mistake. She must endure.

Ruth's body language expresses a sense of urgency and distrust of others. She walk slowly, never realizing she's looking, never wanting you to see her cards. Yet, when her beloved cousin Wyatt (Charles Tahan) is murdered, Garner releases the whole force of Ruth's rage and gives the world the TikTok audio of the year. "If you want to stop me, you're gonna have to... (you know the rest)!"

Olivia Mossbacher and Cassie Howard, who play Olivia, are not drug users; neither are they drug dealers. What sets these characters apart is a sense of self-worth. Both Olivia and Cassie use drugs to hide an advantage that nobody else can see.

What can be said about each of these characters is that they have redeeming abilities that even those who have never used or encountered anyone who has never used them could relate to. Their actions are motivated by either something outside their control that never sullies their true character or for the good of those around them. They strive, almost to their detriment, to make things better.