A Lifetime of Happiness: Movies, TV, and Video Games

BONUS: Euphoria (2019)

March 21, 2022 Steve Bennet-Martin, Stephen Martin-Bennet Season 1 Episode 111
A Lifetime of Happiness: Movies, TV, and Video Games
BONUS: Euphoria (2019)
Show Notes Transcript

In the first crossover episode of gAy A and A Lifetime of Happiness, the Steves discuss the hit TV show, Euphoria, and how it spoke to Steve and his sobriety journey. 

Topics covered include

  • Rue's struggles with addiction
  • The impact Rue's struggle has on the people around her
  • Hunter Schafer's breakout role of Jules
  • The relationship between Rue and Jules
  • Jules risky encounter with Cal Jacobs
  • So many penises!
  • Hot-takes on the other characters

If you enjoyed this crossover episode, consider checking out gAy A wherever you listen to podcasts to hear more about Steve's sobriety journey, as well as weekly shares from fellows within the sober community.

Stay tuned Wednesday for your regularly scheduled episodes!

Ending- Any music or audio clips were borrowed from the original source material.

Support the show
Steve:

Hi everyone. And welcome to the first crossover episode of gay, a podcast about sobriety for the LGBT plus community and our

Stephen:

allies, and a lifetime of happiness. A podcast about the movies and TV shows that keep

Steve:

us happy. I'm Steve Bennet-Martin. I am an alcoholic and I am grateful for creating both of these wonderful podcast us

Stephen:

and I'm Stephen Martin-Bennet, his supportive husband, and I'm grateful for a lifetime of happiness. Becoming such a great hobby of ours.

Steve:

Yes. And as of this recording, I am 297 day sober. And today we're gonna talk a bit about the HBO show that so many of us in the recovery community, as well as the masses in general yep. Are talking about euphoria. And I thought it'd be the perfect time to make it crossover episode since what do we do in a lifetime of happiness?

Stephen:

We talk about all the movies and TV shows that are making us happy and this dives right into just a really good blend because. When we were watching it, we were talking about you, how you were identifying with it. And I was identifying with it. And then also. Just talking about it, cuz it's popular.

Steve:

Exactly. Yes. I mean it's depiction of addiction definitely rings very true to me. Now my history was more with alcohol than it was with drugs. Although I did dabble here and there throughout my drinking career in other substances. And I can definitely though identify with Ru way that she feels about addiction, about life and about herself. And I figured it's a perfect chance to show listeners of one podcast. What the other one feels like. that's

Stephen:

a very, very good reasoning with it. And, you know, as I was watching it, there were definitely parts that felt uncomfortable to watch like that these were, are things in someone's life that we shouldn't be privy to. Yeah. And there were definitely many of those and. I, you know, we'll get into it further, but like, I just wanted to shake her and be like, come on, we're rooting for you. Get your shit together. Yes.

Steve:

As you were rooting for me throughout my struggles. Yes. And for those of you who aren't in the note, euphoria is an American teen drama TV series created by Sam Levinson for HBO, and is actually based off of an en Israeli TV mini series of the same name.

Stephen:

I did not know that. Euphoria has been such a viral hit that has been recognized as HBO's second most watch show on HBO with game of Thrones being the first. And I told you that even though we weren't watching it, I like the nights that it premiered Twitter was just lit up with people. Creating instant memes about the episodes. Yeah. And things. And it was definitely a cultural

Steve:

phenomenon. Yes. We recently B binged the first two seasons and it stars Zaya who is supported by a very strong ensemble cast of both the youth as well as the adults. Yeah. I would say standouts, the though include hunter Shafer as Jules. Sydney Sweeney is Cassie and Eric, Dana, Cal Jacobs,

Stephen:

and one of the other ones that always stuck out to me. And I hope that they explore her character further was mod AAL as Lexi Howard, her former best friend. I think there's definitely Story there.

Steve:

Yes, I agree. And we'll touch on her a little bit later, but starting off with Zaya she started off as a child actor, but has since won our hearts with roles in her young adult life like Anne Wheeler in the greatest showman, as well as MJ in the new Spiderman movies in the MCU B

Stephen:

both. So, so, so good. Yes.

Steve:

And you were familiar with hunter Shafer already, weren't you.

Stephen:

Yes, hunter Schaefer is a huge L G B T plus rights activist and supermodel. And she's been associated with Prada, Dior, Calvin KLE, coach EY, Mark Jacobs V Sachi ton of other things. But one of the things that she re really rose to fame were she and her father protesting the bathroom bill. In North Carolina back when it was the whole thing of, well, I don't want some man using the bathroom next to my daughter at target and, you know, creating a whole lot of uncomfortable family conversations around Thanksgiving and Christmas for many queer people across the country. But I love that she started out as an advocate. People saw her natural beauty charm, charisma, all that. And we're like, and now we wanna put you on the cover of everything.

Steve:

Yes. And that was awesome. And this is her first big role. And I think that as an actress, she's doing a phenomenal job in it. Agreed. And Sydney Sweeney has recently been on white Lotus and the Handmaid's tale while Eric Dane, we all know, or most of us know as Dr. Mark Sloan, AKA. Maximi on Grey's anatomy, as well as Marcus and burlesque, which we previously covered on a lifetime of happiness.

Stephen:

Ugh. This was definitely a very different role for

Steve:

maximi. Yes. It got mixed maximi in a different way in the pilot. Yes. Now the series premiered on June 16th, 2019 and has had two seasons that are ready to binge right now, HBO plus, and season three has been announced and is likely to be released in early 20, 23.

Stephen:

Wow. It seems so. long. Like, because each season was like nine episodes.

Steve:

Yeah. Nine

Stephen:

or 10. Yeah. And you know, we went through them all really quickly and now we're like, Wait, we have to wait at least another year now. Yes.

Steve:

Oh yes we do. And while we've watched the full two seasons, we will focus more on the pilot of the series for this episode to give people a taste of euphoria. Yeah. There may be minor spoilers for overarching themes through the first two seasons though. So be warn, we won't go out of our way to spoil specifics, but we will talk about kind of the characters and where they go from the pilot and beyond.

Stephen:

Exactly. And so this is one of those things that if you really hate spoilers, I wouldn't go any further.

Steve:

And also because of the topic of the show being relating to teams and drugs and sex and alcohol and use if any of those lifetime of happiness listeners makes you feel uncomfortable or especially if you're family, you might wanna just skip this one and stay tuned for our next episode with is going to be in con a much more family friendly topic. yeah, absolutely.

Stephen:

Yes. Now the series starts with Ru freshly back from rehab, after an overdose, and she has zero intention of staying clean. And you know, she's sharing her mental health issues and the loss of her father Herr concludes buying drugs from her dealer and friend Fesco. Getting high and ultimately meeting and going home with Jules after Nate's party. Yes.

Steve:

Now mental health oftentimes can play a role or a piece in addiction, but there's no guarantee. I mean, both of us struggle with our own mental health issues. I know with me, I've had chronic depression diagnosed since I was in high school, as well as bipolar disorder, depending on the, the doctor that you ask and the time of my life that you're

Stephen:

asked. Right. I and I suffer with depression and anxiety and. Handle those through pills and meditation. Yes,

Steve:

I, meanwhile you know, that was one piece of many pieces that led to my having alcoholism and being an alcoholic while you can somehow drink like a normie

Stephen:

yeah. It's just one of those things that was never a big deal for me. Well, love

Steve:

for you now. Loss of a loved one is another huge trigger. While it didn't happen early in my story, I do realize that around the time of my grandmother going on hospice and passing that's when I had my DUI, as well as a lot of like toxic things going on in my life. So I definitely can see how that triggers you know, preexisting conditions or things that you're more apt to go towards. I drink like a fish during that, that time.

Stephen:

And that's easily one of the triggers. And you hear that from a lot of people in. Just your everyday life of, you know, well, and we see it online, you know, I had a really awful day, really bad weekend. This person died, blah, blah, blah. And they just drink.

Steve:

Yes. And for me, when I drink, I can't stop drinking. What I found was interesting was her relationship with Fesco their chemistry and just his, his charismatic as an actor. You, you said you found something interesting about him though, right? Yes.

Stephen:

And that this was actually, you know, his first. Acting gig. And people have talked about his natural screen presence and his chemistry with some of the other actors. And you know, when you're first watching it, you start looking at the character. And, and my first thought was, oh, is he a bad actor? And then I was like, or is he just burnt out from all the drugs? And then you really start seeing all of his different layers. And he really becomes a character that you are really

Steve:

drawn to. Yeah. I mean, typically you would consider, you know, drug dealer equals bad, but he certainly just shows that it's part of the life that he's been born into and it doesn't define who he is. And he's also really good

Stephen:

it at though. yeah, he is. And, but, and I do love that later on and I think it is season two, probably where they. Dive into how Fesco came to be Fesco.

Steve:

Yes, exactly. But it made me also in reflection, like think back on the weird relationships that oftentimes develop with dealers. Like I mentioned, I mean, I never really. Experi experimented with drugs to the extent that Ru did. But I know like in college I would buy cocaine a couple of times here and there. And even with marijuana, like after a while, if you're seeing this person every couple weeks and like buying things from them, there has to be some sort of level of like, Discussion during it. And like, you almost like make this weird kind of friendship with your, with your dealer. And you could see that here between Ru and Fesco that, you know, while she probably only started going to him because she needed drugs, like eventually she also like likes him as a person. And he really values her as a person mm-hmm And to the point where even though he is a drug dealer, he was, are you sure you just got outta rehab? Right.

Stephen:

And you know, he is doing one of those things where he's saying. Yeah, like he's gonna do his job, but he also is saying, you know, I don't think this is the best idea for you and there's even later on where he is like, no, I'm not giving you that. Yeah. Yet you're gonna have to find it

Steve:

somewhere else. Yeah. And that was very hard to watch when that happened. And later on in season one yeah,

Stephen:

that was one of those that,

Steve:

Watching her break down.

Stephen:

Yeah. That you don't like when people say cringeworthy, they kind of mean something else. Like, oh, it's embarrassing for them, but this I cringe from uncomfortableness. Like. That was the scene where I shouldn't be seeing this. This is, this is something personal, private, and personal

Steve:

for her. Yeah. And speaking of private and personal, we also get to see a little bit of what her home life is like with her mom and her sister, GIA, who are both still reeling from her recent relapse. And

Stephen:

her mom is absolutely doing the best that she can. And I'm just very impressed by the actress that plays her mother mm-hmm and. GIA does a really good job. And they both show cuz Nika king is playing Leslie Bennett. The mom and storm read is GIA Bennett, the sister. And Leslie really shows that over her arc too, of you're trying to protect this child that is going through so much and you don't want it to happen for them again, but she also has this other child that she has to protect. From this other child mm-hmm and then you have GIA who is seeing all this happen. Doesn't want that for her sister doesn't want it, that her mother has to deal with it. She doesn't want to have to deal with it, but nobody has control over. And it's a really interesting and feels very real family dynamic.

Steve:

Yes, certainly. I mean, Being that I'm able to relate so much with like Ruth struggles and feelings. I mean, especially during some of those like family blowouts, I mean, did, did it ever like cause PTSD or trigger you from some of our less desirable, happy moments in our

Stephen:

marriage? Oh, there were definitely things like where with Ruth's mom, I identify I'd with, and then also some of Ru's interactions with GIA where I was like, oh, I've been there too. Mm-hmm like this definitely. They resonated those two characters resonated with me a lot.

Steve:

Yes. Now this is the start of another downward spiral for a row, but we do see her repeating the process of getting clean and then going out a few times throughout the first two seasons. now I know while relapse hasn't been a part of my story yet, and I hope it won't. You know, I do understand that it is very possible from people in the rooms of my 12 step program. And I, I share lots of guests who do have it as part of their story. And I know that, you know, the important thing is to keep coming back. Right. But what was it like watching just Ruth struggles over the season and going through that cycle for you?

Stephen:

So, you know, part of it. I was able to differentiate and watch it as a show in some parts, because not everything is about that. You know, there's also an old queer man that likes to have extra marital affairs. And you know, but the watching the rude things, you know, it was. You know, I want you to hopefully, you know, stay sober and of course I'll be there for you if you do relapse. But it was, you know, kind of how I'm always rooting for you to succeed and things and try to be there for you. I wanted that for too. I was like, come on, you have these people that want the best for you. And even her sponsor, who is just a phenomenal actor who we actually know from fear of the walking dead. Yep. And his name is Coleman Domingo, and he is honestly one of the most interesting characters on the show for me. Mm-hmm and he always calls her on her crap and, you know, he gets, he can do that because. He's outside of the picture frame, you know, I always say it's easier to see the whole picture when you're not inside the frame and the like, and so he can do that and he's been through it all before and he's absolutely been through it before. And he's trying to make sure that Ru. Doesn't repeat his mistakes.

Steve:

Yes. Now in addition to Roe, another major character is Jules and her relationship with Roe is a pivotal part of the series, as it's strongly hinted at, in the pilot. What do you think of the character Jules and the relationship? I

Stephen:

really, really, really love the character of Jules. I love Jules storyline that you get to see develop over the course of the seasons and you get to see her backstory, her father, what she's gone through to get to where she is. And, you know, being a part of the queer community. I have a lot of respect for what our trans brothers and so are going through and I she's a lot stronger. Then a lot of people would be with what she's dealt with and it's because she has that supportive home life with her father mm-hmm in terms of she and Ru at first, it really does feel like because she's new. Yeah. That Ru gets a fresh start with her mm-hmm and that all of her baggage and, you know, the overdose and things like that. She gets a clean slate with this person, a real clean slate. And I think that's interesting to see that because that also gives us a chance to introduce the Ru that Ru wants to be to this new person. Yeah,

Steve:

I agree. I mean, I, I love the character of Jules and just how complex she is. And the relationship with Ru you know, you, as much as you see it coming, you don't always see where the twists and turns are gonna take you through their relationship. I also just heavily like resonated and love the depiction of just how positive they portrayed her, but life, many young, LGBT plus characters, both real and fictional. She has a complicated and somewhat unhealthy view of sex. As we see in the pilot where she, you know, meets basically off of a, a fake grinder, mm-hmm to you know, hook up with Kyle Jacobs, the much older man. I mean, can you relate to that when you were younger, having unhealthy views or situations.

Stephen:

And so, and that even goes into mental health issues and self-esteem that you can see. that some of the things she's doing are related to that where, you know, if someone's willing to have sex with you, that means they like you. And on some level you are validated and it's that validation of who she is, who she's becoming that she's trying to get through these grinder hookups and things. And I think any. Gay person. And probably anyone that went through their twenties can associate with trying to get validation and doing it

Steve:

through sex. Yeah. And in places where you have no right to be. Yeah. I know that as much as I kind of stayed safe through that scene in high school having, you know, come out, but pretty much like stayed only friends of friends. Then you know, the moment that I was in college, you know, I, I would go to hotel rooms. If people told me I was pretty and like sweet talked to me enough, and it certainly was a place that I had no right to be at that age being in situations like that. So I definitely related to like how realistic they, they portrayed that and the, they don't hold anything back on this show ever.

Stephen:

No. And that's one of those things. It was eye catching and you had to remind yourself, they're playing a teenager. They're playing an underage teenager, but they, the actors themselves are not underage teenagers. Yes.

Steve:

They are all of

Stephen:

legal age because they spoil little alert. Lots of nudity. Yes. And

Steve:

that brings us to, I mean, in the very premiere we see Cal Jacobs erect penis. Yeah. Which, I mean, I don't remember the last time if ever, that I've seen an erected penis in even an HBO show, but just any show

Stephen:

yeah. Outside of Porn porn. Yeah. Yeah. And you don't, and it's not, and you know, we know it was a prosthetic and things,

Steve:

but you see more penises in this than you typically see in a, a porn. Yeah.

Stephen:

Like, and and it's really interesting because if you even look at the number of penises versus breasts yeah. Like. I would even outweighed in number of penises. Yes. And like 10 to one,

Steve:

at least. Yeah. And I applaud it for that. I mean, yeah, that they, they don't hold anything back and, you know, male nudity is equal opportunity or, you know, if anything more likely to be portrayed than a female nudity is.

Stephen:

And the number of times that it's portrayed sexually male and female is probably equal. And, but there's a lot of times where the male nudity is just there.

Steve:

Yes. There's a scene in season two with Cal where we don't see a or it's probably a prosthetic as well, but a different kind of prosthetic and just a very nonsexual scene. Yes. Now, while Ru's addiction in her relationship with Jules are the crux of how the show were relates to the podcast. There certainly are other storylines going on. So we'll just give our quick hot takes on these other characters. Starting with Nate, your favorite. Oh

Stephen:

my gosh. It like, there is rarely a TV show or something where the villain is somebody that. I really hate, you know, I love gray area villains and I will root for a villain. Yeah. Nate Jacobs can fucking die.

Steve:

Yes, exactly. I, that was one thing. I was like, I keep on waiting for him to get what's coming to him and it's never good enough cuz he is the worst. Yeah. Meanwhile, we also have Maddie his on again, off again, girlfriend and bad girl. What do you think of her character as the first two seasons played out? She's

Stephen:

another one that got. more depth in season two and is somebody that I want to also potentially see more growth from her. Like the humanizing things with her were the little kid she was babysitting. Yeah. Like that helped to really humanize her character. So that was good. They don't. What's really interesting with this show is kind of like HBO's succession. They don't go out of their way to say these are the reasons you should like these characters. Yeah. Like we're not going to make the characters likable for your benefit. You need to see people in their raw and flawed form and you may end up liking them or not. Yep. They don't care.

Steve:

exactly now a character that I, I do like and goes on quite the arc through the first two seasons is cat. Yes. The, the friend who's struggling with body image issues while also simultaneously discovering her sexuality. And

Stephen:

I really, really liked cat season one. I wasn't as much of a fan, what they did with her in season two. Because everything that I felt that was mostly likable about her in season one, they started stripping away. In season two and just kind of making her VA it and hollow.

Steve:

Yes. But you could see like, but I think, and that was part of her journey and that the way that I left with season two, we might get a nice middle ground going forward. We can hope. And then there was also a smaller role in the pilot, but bigger as the show goes on, as Cass as the sexy girl with a bad reputation for being a slut.

Stephen:

Oh, and yeah, that is the one where Her mother played by Alana Ock from a lot of things, but like sister act two who the mother has a drinking problem. Yeah. I mean, we rarely have ever see her without alcohol on her hand. She needed to have a tighter reign on that child. Like if she had spent more time paying attention and. seeing what Casie was up to, instead of just assuming that she got a Nu another

Steve:

Lexi. Yeah, exactly. And I mean, I, I can see a lot of similarities with the way that Casie deals with sex, the same way that Jules does. Yeah. And that all you really need to do is just tell her that she's pretty. And because she doesn't know any better because she had that absentee father, because we learned later like drugs as a part of his story as well. Oh.

Stephen:

And that was like, and she. Was the child that had to deal most with his addiction.

Steve:

Yeah. And we just see how that's affected her. And just also just that, that double standard between men and women that unfortunately still exist today, where, you know, guys, if they have like their Dick pics, like exposed, you know, it's like good for you or whatever it happens. But forbid a girl has. Her picture is exposed and she's a slut or she's a whore. Right. And it's just not

Stephen:

okay. Exactly. And this show really goes out of the way because even in the first where you have the guy McKay that was interested in Cassie, there are like you need to is staying away from her. She's a whore where. It's never a talked about how many women McKay's potentially been with, just because they know how many people Cassie's been with. That means that she should be off limits or that she's less than. Yeah,

Steve:

which is unfortunate and gross. Meanwhile, we have Lexi who you mentioned you love is rumors. Ru's former best friend and Cassie's unnoticed sister. And she definitely gets a bigger part as we go into season two as well. But we do see her in the pilot providing room with the fake urine. Yeah. And you can just tell that there's like that certain level of her, there were, she's another person who wants the best out of Ru. Well,

Stephen:

and what I really identified with Lexi is that she. Is the overachieving child that is trying to get her accomplishments and her rising star to overshadow and hopefully erase any of the things that are wrong in their life and their family. That if she can be a strong enough student, if, and be a good enough actress in the plays and things that You know, her dad's thing, her mom's drinking, Cassie's sexualization. Like she can rise above all of that and she won't be defined by that. And I'm like, I see you Lexi. Yep.

Steve:

I do too. And with that, that's kind of a brief overview of. Our hard, hot, hot takes on those characters as well as the, the first episode. So if you liked what you heard and you're listening to it on a lifetime of happiness, but you also are living a sober lifestyle or sober curious, definitely you should go out over or to the gay feed which you can find everywhere. You're listening to podcasts. You can do that by searching gay a sobriety, and it should be the first thing that pops up. And you can also email me at gay, a podcast, gmail.com. While on

Stephen:

the other hand, if you were listening to this on gay, a and you're like, His husband is so charming. I wanna hear what else he has to say about things, or you just like movies and TV shows, and you want to geek out for a little bit, then look up a lifetime of happiness. As Steve said, we are also anywhere that you can find podcasts. You can find us on all the social media platform, whether that is Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or TikTok, happy life pod, and you can email us directly. At happy life, pod, gmail.com. And

Steve:

until next time, stay happy and stay sober.