HBO’s ‘Euphoria’ Failed Maddy Perez & Kat Hernandez in Season 2

Lead Photo: Credit: HBO
Credit: HBO
Read more

Throughout Euphoria’s second season, it quickly became apparent that there was not enough screen time to give all the characters the storylines they deserved. And, unfortunately, two of the characters that suffered because of this were the Latine leads, Maddy Perez and Kat Hernandez.

While packed with drama, Euphoria’s second season lacked its best element: focus on the array of characters we all love. Because the matter of the fact is that if characters continue to be absent the way that Kat was, for example, viewers notice. And it damages the relationship between viewer and show because we’re left wondering why she’s not involved and not receiving the same attention as Cassie or even Elliot does. And of course, I also have to talk about the abysmal execution of Maddy’s story.

To further understand our frustration with the lack of development or just appearances of these Latine characters, I first have to start with Kat, played by Barbie Ferreira. The character of Kat had one scene the entire season of Euphoria that stood out, which was her big love yourself scene. 

This scene could have presented an interesting arc for the character, but instead, her storyline focused on how she hated her current relationship and did not want to be with her boyfriend, Ethan. How did they show this? They didn’t. They showed some small in-between scenes, but no real content until Kat tries to break up with Ethan using a terminal brain disorder. Otherwise, the character’s only purpose of the season was to hold Maddy back from going after Cassie.

While I absolutely loved the ‘love yourself’ scene and what it says about our society, I also think it’s important not to just simply give the only plus-size character an arc about weight or body image. Kat deserved to have moments where her complexity was given the full scale that others have had and which makes them such interesting characters to watch on Euphoria

Then there’s Maddy, who’s played by Alexa Demie.

The character had an extremely toxic relationship with Nate in the first season, but the couple broke up in time for the second season. And instead of allowing Maddy to focus on recovering from all the trauma of their relationship, her storyline revolved around her best friend, Cassie, hooking up with her ex-boyfriend. It shouldn’t have surprised anyone considering this is an extremely popular teen drama trope. But it’s still frustrating, especially for female viewers who are sick of watching the same tired and recycled love triangle storyline where two girls fight over a guy. 

Ultimately, the perfect way to give both Maddy and Kat more screen time would have been by allowing the two characters to discuss everything they’ve been dealing with, be it about their lives or relationship-wise. It would’ve allowed us to see their perspective on everything while keeping the storylines from the season flowing smoothly and in a more integrated manner. Additionally, I think Maddy could benefit from a healthy romantic relationship and Kat from finding a hobby that speaks to her in the same vein as Lexi did with her play.

Euphoria definitely thrives when it comes to giving these characters trauma, but they’re more than that. So, just as we saw the hopeful glimpse of Rue staying clean, I want to see Maddy and Kat have their time in the spotlight to grow and become even more fully-fledged characters that people connect with and see themselves in.