Cate Roser

If you live in the technological age you are aware of two very important people: Zendaya and Hillary Duff. At the beginning of 2022, both these objectively iconic women of our generation either premiered or returned to their highly anticipated series, the second season of “Euphoria” and the sitcom “How I Met Your Father” respectively.

I have to be honest. I am an incredibly big fan of “Euphoria.” When I watched the pilot episode back in 2019, I was immediately impressed by the performances, music, cinematography and narrative all somehow wrapped up neatly in a neon blue bow. The series follows the drug-addicted protagonist, Rue, as she and her peers navigate the dark world the show presents. The intensity of the series and its boldness caught audiences’ attention in what seemed to be the climax of entertainment before everything went downhill at the start of the pandemic. The series was so highly anticipated that it had to be pushed back even further and with that, many changes were made.

“Euphoria” has a heavy burden to carry seeing as season one was such a commercial hit. Zendaya won an Emmy, Leonardo DiCaprio gave it a shout-out, its music began to trend even more and HBO had become an even larger streaming giant than it already was with the introduction of its new platform: HBO Max. The question is whether or not its second season was able to live up to expectations. As much as it pains me to say it, I must admit the second season has lost something that made the first season so special. The first season was one of the most masterful presentations of world-building that I had ever seen in a drama series. From the composed music for each individual character, background introductions and actors’ involvement in building their characters, the series had successfully presented people with beauty and pain in a world that is controlled by technology and media.

This is not to say under any circumstances that the series has not maintained and even improved on many of its elements in the first season. One of the elements that have improved even though I did not believe it to be possible is the cinematography. The way in which the director of photography has taken great liberty to emphasize the characters’ tumultuous emotions visually has been nothing less than amazing. In the second season’s premiere, there was one shot in particular that spotlighted each character from the entire cast in quick succession. The fact that the show has somehow been given the budget to shoot the entire season on discontinued — and I emphasize discontinued — Kodak film is frankly astounding.

The last prop that I will give to the series is its incredible commitment to narrative pacing. Regardless of whether you are a fan of a certain character or storyline, the show almost effortlessly weaves in and out of the characters’ lives just as quickly as they experience the plot. It’s an incredible feat to accomplish seeing how much talent there is on set — because I know you have seen the amazing “you better be joking” line delivery by Alexa Demie.

This season feels as if the fun and exciting high of the party has faded, and we as the audience along with the characters are forced to shuffle through the damage that has been done as a consequence. And when I think about it, there was really no other direction in which “Euphoria” could have gone. There was no way it could ever replicate the effect it had in the first season. Some things just cannot be repeated.

Speaking of things that cannot be repeated, the series “How I Met Your Father,” a spinoff of the 2005 sitcom “How I Met Your Mother,” has also been a talking piece in the grand scheme of series being streamed in 2022. I must preface that I never finished “How I Met Your Mother.” If you are a HIMYM superfan, I apologize and please do not email me about it — I’m not that sorry though. I know who the mother is, and I don’t agree with it — I couldn’t commit to watching almost 10 years of television for that ending. I’m sorry. But I did enjoy the fleeting time during which I watched it ,and it was an incredibly unique sitcom for its time. That’s why I have such complicated feelings about “How I Met Your Father.”

The spinoff uses the exact same framework as “How I Met Your Mother” where an older version of the protagonist, Sophie, is FaceTiming rather than telling in person — because if we have not learned what television has been saying for the past decade, it is that the most unifying element about this generation is technology — her son about the day she met his father. Unfortunately, this framework just doesn’t fit the modern lens it is set in. It is almost — and I hate this word — corny. But that is not really at the fault of the show. It is almost impossible to have lived up to the quality of a show’s framework that depended on a man dating many different women that he meets in person because that was the way in which people met. The difference between Sophie’s narrative voice talking about Tinder and Ted’s narrative voice talking about meeting a woman at a bar is just too polarizing for original fans of HIMYM.

That being said, I watch the show every week because although the odds are stacked against it, it is good. The character dynamics and chemistry are actually tremendously amusing to watch — and dare I say it — better than the original cast’s chemistry from the beginning of its run. The character of a hopeless romantic seems even rarer in a culture that is used to ghosting and failed interactions on dating apps which makes for an interesting character to watch. It has a set of diversely comical situations and backgrounds for all the characters living in New York, and rather than depending on characters to have their lives professionally figured out like they were in “How I Met Your Mother,” the audience can watch a cast of people that are truly likable from all different walks of life figuring it out which, in my opinion, echoes what this generation’s audience truly want to see.

In all honesty, both of these series have predecessors that are too influential to escape. But in all their faults and minor shortcomings, they have produced incredibly consumable content. And what are we without good content to collectively talk about at length every week?

“Euphoria” airs on Sundays at 9 p.m. EST on HBO Max and “How I Met Your Father” airs on Tuesdays on Hulu.

Christion Zappley |

Christion Zappley currently serves as the Co-Editor for the Podcast Desk. He was previously a lead producer for the "Full Disclosure" series and created and ran "The Rundown." Originally from Charlotte, North Carolina, Christion is a Davenport College junior double majoring in English and Comparative Literature with a Film Focus.