'Euphoria' Is Based On An Israeli Show From 2012: The Main Differences
Euphoria's season two finale aired only a few days ago, and fans are already going through withdrawal symptoms and wondering how the hell they'll make it to their next fix in 2024. Some might even resort to using other seedy teenage dramas as cheap substitutes, like Riverdale. The good news is that there's an official Euphoria season out there they probably haven't watched yet: the original series that aired in Israel between 2012 and 2013. But, before you go sign up for Hebrew lessons just to watch that series, be advised that it differs from the HBO version in some pretty big ways ...
The Characters Are Almost Completely Different
Israel's Euphoria follows a group of '90s kids (as in, they were born in the '90s, not that the show is set on that decade, despite what Wikipedia claims) who are frequently horny and/or high. So far, they sound a whole lot like their HBO counterparts, but only a couple of them are direct analogs. There's Hofit, who has a lot in common with Rue, in that both are addicted to drugs, struggle with mental health issues, and are played by former teen pop stars (Israel's Roni Dalumi and the Disney Channel's very own Zendaya).
There's also Noy, an overweight girl who becomes an online porn queen to gain more confidence, much like Kat. Another character, Deker, a.k.a. Tzehubon, has been compared to chill drug dealer Fezco from the American version, but Deker has a way more bizarre storyline: he starts as a nerd with a crush on Hofit/Rue who begins experimenting with home-made drugs to study their effects and is obsessed with changing his brain's chemistry to lose his ability to feel fear. Eventually, his uncle helps him undergo an operation to remove part of his brain and, instead of dying, he becomes fearless.
It Revolves Around A Real-Life Murder
The show starts with two teens wandering around South America looking for a place called "Mirando el Cielo," where one of their mothers supposedly is. It later turns out that one of those kids, Raanan, is dead, and the other one, Kino, is imagining the whole thing due to the trauma of losing his friend. Raanan, we find out, was killed by Hofit's ex-boyfriend just for talking to her at a party -- which is based on the real-life murder of a teen called Ra'anan Levy in 2004. Incidentally, the guilt of unwittingly causing a murder is what causes Hofit to bury herself in drugs and self-pity.
Kino serves as a narrator for the show, and the fact that his friend is later revealed to be dead was somehow reported as "Rue's character was dead all along in the original Euphoria" by some US outlets. No, she doesn't die in the series, but ...
It Gets Even Darker Than The Season 2 Finale
In the final episodes of the show:
-- Hofit/Rue's ex-boyfriend is killed on a livestream by a young kid he used to bully (who is similar to Fez's little brother Ashtray)
-- Noy/Kat's newfound confidence leads her to have lots of unprotected sex and contract HIV
-- The fearless Deker gets angry at Hofit for not returning his affections and straight-up rapes her.
– Hofit herself burns Kino's apartment with him inside (he escapes).
So, everyone's an even bigger asshole. We're gonna go ahead and say it's for the best that HBO didn't feel the need to follow the original so faithfully.
Top image: HOT, HBO