How Did the 'Euphoria' Penis Parade Transform Male Body Expectations?
How many penises are too many? On HBO’s "Euphoria," there can never be enough.
What is the TV show "Euphoria" about?
The drama series starring former Disney Channel star (and genuinely astonishing Emmy-winning performer) Zendaya, which premiered in 2019, centers on teens struggling with addiction and the usual angst and drama of high school and college.
It soared to popularity in part by putting it all out there.
By the dozen.
What was the big dick scene in "Euphoria?"
The montage of male members in "Euphoria's" second episode, "Stuntin' Like My Daddy," became instantly famous—or infamous, depending on who you ask.
One critic wrote that the much-discussed scene of this episode, which included an unforgettable quick cut of flaccid penises in a locker room, was "pointlessly gratuitous" and "crude."
The initial fuss begs the question: How exactly can a flaccid penis be "crude"? "Euphoria" was making a point about dicks, and not just in its story—though the parade of dicks is critical to the show’s quarterback character Nate, who deals with intense shame over his own queer desire.
Why was the penis scene in "Euphoria" important?
"Euphoria" wants you to know that hanging dicks are normal, even when they don't look like yours. And the acceptance of the genitalia of roughly half the human population has been long overdue in mainstream pop culture.
This show just happened to gleefully leap on the opportunity.
An uneasy pact has long existed in Hollywood: You can get away with lingering on women's bodies, especially when a scene doesn't involve sex, and not overstep the MPAA's capricious rules (see: the R-rated 1981 hit "Porky's").
But keep the camera on bodies engaged in actual sex, and you’re doomed. Stanley Kubrick is no doubt rolling in his grave over the digital manipulation used to ensure a more commercially viable R-rating for "Eyes Wide Shut."
Just imagine all the dicks that could’ve been viewed throughout the infamous masked mansion orgy.
What are other movies or TV shows with full-frontal male nudity?
These days, "Euphoria" is not alone. Full-frontal male nudity in movies and TV is not only becoming more common but is often incorporated in casual ways that make it feel like the occasional penis is not such a big deal.
Lustful viewers might've fixated on Michael Fassbender's ample goods in "Shame" (and who can really blame them?), but that was one piece of a larger story about disordered sexuality.
Richard Gere was a nudity pioneer in 1980's "American Gigolo." Kevin Bacon ("Wild Things," "Hollow Man") and Ewan McGregor ("The Pillow Book," "Velvet Goldmine") have long been happy to show off what they're working with, usually in arty or smaller-scale releases.
Meanwhile, the always charming Chris Pine would love for you to get over the fact that he walks out of the sea with his wiener in full view in Netflix's "Outlaw King" in 2018.
These scenes are (mostly) not sexy, which is the whole point. The nudity isn't gratuitous, rather, it serves the larger storyline—even when the dick in question isn't real.
What's next for "Euphoria?"
In a pivotal, disturbing scene filmed for "Euphoria's" second season, Eric Dane wears a prosthetic while playing a troubled "daddy"-type figure having sex with young men and trans women.
The episode is set to air later this year. Though the scene involves full nudity, Dane was ready to bare it all for all the right reasons.
"I'm willing to do anything that's critical to the story and crucial to creating a very real and truthful feel to how the story is gonna go down," Dane told Entertainment Weekly. "I just don’t see how you shoot a scene like that without showing nudity. And, you know, it kind of matches the stakes. The stakes are so high, you can't hold anything back, really."
The stakes may be high, but viewers are finally starting to get it. "Euphoria's" season one finale earned the show its highest ratings yet. Turns out people don't mind dicks.