Pop culture at a glance: Summer 2019






*By: Christina Morrison*

As of this summer, HBO has another hit on their hands with Euphoria. The gritty series follows a group of teenagers navigating their way through adolescence, plagued by issues like drugs, sexuality and self-image. The teenagers of Euphoria live in a fantasy world, painted in neons and blurs, and narrated by the main character, a cynical and unreliable recovering drug addict named Rue (Zendaya).

The show first found its way into the spotlight through the controversy surrounding it. Many claimed the subject matter was too sexual. The extreme amount of male nudity in the show made headlines. While many were disgusted at the show’s apparent attempts to “shock” viewers, others lauded the series as a much-needed shot back at the amount of female nudity in other HBO shows. For many fans, it was Euphoria’s aggressively unapologetic nature that made the show stick. Compared to other shows about the high school experience, Euphoria goes much deeper and darker — as a result, it’s been commended for its startling authenticity and relatability.

Stepping away from the subject matter, Euphoria managed to make waves in another area of popular culture as well: the beauty community. Makeup looks on the show step very far away from the typical “no-makeup” makeup look seen on television. The girls on Euphoria seem to find inspiration from editorial looks and festival makeup, with each having an iconic look to them that you may now wind up seeing around on the street. Many have been inspired by Rue’s ever-present glitter tears and Jules’ (Hunter Schafer) colour blocks and graphic eyeliner. The most notable has to be Maddy’s (Alexa Demie) constant inclusion of rhinestones and gems on her face, starting a trend that popped up once the series began to gain traction. Many makeup enthusiasts found that the unique looks the show has to offer gave them the inspiration to branch out, cementing Euphoria’s place as a memorable moment of summer 2019. 

Favourite Films of the Summer

Summer is always a big season for film, but a few limited releases wound up unexpectedly taking centre stage.

Last June, filmgoers were shaken to their core by horror drama Hereditary. As a directorial debut and independent feature, Hereditary wasn’t on anyone’s radar until buzz began to grow around it — it captivated critics and terrified audiences. Hereditary felt fresh among the usual Blumhouse crop of horror seen in theatres and everyone was eager to see what director Ari Aster would bring to the table next. He delivered, and quite quickly: his folk horror follow-up Midsommar came out in July to rave reviews once more. Rising star Florence Pugh shone as Dani, a troubled woman desperately clinging to her failing relationship after suffering a tragedy. Tagging along with a reluctant boyfriend and his friends, Dani soon finds herself in Sweden for a midsummer festival, where the locals subject them to horrifying traditions. The costumes, cinematography and often unsettling score combined to make this exploration of grief the perfect combination of beautiful and unnerving. The director’s cut — clocking in at 171 minutes, 24 more than the origina — will make its way to select Canadian theatres for the beginning of September.

On the opposite end of the genre spectrum, actress Olivia Wilde’s directorial debut Booksmart premiered at the end of May to critical acclaim. The coming-of-age comedy follows Amy (Kaitlyn Dever) and Molly (Beanie Feldstein), two straight A students who realize they missed out on partying in high school. Determined to prove to their fellow students that they’re capable of having fun, the two set out to cram a full four years worth of partying into their final night of being high school students. Many drew comparisons to Superbad, citing Dever and Feldstein’s chemistry and comedic timing, as well as the whip smart screenplay that shot out joke after joke. Wilde is on deck to direct both a psychological thriller and a holiday-comedy film next, and if Booksmart is anything to go off of, they’re worth looking out for.

*By: Emma Kirwin*

VSCO Girls

VSCO girls are ready to take out the hipster trend of plaid, dark jeans and unneeded beard oils and begin a new era of internet inspired fashion. Grab your Hydro Flasks for this one.

VSCO girls originated on the platform VSCO, a photo-sharing and editing app known for its focus on photography, not popularity or clout. However, VSCO girls became more viral through TikTok, as users jumped at the opportunity to make short, satirical videos about the hottest new internet trend. So what exactly is a VSCO girl?

The basics of a VSCO girl are a puka shell choker, multiple string friendship bracelets, scrunchies, chunky sneakers or crocs and an oversized tee-shirt. In addition to those basics, VSCO girls are usually in close proximity to a Jeep and must have a Hydro Flask water bottle to complete the look. VSCO girls usually say “sksksksk” and “I oop”  in reference to internet slang.

Will VSCO girls take out hipsters as the latest internet fashion trend? By the looks of it, they are well on their way to being the next fad we will look back on in a few years and leading us to seriously question our choices.

The Bachelorette

The Bachelor Nation had one of the most intense seasons yet. From an infamous windmill, to nude bungee jumping, to sandwich meat being tossed at contestants, season 15 of The Bachelorette was one to remember.

Hannah Brown refused to take any nonsense from the men, kicking off the season by expelling Scott before the first rose ceremony happened. Luke P. was the first contestant to admit to falling in love with Hannah, but quickly had most of Bachelor Nation questioning his flawed logic and manipulative tactics.

Mike and Pilot Pete stole the hearts of many and are possible contenders for the next season of The Bachelor. Jed seemed to be a safe choice for Hannah to wed despite the allegations of a secret girlfriend that surfaced towards the end of the season. Tyler, the model, dancer and contractor, appeared to be the obvious choice but was shut down at the final rose ceremony. After the season concluded, Jed and Hannah promptly broke up and Hannah asked Tyler to “go get a drink and hang out”.

Tyler had been seen with model Gigi Hadid on multiple occasions since the season aired, leading to speculation about the pair possibly dating, leaving Hannah single once again.

Top Songs of the Summer

The songs that dominated the Billboard Top 100 and radio stations all summer were filled with new and established artists and all types of different genres. “Señorita” by Shawn Mendes and Camila Cabello kicked off the summer with a steamy music video and catchy lyrics with a Spanish vibe. Spanish influence and lyrics made it into mainstream music again with “South of the Border” by Ed Sheeran featuring Cardi B and Camila Cabello.

“Old Town Road” by Lil Nas X featuring Billy Ray Cyrus held the number one spot on the charts for 19 weeks setting a new record and becoming an internet sensation. “Bad Guy” by Billie Elish was a unique spot holder, as her music is unlike any other chart-toppers. Lizzo’s “Truth Hurts” exploded this summer despite originally being released in 2017, becoming one of the anthems associated with female empowerment and being unapologetically yourself.

These bops will go down as the defining sounds of summer 2019.



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