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Before ‘Euphoria’: Triggering Moments in American Television History

Ten moments that made history on TV by changing the tone of conversation on controversial subjects.

Euphoria HBO Hunter Schafer Zendaya

Hunter Schafer and Zendaya in “Euphoria”

Eddy Chen/HBO

Former Disney actress Zendaya’s new ensemble young adult-centric HBO series, “Euphoria,” premiered on Sunday night with a jolt, stirring audiences with its uncompromising depictions of seemingly taboo subjects, including drugs, sex, alcoholism and trauma. Based on an Israeli series of the same name, and executive produced by rapper Drake, it follows a group of high school students as they navigate love and friendships in the present day social media-obsessed environment. Aware of the controversy that the series (which contains equal amounts of female and male nudity) might draw, Zendaya, 22, took to Instagram to issue a warning to her young fans ahead of the show’s premiere, cautioning that some scenes “can be triggering.” Ahead of Sunday night’s broadcast of the series’ second episode, which promises even more conversation starters, following are 10 history-making moments that were likely just as “triggering” (for their time) and inspired many conversations; most of them happening before Zendaya was born.

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