Euphoria: Maude Apatow Pulls Back the Curtain on Lexi’s Explosive Play

Euphoria: Maude Apatow Pulls Back the Curtain on Lexi’s Explosive Play

This post contains spoilers for Euphoria. 

“Wait, is this fucking play about us?” With those seven words, any question about whether Lexi’s play would pull punches was gone. While the Euphoria teens could’ve used fair warning about the contents of Lexi’s blatantly autobiographical opus, Maude Apatow’s first taste of the material did come with a disclaimer.

“It’s very complicated sometimes [even] to watch,” Apatow tells Vanity Fair of Sunday’s multipronged episode, which blurs the lines between stage and reality. “So to read it, [creator Sam Levinson] wrote a note in the beginning of the script: ‘Sometimes you might get lost, but trust me, it’s all going to make sense.’”

The ambitious episode comes as another shock in a season that’s chock-full of them. Simply titled Our Life and billed by Lexi as *Stand By Me–*adjacent (“It’s about a group of girlfriends who sort of grow up and grow apart”), the play is both a reenactment of Lexi’s underexplored interior life and a scathing indictment of nearly every other character on the show. 

True to Euphoria’s own fantasia, it’s also a piece of theater that would never see the light of day at an actual high school, given its elaborate set design and revealing parallels to real student lives. “I like the idea of everyone trusting Lexi,” Apatow says with a laugh. “When she talks to the principal, he trusts her because she’s a good student; she’s never done anything to rock the boat. No one really paid attention, and then she just hit them with something that was crazy.”

Lexi’s used to being underestimated. This season’s third episode finally revealed her backstory, outside of being Cassie’s sister or Rue’s best friend. She’s described as a sidekick who is “sensitive [and] smarter” than those who emote main-character energy, but she’s always been cast aside. Still, Lexi’s an observant wallflower—just far enough removed from the bedlam to adapt it into art.  

By the time Lexi arrives at “fucking showtime, people” in episode seven, she’s shed much of her self-doubt. Apatow says her character’s high-stakes energy is “loosely inspired” by some of her own experiences, particularly as a producer of her high school’s senior sketch-comedy project. “I was a nightmare,” she admits. “I just, for some reason, channeled all of my nervous energy about graduating [into the show]. I wanted the show to be good so badly. And I became sort of a tyrant. [Sam and I] were laughing talking about that, and I think that’s what inspired this hardcore, tyrant side of Lexi.” 

Apatow says that, like she once was, Lexi is longing for a sense of direction. “In the show, everything in her life is out of control, and her sister’s falling apart and her mom and Rue. This is the only thing she can control, and she is putting everything into it.”

Though the episode is propelled by Lexi’s revelatory play, an ominous undercurrent courses underneath, thanks to a single empty chair. That seat was meant to be occupied by Fezco, the soft-hearted drug dealer whom Lexi has unexpectedly fallen for. Despite watching Fez suit up with a bouquet of roses en route to the play, he never arrives at the theater. Apatow won’t get into specifics about Fez’s absence (“I’m so worried I’m going to spoil it”), but confirms that Lexi’s “devastated” by it. 

“I don’t think she can even comprehend it, because they’ve had so many great conversations about [the play], and they speak right before and he says that he’s coming,” Apatow says. “So there’s a part of her [that] knows something must be wrong.” Still, Lexi “wants to enjoy her moment and knows that he would’ve wanted her to.”

Lingering shots of a vacant chair induce such stress because of the internet’s impassioned support for “Fexi,” the pairing of Apatow’s Lexi and Angus Cloud’s Fez. It’s a couple that few saw coming, but that’s stolen the hearts of Euphoria fans, largely because of their ability to have captivating chemistry on couches that look they’ve been around since the ‘70s. Apatow can take some credit for the onscreen romance, which was born out of her and Cloud’s own off-screen friendship.

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