HBO’s new show, Euphoria, doesn’t shy away from the nitty or the gritty. In Sunday night’s episode, Barbie Ferreira’s character, Kat, goes through a phase many of us have succumbed to: obsessing over fan fiction. The episode opens with Rue (Zendaya) narrating an animated fan-fiction scene where former One Direction member Harry Styles gives bandmate Louis Tomlinson a pre-concert blow job. You know, to help the nerves. Even though the band is long over, the new Euphoria scene has enraged some One Direction fans for bringing up their old dirt. Tomlinson went to Twitter Monday night to address their cries.
After being bombarded by fan tweets telling him to sue HBO, Louis Tomlinson replied that he “was not contacted” by the show and definitely doesn’t approve of it. Harry Styles has yet to comment. Stans of any kind have a tendency to overreact to a perceived slight against their celebrity, but One Direction fans’ rocky relationship with Larry shipping makes their response to Euphoria much more personal.
The Euphoria scene rehashed drama Directioners have been trying to bury away for years. Kat’s fan-fiction depicted an “unusually nervous” Louis before a concert. Harry knows exactly what will calm him down and gets on his knees to give Louis a blow job, not caring if anyone catches them. Even though the scene is completely animated, voiced by Zendaya doing goofy British accents, and shows no explicit sex act, One Direction fans are going postal. As the band’s international online bodyguards, they immediately entered attack mode.
For most of One Direction’s time together, it was less international pop stars and more five dudes having fun. Although it endeared fans to them, it also allowed fans to go way overboard with their affection. Enter, Larry Stylinson. Best friends Harry Styles and Louis Tomlinson (get it?) were subject to a lot of fan speculation that they were dating, in love, or secretly in love but being torn apart by their management. It started off as fan fiction, art, and “Imagine” tweets, but quickly became a darker side of the fandom. What happened on Wattpad did not stay on Wattpad. “Larry Stylinson” went from a plot device to a widespread conspiracy theory as One Direction grew more popular. Fans would overanalyze every single interaction between the two men. They called Louis’s longtime girlfriend a beard and the worst of the bunch would send threats. “It took away the vibe you get off anyone,” Louis told The Sun about how the conspiracy hurt his friendship with Harry. “It made everything, I think on both fences, a little bit more unapproachable.”
Even after the band broke up, fans speculated that Harry Styles’s solo song “Sweet Creature” was about his former bandmate. Although the strength of the conspiracy has died down since the dissolution, for many One Direction fans, the threat still looms. This time, it’s in the form of HBO writers. Barbie Ferreira, who plays the fictional fanfic’s author, told Refinery29 that the story is “cool because this is specific [to this generation].” Well, it worked. By bringing up Directioners’ dark past, Euphoria got what it wanted: spooked teens.