On the most recent episode of HBO’s Euphoria, which features the dark and sexy stories of various troubled teens, Zendaya’s Rue told the tale of a classmate who is a master of erotic fanfic—specifically one story she wrote about “Larry Stylinson,” the ‘shipping name used for One Direction members Louis Tomlinson and Harry Styles. As Rue explains the story, the fan-fiction comes to life in an animated sequence that seems straight out of a romance anime. In the story-within-a-story, cartoon Louis Tomlinson is anxious about going onstage for the first night of One Direction’s big tour, but luckily his good friend Harry Styles is there to… ahem… relieve the stress. Here, why don’t you just watch it:
As picked up by Stereogum, One Direction fans on social media are weirdly appalled by the sequence, possibly because they didn’t think the real Tomlinson would be particularly happy about it, and it seems like they were right. In response to a fan wondering if HBO had gotten some kind of approval for the sequence, Tomlinson responded: “I can categorically say that I was not contacted nor did I approve it.” That’s a pretty clear-cut response, and you just have to check the replies to that tweet to see that One Direction fans are now demanding apologies and calling for HBO to cut the scene out of the show.
But, no matter how unhappy Tomlinson may be about this cartoon where his One Direction friend graciously helps him out before a concert, it’s pretty clearly meant as a parody. Nobody watching the scene is going to think it’s real, since it is a cartoon, and even then it’s explicitly positioned as a work of fan-fiction within a work that is itself fiction.