Netflix's new coming-of-age series Everything Sucks! will be available for streaming worldwide on Friday, February 16. If you are considering a new addition to your binge-watch bucket list, allow us to help you decide if it's a definite yes, maybe when I am done watching everything else, or a f**k no.
Boxy white computers, the suspense of watching websites load with dial-up internet and a passionate debate about the lyrics of Alanis Morissette's 1995 song Ironic invite viewers to the boring lives of a select few teenagers living in Boring, Oregon in the 1990s. Much like most other coming-of-age films, we see the story through the eyes of three geeky boys, who are finding their place in the big bad world of high school, with only their AV club acting as the saving grace.
Freaks and Geeks had done it in a satirical way, while Netflix's own Stranger Things is doing the same, with monsters, alternate dimensions and government conspiracies in the mix. However, what sets this heartwarming creation of Ben York Jones and Michael Mohan apart from others of its kind is this: It is not a story of redemption or comeuppance or romance or even teenage angst. It wraps up everything that was good about the '90s with a blanket of millennial acceptance, tolerance and worldview.
The very premise of Everything Sucks! is boy meets girl and predictably boy falls for the girl. Girl falls for the other girl. The other girl is in love with the other boy, who is — very much — in love with himself. Meanwhile, the boy's best friend is also in love with the other girl. I promise you it is a lot less confusing and a lot more charming on the show.
The point being, the name speaks volumes about the show: teenagers hyperbolize the minutest problems and worry that it may mark the end of them — Everything Sucks! The mother of all problems being, my crush doesn't like me back. The nuances of one of the couples being homosexual and the pressure of having to stay inside the closet in a small town during the 1990s, also add to the drama.
What comedy was for the geeks of Freaks and Geeks and Dungeons & Dragons is for the kids of Stranger Things, the AV Club is to this group of friends. Protagonist Luke O’Neil's (Jahi Winston) love for moviemaking allows his friends the opportunity to step out of their comfort zones, come face-to-face with their fears, make mistakes, forgive each other and themselves and, all-in-all, make everything suck a little less.
Despite its nice liberal packaging, Everything Sucks! does suffer from an acute case of stereotyping its supporting cast. The generic representation of geekiest geek McQuaid (Rio Mangini), dyslexic simpleton Tyler (Quinn Liebling), weird lovelorn girl Leslie (Abi Brittle) and narcissistic actor Oliver (Elijah Stevenson) ironically stand out as plain next to the carefully crafted nuances of Luke and Kate Messner (Peyton Kennedy).
The seemingly sexually liberated Emaline (Sydney Sweeney), on the other hand, tries to be too many things at once. She is the mean girl who becomes the abandoned lover who turns into a vulnerable and patient girlfriend, all in the span of 10 episodes. Funnily enough, Sydney's is the performance to watch out for in this series.
Ultimately, you have to be willing to forgive these holes in the narrative, because at the heart of Everything Sucks! is friendship, self-love, ambition and forgiveness. And it has left at least this writer with the desire for another season.
Why Everything Sucks! is a must-watch
Concise and fast-paced: With just 10 episodes that are all approximately 30 minutes long, Everything Sucks! fulfills every binge-watcher's dream.
The background scores: Watch out for all your favorite 90s' songs and make you go "I remember that".
The child actors: Each of these young stars has delivered a brilliant performance and the show is worth watching if only to be able to say "I have been following their career since Day 1," in another couple of years.
The heartwarming story: Ultimately Everything Sucks! is a story of a bunch of teenagers who have difficulty coping with their lives, and if you ever were one, you will relate to it.
You can watch the trailer for Everything Sucks! here:
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