Sunday, February 25, 2018

Now on Netflix: Everything Sucks!, Season 1 (2018)

Everything Sucks!, Season 1 (2018) - Created by Ben York Jones, Michael Mohan; Starring Jahi Di'Allo Winston, Peyton Kennedy, Patch Darragh, Claudine Mboligikpelani Nako, Quinn Liebling, Elijah Stevenson, Rio Mangini, Sydney Sweeney.

By Kenny Howell 

Netflix dives into nostalgia porn once again with this story about Boring, Oregon high school freshmen in 1996.

I was a high school freshman in 1994, so this is definitely my era and who the show is for, at least from a music standpoint. Creators Ben York Jones and Michael Mohan stay away from the really big songs of the time (except perhaps Oasis) and really bring back some of my formative years in music. Not that they were all good songs, but they were to me at the time, which is part of being a teenager. Having a mediocre to bad taste in music.

The nostalgia aspect comes on strong in the first episode, almost too much as the first 15 minutes is spent getting to know the characters but also trying to get as many 90s references and phrases as possible. It almost made me give up on the show until it got into the meat of the story, the relationship between the two main characters of the show, Luke and Kate (Jahi Di'Allo Winston an Peyton Kennedy). Luke is an eager freshman filmmaker and Kate is the slightly older object of his affection from the first day he sees her. They meet in AV class as she is running the camera for the school news show. Luke instantly falls for her, and the two strike up a friendship. However, Kate is trying to figure herself out, chief among those is that she believes she is a lesbian. Or maybe she knows she is but is scared of the ostracizing she would go through for being who she is. So when Luke puts together an elaborate film of music videos to ask her out, she says yes to cover it up. But also, she kind of likes him.

It is an interesting dynamic and both Winston and Kennedy are terrific in the roles. They stay the focus for the most part, but a later story of their parents dating is equally as touching thanks to another great turn, this time by Claudine Mboligikpelani Nako as Sherry, Luke's mother. Those parents are trying to figure it out as much as their kids are, so it is an interesting parallel between the four.

Those two stories are great, but everything around it can't quite match it. Whenever those characters aren't on screen the show loses a lot of steam, and the fact that this is seemingly low budget shows quite a bit. It is a still a solid show, especially if you are in it for the nostalgia aspect, but there could have been a few tweaks and maybe a slightly better actor here or there that really would have propelled it to being something much more.

The first season of Everything Sucks! is now on Netflix.

Rating: **1/2

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