Everything Sucks! is a Netflix Original coming of age story set in real life Boring, Oregon in 1996. After members of the audio/visual club destroy the drama club equipment, they are forced into making a movie for them to keep the peace between the two clubs. This setup is joined by the usual tropes that come with a high school setting.
I had high hopes for this series after recent teen hits like 13 Reasons Why, American Vandal, and my guilty pleasure: Degrassi: Next Generation. However, Everything Sucks! fails to hit the highs these shows manage to produce. This doesn’t mean the show isn’t entertaining, but with so many Netflix Original series it has to do more to avoid getting lost in the crowd. Furthermore, most of the drama actually comes from the two leads: Jahi Di’Allo Winston as Luke O’Neil and Peyton Kennedy as Kate Messner. These characters cause more problems than actual solutions. If it wasn’t for the episodes being roughly twenty-two minutes each, and there only being ten of them, I would have probably had a more negative viewpoint.
The show manages to use its 90s setting in a useful way, which blends perfectly with the story, instead of feeling like a nostalgia grab to an older audience. Don’t get me wrong: the show is filled with 90s references and songs that will take you back, but Everything Sucks! is more than that. The issues present transcend just a decade and are relevant in even today’s time. Sexuality, high school awkwardness, and single parenthood might not be original topics, but the setting and characters make it worth going through one more time.
One of my favorite parts about the show is that it embraces the awkwardness and hormonal mood swings we associate with high school and makes them relatable. Everyone had their heart broken, everyone had that one person they idolized or crushed, and those are representative of what this show is about. The time in your life when you thought you were the only person going through problems.
My favorite character happens to be the most nuanced character in the show, and whom I jokingly refer to as the protagonist of the show: Patch Darragh as Ken Messner, the principal, and Kate’s dad. I will you let you find out why Ken is a character to root for, but warning: his plotline tugs at your heartstrings.
Of course, you probably saw this statement coming a mile away, but Everything Sucks! ironically doesn’t suck. Go figure. Yes, it is more average than stellar for a Netflix Original series, but it has its merits. The best moments are spread far apart, but there is enough in the season finale to make you interested in the upcoming season two. The unique 90s backdrop and the chance to see not only characters but actors grow as the seasons continue should be enough to keep you invested.
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