veryone remembers what it was like to be in high school, navigating their way into the world; a juggling act of self-discovery, friendship and family drama, and falling in and out of love for the first time. Going through it first hand was mortifying, but Netflix reminds its audience humorously about coming-of-age with its newest binge-worthy show, “Everything Sucks!”
Released on Feb. 16, a group of Boring High School students in Boring, Oregon reveal the embarrassing phases that accompany their age. Set in 1996, Luke O’Neil (Jahi Winston) and his two best friends, McQuaid (Rio Mangini) and Tyler, (Quinn Liebling), decide to join the school’s Audio and Visual Club. As misfit freshman, they do their best to find a place where they fit in.
After a false fire alarm pits the A/V Club and Drama Club together, Kate Messner (Peyton Kennedy) and the boys have to work alongside the drama students. This includes the obnoxious Emaline (Sydney Sweeney) and Oliver (Elijah Stevenson).
These characters make their audience laugh and squirm with the memories of going through the peril that was high school. From Emaline bullying her younger peer Kate, to everyone falling in love with the wrong person, “Everything Sucks!” does not miss a beat of growing up.
The show does not just replay the superficial memories of high school, but chooses to tackle bigger, underlying topics as the plot thickens. Self discovery was a challenge for everyone, but “Everything Sucks!” shows the especially difficult path for Kate as she tries to figure out, and desperately hide, her sexuality. The show does not shy away from dysfunctional families, either, as it includes one student’s beer-can-filled home, and frequently discussed “deadbeat dad.” Lastly, this show briefly talks about mental health, and the need some feel to hide it.
It doesn’t just relate to its audience by letting them watch and relive familiar growing pains, but tries to really connect to its audience that would have been the same age as these students in 1996. While the show mainly follows its younger cast awkwardly moving through high school, it also follows Kate’s dad, Principal Ken Messner, (Patch Darragh), and Luke’s mom, Sherry O’Neil( Claudine Mboligikpelani Nako).
Ken and Sherry are older but still relatable characters, working their nine-to-fives, raising children, and still trying to navigate their lives. They’re in their mid-30s, but that does not stop them from having awkward flings that don’t work out, or getting into other adult troubles. These characters offer relatability in different ways by representing two polar opposites; Ken remembering his high school days as calm while Sherry was wild. From dial-up internet and cords on phones to mood rings and colorful pattern-filled clothes, “Everything Sucks!” screams 1996. The wardrobes, teenage jargon and soundtracks are nostalgic, with everybody’s once favorite colorful windbreakers, words like “coolio,” and bands like Oasis coming back into play.
Whether it’s the soundtrack, style, slang or identifying with these characters that draws you in, this 90s nostalgic coming-of-age dramedy will not disappoint. Hopefully, there will be a season two coming to life soon, but there has been no word on such plans yet.