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The Daily Cardinal Est. 1892
Friday, February 03, 2023

Some saving graces keep ‘Everything Sucks!’ from entirely sucking

Despite its title, “Everything Sucks!” has some redeeming qualities. For fans of 90s music, LGBT representation and teenage angst, you’ve hit the jackpot, actually. The new Netflix series follows two teens, Luke and Kate, in their hometown of Boring, Oregon as they pursue their love of filmmaking while also trying to figure out their own budding sexualities.

The actors who play Luke and Kate (Jahi Di’Allo Winston and Peyton Kennedy) are the saving grace of the entire series. First of all, it was refreshing to see child actors playing characters their own age. In TV and film, we often get young adults who play preteens and teenagers, but show’s cast looks like genuine high schoolers — awkward and adorable. Secondly, both protagonists have so much charm, you can’t help but suffer through the poor writing and acting from the supporting cast just to keep watching these two shine: Their chemistry is sincere and very cute.

The other factor that keeps this show from being another teen comedy among the likes of “Freaks and Geeks” and “Degrassi” is Kate’s story arc. Budding female sexuality is a topic television likes to display, but we are often fed the same over-sexualized — and heterosexual — story over and over again.

We get to watch as Kate deals with the fact that she thinks she’s a lesbian who is in love with one of the most popular girls in school. The best part of it all? *SPOILER ALERT* It doesn’t end in tragedy or rejection. I also really love the way they show the journey Luke goes on as he deals with his own feelings for Kate, as he also wants to be a good best friend and support her as she figures out her own feelings. It’s messy, complicated and surprisingly mature for a comedy.

That’s about where the show’s greatness ends — besides a well-executed remake of the “Wonderwall” music video. The rest of the show’s cast is incredibly underdeveloped. The other high school kids feel like supporting characters swiped right out of a John Hughes movie: They’re two-dimensional and feel unnecessary half of the time.

To me, the weakest link of “Everything Sucks!” is its cast of adult actors. Luke’s mom and Kate’s dad have some of the cringiest scenes I’ve seen in a while, not to mention some pretty terrible acting. If the show is picked up for a second season, I wouldn’t be upset if they dropped these two characters altogether.

If you’re looking for a cute and quick show to watch in a single sitting — each of the season’s 10 episodes are 20 minutes long — it’s worth a look. “Everything Sucks!” takes some tropes and has fun with them for our protagonists, but that’s where the innovation stops. Luckily, Luke and Kate are strong enough characters to carry the rest of the show. If their charm isn’t enough for you, just sit back and enjoy all the 90s references as well as its really fun soundtrack.

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