Monday, February 19, 2018

Pilot Review: Everything Sucks

Everything Sucks! (Netflix)
Premiered February 16

What the TV landscape surely needs now is another dramedy about high school misfits. I think there are few people, especially television characters, who would describe their high school years as a pleasant time, and therefore the question of why this show was made in the first place seems very relevant. Its 1990s setting doesn’t distinguish it nearly as much as the 1980s backdrop of “Stranger Things” does, and as a result it’s just another lackluster visit to an educational experience that many find miserable. I guess this is supposed to be like a new version of “Freaks and Geeks” where even the principal isn’t cool since his summer girlfriend and colleague felt the need to cruelly tell him that she didn’t find him physically attractive at all. His daughter is a moderately more interesting character, one who made friends with Luke and then stole a Maxim magazine from him, which made her start thinking that she’s attracted to women, which should make Luke’s romantic pursuit of her complicated. The drama audition scene was a little much, indicative of how this show seems to either underdraw its characters or overcompensate with others by having them be very over-the-top. Having its lead comment on how visitors come to Boring, Oregon just to take a picture with the sign and not even bother coming in doesn’t exactly recommend their environment, and I found little else of note on this unmemorable and pretty forgettable half-hour comedy that hardly represents the best of what Netflix has to offer programmatically.

How will it work as a series? Luke and Kate are friends but there’s more than either of them know involved in that dynamic, and they both have single parents who don’t exactly have wide social circles. The A/V club and the play are likely to be productive settings for antics that will help these characters discover who they are.
How long will it last? It’s Netflix, so ratings data is not transparent and sometimes not even relevant. The reviews for this one are mixed but generally a bit more favorable than mine, and the fact that people are comparing it, whether or not it’s in a positive way, to “Stranger Things” is likely to help rather than hurt its chances. I don’t know if a second season is likely but I certainly think it’s possible.

Pilot grade: C+

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