‘Everything Sucks!’ makes the top of the class, mostly

Everything Sucks!, Netflix’s new teenage coming-of-age dramady has its own growing pains that it goes through in its first season, but that shouldn’t stop you from devouring it immediately.

The overarching plot isn’t my favorite, but the subtle parts are better than the sum. It all starts with Kate’s sexual awakening.

Kate is a sophomore played by an actual 14-year-old. There is no Riverdale-ing here where a 25-year-old buff hunk is playing a nerdy sophomore. Peyton Kennedy has surprisingly been in a lot despite her age and has already won numerous Young Artists Awards. Her earnest portrayal stands out among the crowd. She revels in uncertainty about her decisions and her awkwardness doesn’t feel forced. Kennedy could have stood out among the cast of Freaks and Geeks and just look at the who’s who in those credits.

From the outset, she is confident in her sexuality, but outside forces continually push her to not allow her true self to shine. It’s the resident head bitch in charge Emaline (Sydney Sweetney) that allows her to blossom.

Meanwhile, Luke (Jahi Di’Allo Winston) is supposed to be the emotional pulse of the show – after all, he is the avatar we follow the majority of the plot through, and Winston does a terrific job portraying him. His subplot trying to learn more about his father was a nice thread we followed with plenty more story to drive the characters and their decisions in the upcoming season.

Perhaps my favorite C-plot throughout the season was Tyler (Quinn Liebling)’s battle with dyslexia and desire to fit in. His friendship with Oliver (Elijah Stevenson) is heartwarming. It reminds me of Steve/Dylan in season 2. Tyler’s scholarly battles deserve more spotlight. He is supposed to feel like the doofus, but it felt he had more heart that Luke or McQuaid (Rio Mangini). Perhaps McQuaid is being set up for more if there is a second season. The show definitely needs to round out the rest of its teen characters.

It would be silly to not give a shoutout to Patch Darragh playing Principal Ken Messner – Kate’s father. His emotional journey is as wholly believable but never crosses over to being overly melodramatic.

Overall, this is an easy show to love even if there are some off moments. Netflix, and the rest of television needs to continue to look for these smaller stories out there instead of grandiose murder mysteries that all hit the same beats.

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