Monkeys Fighting Robots

Everything Sucks! is to the 90s what Freaks and Geeks was the early 80s, presenting a slice-of-life high school story with nerds, young love, and a steady stream of references to the pop culture mainstays of the day. After those surface-level similarities, Everything Sucks! takes things on in its own way. It’s part sit-com, part-drama featuring a strong cast, solid writing, and a helluva lot of 90s songs. But does everything suck, is it any good, or is it just … whatever.

As good mid-90s kids, the trio loves making movies
and joins the AV Club in their freshman year.

Everything Sucks! starts us off by introducing Luke O’Neil (Jahi Winston), and his two dork friends McQuaid (Rio Mangini) and Tyler (Quinn Liebling). The three kids go to the fictional Boring High School in the real-life town of Boring, Oregon. As good mid-90s kids, the trio loves making movies and joins the AV Club in their freshman year.

Luke instantly falls for tall, lanky, and pretty Kate Messner (Peyton Kennedy), a fellow member of the AV Club. Luke’s starry eyes make no mistake that he’s entirely into Kate. However, the young woman is distant and doesn’t return the loving glances with Luke. She likes him, as a friend, but Kate has something more profound going on that she has to figure out.

In contrast to Luke, his friends, and Kate, is the Theatre Club, a group of older, “cool” kids. The young thespians don’t like AV. One, in particular, Emaline Addario (Sydney Sweeney), loves to start trouble.

In parallel to all the kids is the story of Ken Messner (Patch Darragh), Kate’s father and the principal of Boring High School. Ken is falling for Sherry O’Neil (Claudine Nako), Luke’s mom. Both single parents have a mutual connection, unlike their kids.

The nostalgia addicted viewers of today will
undoubtedly love the soundtrack.

Overall, the story of love and friendship at the heart of Everything Sucks! is nothing really new. However, as they say, it’s not about the idea, it’s the execution. Everything Sucks! certainly has fun with its characters, setting up and undercutting tropes time and again. Subtle winks and nods to movies of the time slip in and out of the show as well.

The nostalgia addicted viewers of today will undoubtedly love the soundtrack. Everything Sucks! curated some of the classics of the era. Hit songs from Offspring, Tori Amos, Weezer, Crystal Waters, Oasis, and so many more carry scenes along.

In a word, Everything Sucks! is sweet.

Unlike many Netflix shows which seem to go on an episode or two or three too long, Everything Sucks! suffers from a lack of episodes. The show maintains a very superficial approach to things most of the time. Story points, like one kid running away to become an actor, that would normally produce a lot more drama in other shows are just kind of glossed over. It might sound like a critique, but it’s not. I knows exactly what kind of show it wants to be and sticks to it.

The real charm of the show, much like Stranger Things, is the cast which nails every character they play. Emotional scenes resonate beautifully through the performances. And while the story doesn’t delve too deep into things, it does enough to make the drama play out as intended. It might even cause a tear or two to drop.

In a word, Everything Sucks! is sweet; like saccharine at times. It’s the anti-13 Reasons Why. It touches on some heavier subjects like young sexuality, but with light fingers, never letting it bog down the light nature of the narrative. Everything Sucks! Doesn’t suck at all, it’s a family-friendly (albeit, plenty emotional) ride through the decade of whatever.