A young psychopath and a rebel go on a wild journey through England.
James (Alex Lawther) is 17 and believes that he is a psychopath. He claims that he has no emotions or feelings and he kills animals for a hobby. Alyssa (Jessica Barden) is 17 and hates her current family life. Her mother (Christine Bottomley) and father (Steve Oram) split up when she was little and her mother married Tony (Navin Chowdrey), who wants to molest her now that she’s past puberty. James decides he wants to kill Alyssa, so he asks her out. Before he can kill her, however, she suggests they just take off together on the road. Looking for a better opportunity to kill her, he agrees, but the two end up starting to develop real feelings while caught up in an increasingly insane road trip. In the second season, the two are hunted by Bonnie (Naomi Ackie), an insane fan of a writer (Jonathan Aris) of whom the pair ran afoul.
I thought I reviewed this a while back, but it turns out that I had not, and this is a solid show that needs to be seen.
Similar to I Am Not Okay With This, this was originally a graphic novel by Charles Forsman that was brought to the small streaming screen by Jonathan Entwhistle. Unlike that series, however, this one was written solely by Charlotte “Charlie” Covell, which gives it a more consistent tone and feel. Not that I Am Not Okay With This wasn’t good, I enjoyed it, but the regularity in this show allows it to quickly dive deeper into the characters and more deeply explore them without worrying about what other authors might want to try with their episodes. Since this show is a dark romantic comedy, it really needs that extra depth in order to get us to relate to the very eccentric and off-putting characters, which it does amazingly well.
While the dialogue and pacing of the show is great, the main reason it works is that the two leads are both fantastic. Alex Lawther manages to portray a psychopath who is learning to be, essentially, less of a psychopath as the series moves forward, but still has to make himself appear relatable and humorous while doing so. Jessica Barden portrays a character who frequently harms everyone around her with her own selfishness, but she still comes off as sympathetic and even likable at times. The supporting characters, likewise, manage to be more complex than would normally be possible in limited screen time through a combination of quality writing and polished portrayals.
The one thing that stuck out to me, though, was the high number of people willing to commit sexual assault on this show. It seems like almost half of the characters portrayed in the series are some kind of rapist. The rest are seemingly prone to violence of other sorts. I don’t know if that’s based on the comic series or if that’s a reflection of the adaptation process or some combination thereof. I can’t really be sure, but I feel like it might be a part of trying to give a portrayal of how the world seems to vulnerable young women like Alyssa, where everyone is potentially a threat. If so, it works well.
Overall, I enjoyed the show. It’s only 16 episodes and there are no plans to make more, so it doesn’t take too long to watch and it definitely has a unique feel.
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