Netflix Review – The End of the F***ing World: It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad Love

A young psychopath and a rebel go on a wild journey through England.

SUMMARY (Spoiler-Free)

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.

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A Skateboard? But it’s not the 90s!

END SUMMARY

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.

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I mean, this guy is our protagonist. This guy.

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.

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And they pull off this wardrobe somehow.

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. 

If you want to check out some more by the Joker on the Sofa, check out the 100 Greatest TV Episodes of All TimeCollection of TV EpisodesCollection of Movie Reviews, or the Joker on the Sofa Reviews.

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Netflix Review: I Am Not Okay With This – All the Preteen Angst, but with Superpowers

An angry teenage girl finds out that she has superpowers and they do not make her life easier.

SUMMARY (Spoiler-Free)

Sydney Novak (Sophia Lillis) is a 17 year old whose father recently killed himself, leaving her to grieve with her mother Maggie (Kathleen Rose Perkins) and little brother Liam (Aidan Wojtak-Hissong). Sydney  is slowly realizing that she is (at least) bisexual when she finds herself attracted to her best friend Dina (Sofia Bryant) and, like all bisexuals, Sydney also finds herself developing psychic powers*. She begins keeping a diary to deal with her anger issues. Dina starts dating local jerk jock Brad (Richard Ellis) and Sydney starts hanging out with her neighbor Stan (Wyatt Oleff), which starts off a chaotic series of events. 

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Syd moving stuff with her anxiety.

END SUMMARY

First off, this is based on a comic by Charles Forsman, the creator of the comic that serves as the basis of the TV show The End of the F***ing World, and, like that show, was adapted by Jonathan Entwistle. It takes place in the same universe as The End of the F***ing World, but you don’t have to have seen that show to watch this one. However, if you liked that show, then you will undoubtedly like this one, although this show is not quite as complex or compelling.

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Does it have more awkward relationship dynamics than the former? Maybe.

Sophia Lillis is amazing as Sydney. She shows a side of adolescence that many of us forget about: the constant anger. Syd is almost always angry. She’s angry at her mother for not being more communicative about her father’s death. She’s angry at Dina for her relationship. She’s angry at Brad for being a jerk. She’s angry at herself for not being more in control of her anger. Unfortunately, in her case, it starts manifesting as telekinetic blasts which are dangerous to people and objects around her. Lillis sells it perfectly, along with all of the normal emotions you’d expect from a high-school drama. 

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The story is mostly focused on Sydney coming to terms with her emotional issues rather than her powers, and it benefits from that. Most people can relate to being a teenager who is caught between horny and nervous, but not as many people can relate to being worried they’re about to blow their car up with their mind.

The pacing of the series is extremely quick, particularly when you take into account the fact that there are only 7 episodes that are about 20 minutes apiece. You can get through the entire series in less time than it takes to watch The Irishman. I’ll admit, though, that this feels more like the first half of a season than a full story on its own. It’s clear that there’s going to be more of the story and I’m excited for it. 

Overall, this was a really good show and I’m looking forward to more of it.

*This is a reference to the Podcast The Adventure Zone. I recommend it.

If you want to check out some more by the Joker on the Sofa, check out the 100 Greatest TV Episodes of All TimeCollection of TV EpisodesCollection of Movie Reviews, or the Joker on the Sofa Reviews.

If you enjoy these, please, like, share, tell your friends, like the Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/JokerOnTheSofa/), follow on Twitter @JokerOnTheSofa, and just generally give me a little bump. I’m not getting paid, but I like to get feedback.