By Sorenya Miller
When I saw a girl running in the streets in bloody clothing, I just knew this show was about to be good. Plus, its co-creator was director Jonathan Entwistle, who also worked on The End of the F*cking World Netflix series. I noticed the similarities between the two shows and later found out they take place in the same timeline. So, those of you who are fans of The End of the F*cking World, make sure to watch I Am Not Okay With This.
The show centers around a socially awkward teenager, Sydney Novak, who moved around a lot when she was younger but now is settled and lives with her mother and younger brother. Sydney has to endure the inner workings of high school while dealing with grief, family drama, friendships, and her budding superpowers. However, Sydney is far from the perceived normal teenager; she has anger issues, random outbursts, a crush on her best friend, a dark sense of humor and dresses like she is going to a funeral. Clearly not one for spring colours or anything revealing.
I really like the idea of Sydney’s character because many teenage superheroes are quite mellow or annoyingly happy all the time just because they have powers. Then again, Sydney is not a superhero, she is just another teenager that does not have good coping mechanisms or a healthy way to express emotions. For instance, she doesn’t like to talk about her father and her mother throws herself into work, so she does not have to bring up the subject matter either. Sydney constantly has conversations in her head and the show does a good job of voicing her inner thoughts so we can relate to the character. Although her school counsellor suggests that she keep a diary to write down her feelings after the death of her father, it does not quite work. To Sydney, her father was the greatest person in the world, and everything would have been better if he were still alive.
On top of all that, she has a huge crush on her best friend Dina. One-sided love is never healthy, especially when you know the other person does not see you in that way. Dina is a bubbly, warm-spirited character and quite the opposite of Sydney. She is very optimistic and makes Sydney laugh, and is always there for her, even after her father’s passing. Their friendship is like Yin and Yang, where they are opposites but complement each other well. Another person in Sydney’s circle is Stanley, her stoner neighbour. They start off with an awkward relationship at first, but he eventually helps her control her powers.
Moreover, the good thing about the show is that we never get to see the full extent of Sydney’s capabilities, but soon realize that her powers are an outlet for her bottled up emotions. At first, it appears to be all in her head and she is just imagining things, because she never asked for this and only wants to be a normal teenager. However, her telekinetic abilities start to manifest in public more frequently, especially at school. When she eventually gets help from Stanley, the awkwardness of trying to use her power is actually hilarious and relatable at the same time. It reminds me of Tobey Maguire’s Spiderman when he was saying “go web go,” which is a very classic line and one of the best scenes in movie history.
Furthermore, throughout the seven-episode series, the opening scene is repeated with Sydney covered in blood running through the streets. We do not get to see why until the end, but the great thing is that the episodes on average are about 20 minutes long. This significant image kept me wondering what was going to happen in the next episode. I really liked the suspense and the build up towards it. However, as soon as I was about to complain about the reveal being too long, the director surprised me with another mystery character. The show does a great job of holding your attention and showcases themes that anyone can relate to.
In terms of humor, I Am Not Okay With This is full of satire and almost all the characters use this form of humor. The glum background also sets the tone for the show. However, the main character is a little bit over dramatic at times, and the prom scene at the end was rather cliché. There could have also been more character development, but I guess the show was not long enough to do that. All in all, the series was solid, but Netflix unfortunately cancelled the show because of the pandemic and budget issues. I would have loved to see a second season because there are so many unanswered questions, and the show has a lot of potential. Just know this, Netflix: you let a good one go!