There's another Beaver State show for you to check out on your televisions and tablets this weekend: Netflix's Everything Sucks! is a '90s-set high-school comedy/drama that's set in Boring, Oregon (the show was filmed in nearby Oregon City). Netflix has done pretty well with the teen genre lately, what with The End of the F***ing World and the fantastic American Vandal (the second season of which is filming here in Portland). While I haven't seen any of Everything Sucks! yet, the trailer is an awkward but not altogether off-putting mix of sentimentality, adolescent angst, and blatant '90s nostalgia. (And, ouch, that Cranberries song. Fresh wound there.)
It's probably better, though, to listen to someone who's actually seen it, and so far a few critics really seem to like Everything Sucks! Uproxx's Alan Sepinwall, the dean of American television critics, says:
"Both the show and its leading man can be a bit much at first, with the series’ constant period references and needle drops.... In time, though, the show turns out to be enormously appealing—not Freaks and Geeks level, but much closer than it has any business being."
And Vulture's Jen Chaney kicks off her review with the headline, "Everything Sucks! Most Definitely Does Not Suck," before going on to say:
"The ten episodes of Everything Sucks!, all dropping Friday, have more than their share of bugs: dialogue that sounds more scripted than anything actual teenagers would say, then or now; barely developed supporting characters; and a tendency to incorporate music choices that are so on the nose, they are more painful than an infected piercing.... But it also is so sincere and sensitive in its treatment of its young characters—especially the two main ones, Luke (Jahi Di’Allo Winston) and Kate (Peyton Kennedy)—as well as their respective single parents, played by Patch Darragh and Claudine Nako, that it succeeds in making you care deeply about what happens to them."
And Variety's Maureen Ryan adds:
"Once in a while, a show finds its bearings in real time, which makes sticking with it worth the ride. That’s the case with Everything Sucks! Fair warning: Early episodes... are uneven at best. The half-hour high school comedy resembles the gawky, inexperienced teenagers it depicts: There are lots of awkward tonal collisions; the mix of melodrama, drama, and comedy fails to gel at times; and some characters and situations are often a little too cartoonish to really work. But it’s almost a different show in its final stretch of episodes. Once it finds its sweet spot, it becomes more than the sum of its influences."
So while it may take a little while for the show to find its groove, it sounds like it's worth the investment. As to whether the Oregon locale has any bearing on the show itself—I'm getting the impression that Boring is a stand-in for Anytown, USA—will just have to be evaluated starting tomorrow, when Netflix drops all 10 half-hour episodes on subscribers.
At the very least, sounds like it'll be better than Here and Now.