Usually, I don’t get super excited about shows that people say “Oh, you should watch this!” or “This is so you”. I have a natural aversion to being told what I will like and by consequence I have probably missed out on things that I would have otherwise enjoyed.
Luckily, this weekend I was hanging out with someone who I trust kind of knows what I like, and when he said he’d watched the first episode of something and thought I would really like it, I said sure. And we watched the entire season in one day.
There’s only eight episodes of “The End of the F*****G World” on Netflix, and there could have been twice as many and I still would have watched the whole lot at once. It starts out a little bit out there – the opening lines are pretty much a teenage boy’s internal dialogue saying “I think I might be a psychopath”. But what seemed maybe a little superficial at first, actually turned out to be pretty gripping. Two teenagers run away, because both have some aspect of their lives that suck, and they have an adventure. Or a misadventure. The story wouldn’t be nearly as engaging as it was except that the characters don’t just interact with their fellow 2D humans; they think out loud. So there might be some dialogue between Alyssa and James, and then you get to hear what their thinking too. It makes for some pretty dark humour and to be honest there aren’t a whole lot of laugh-out-loud moments after the first episode. But there doesn’t need to be.
One of the great things about English humour is that it’s often introspective and self-deprecating, and while throughout the story you end up rooting for the young friends (I’m using the word ‘friends’ here in place of a word I don’t know – you’d have to watch the show and let me know if there even is a single word that can be used to describe their unique relationship without ruining the entire thing), the friends don’t necessarily deserve to be rooted for. Inarguably they do something pretty f****d up things.
But it’s a good watch. It’s a great watch. The ending is mind blowing. That’s all I’ll say. It’s a better look at teen dynamics than “13 Reasons Why” (shoot me for that if you want, but I think it is)*, and it’s captivating.
*Sidenote: I love “13 Reasons Why”. I think it’s an amazing piece of television and it captures the high school experience pretty darn well. But I find that it’s a little heavy, a little less available to a viewer who might have underlying mental health issues. One of the strengths of comedy is that it brings out guard down and helps us accept things. This couldn’t be utilised in “13 Reasons Why” and that’s not a fault, just an observation.