‘Everything Sucks!’ is a 90s kid's wet dream (and a good show!)

 “Everything Sucks!” is about an Oregon high school’s A/V and drama clubs joining forces. It takes place in 1996, and man does it know it.(screengrab/Netflix)

“Everything Sucks!” is about an Oregon high school’s A/V and drama clubs joining forces. It takes place in 1996, and man does it know it.(screengrab/Netflix)

“Everything Sucks!” is about an Oregon high school’s A/V and drama clubs joining forces. It takes place in 1996, and man does it know it.

Ready for an over-complicated UConn analogy? Let’s do it!

There are more 1990s references stuffed into the first episode of the new Netflix original series “Everything Sucks” than there are missed jumpers in a men’s basketball game. Too much? I’ll cut to the chase: This show is  filled to the brim with nostalgia for an era that almost every undergrad at Storrs either wasn’t alive for or wasn’t aware during. So why should you watch it? Well, why did you watch “Stranger Things”? Netflix knows their eras and they get them down pat. That’s one of the strengths of “Everything Sucks!” It envelops you in an aura of Surge, Tori Amos and flannel, and it doesn’t let you breathe until the 10-episode arc finishes. At this point, Netflix could churn out a heartwarming romance taking place in 12th century Mongolia, and I’d tell all my friends to tune in to experience the “Genghis Khan aesthetic.”

That being said, just because Netflix gets the setting of the show correct doesn’t mean the show will come out well. You need a well-made plot and complex characters. Does “Everything Sucks!” follow through? For the most part. The first episode or two overdoses hard on 1996 juice (somehow a Defense of Marriage Act mention found its way into conversation), and it seems like the show’s plot is getting predictable, but three episodes in, the show finds itself and doesn’t let go. I’ve done a good job keeping this review spoiler-free so far, but I have faith in Netflix to deliver a good jolt to the usual boy-meets-girl trope. It takes a long time to get to the shift in tone, but it’s a good one.

The show isn’t without its eye-rolling faults, however. I gave the show a “cheese handicap” coming into it because, well, it’s the 90s. Cheesiness was as common in TV as frosted tips on heads. They still overdid it, at times. The two main child actors (Luke and Kate) do a great job, but Luke’s posse of nerdy McQuaid and comic-relief Tyler seems like both a blatant rip-off of the “Stranger Things” squad and a bastardization of 90s stereotypes. The main overconfident hot dude from the drama club is a bit overacted, but that’s borderline forgivable; it’s drama club after all. A saving grace of his performance is his casting; if you squint, he’s a dead ringer for Titanic-era Leo. There’s also a fair bit of predictability to the show, but not enough that you’ll see the twists coming, I’m happy to say.

“Everything Sucks”! isn’t “Stranger Things”, and you shouldn’t expect it to be. Even rides the hype, it eventually bursts free to blaze its own path... and it’s a promising one. 4/5


Daniel Cohn is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at daniel.cohn@uconn.edu.