Netflix’s new original show “Alexa and Katie” is anything but original. The show makes use of many high school cliches and focuses on a common theme in young adult television — the friendship between two girls. While the series does have its sweet moments, it falls short in the comedy department.
The show stars Paris Berelc as Alexa, a high school freshman battling cancer. Alexa’s best friend Katie, played by Isabel May, stands by Alexa’s side no matter what. The series begins days before the girls’ first day of high school and revolves around Alexa and Katie’s friendship and the misadventures they share. “Alexa and Katie” depicts the girls as strong, if somewhat immature, young women and demonstrates how friendship can help people through difficult times in their lives.
This theme is not a very original one, and neither are the characters in the show. Alexa is the bold, clever young woman and strong, determined cancer patient who doesn’t want people to view her differently because of her illness. Katie is Alexa’s best gal pal, a loyal, encouraging friend, a rule-following good-girl, and the silly, sometimes dopey comic relief. While the characters are not very unique, their interactions are sweet and pure, showcasing the best friends’ loyalty and love for each other.
In the first episode, for example, Alexa begins to lose her hair because of her chemotherapy treatments. She is saddened by this hair loss, but, being a somewhat proud young woman, Alexa does not tell her best friend. Katie discovers Alexa’s hair loss when Alexa returns one of Katie’s hats, not knowing that locks of her own hair were stuck to the inside.
When Katie sees this, she immediately runs next door to Alexa’s house, or rather climbs across the tree between their bedroom windows, a tree that serves as the girls’ special place. Katie tells Alexa that she can count on her for anything and then runs to the bathroom to get Alexa’s brother’s razor, with which she suddenly shaves a strip of hair from her head. Alexa is touched by Katie’s act of solidarity and the two shave their heads together.
This was a rather sweet moment in the series, as it depicted the love of one young woman for her best friend and that friend’s realization that she doesn’t have to face the world alone. This is an important theme in the show, as the girls are about to begin high school and must learn how to face this exciting challenge together.
While the show featured some warm hearted moments between the two girls, it was not very funny. The jokes were bland and unamusing, as they were geared more towards middle school and early high school-aged viewers. For instance, when Alexa tries to “baby” her mother Lori to show her that she herself need not be babied, her mom realizes the trick but informs Alexa that she will still be overly protective; “But I’m not gonna change, I’m your mother,” says Lori (played by Tiffani Thiessen of “Saved by the Bell” fame) as the laugh track plays in the background.
Overall, the show was not very amusing or original for older audiences, as it is intended to be a high school comedy. The girls were cute friends and their relationship was sweet but the show was very cliche and sometimes just boring.
Stephanie Santillo is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.