“I Am Not Okay With This” Netflix Review: A teen angst upgrade
During SNIPdaily’s Binge Kill Chill podcast (available above), I stated the following:
- I was tired of teen angst shows.
- That I wasn’t looking forward to I Am Not Okay With This.
- And that it was slapped together with ingredients that made The End of the F****** World, IT (reboot), and Stranger Things popular.
In my defense, I’m prone to irrational outbursts just like Sophia Lillis’ character in the show. The only difference between us is that when I rage, I don’t have telekinetic powers, and yes, I do wish that I did.
Two things to know about this Netflix I Am Not Okay With This review:
- We aim to be 100% spoiler-free, so this is all opinion.
- We watched the whole series, not just an episode like other websites.
If you’re here for some analytical depth, you’re in the wrong place. I just say what I think and right now, I think my initial statement was almost perfect.
This series is another teen angst journey, complete with all the usual cliches: Sex, drugs, shitty parents, and even the customary dead one (usually the dad).
It’s clear story plots aren’t the only re-usable aspects in streaming content. Characters are also cut and paste montages from other shows. It’s so déjà vu that even the environments appear over-and-over like Scooby-Doo backdrops. “Oh look, it’s another dull and uninspired town.”
The show does all that in abundance, and for that reason, I wasn’t looking forward to streaming it. When you’ve seen 20 moody teenagers in working class locales, you’ve pretty much seen them all.
Check out the official trailer below:
More than telekinesis
A series is just like a meal: the ingredients, recipe, and chef define how it tastes. For me, the ingredients in I Am Not Okay With This looked good, but the recipe and cooks gave me indigestion.
Having now binged every episode, I can honestly say that show creators Jonathan Entwistle and Christy Hall served up a series that’s surprisingly good. Despite it being “another teen angst journey, complete with all the usual cliches,” and I stand by those words.
What puts this show above others? Three specific elements:
- Cliches and stereotypes are hidden behind a narration.
- Talking is reserved for those integral to the key character.
- Episodes are 20 minutes and the whole series is 7 episodes.
Telekinesis would make the fourth spot on the list, but it’s not one of the reasons I wanted to keep watching. This show is proof that even cliches and stereotypes can turn into something binge-worthy.
What is it?
In my podcast rant I state The End of the F****** World, IT (reboot), and Stranger Things looked to be this show’s building blocks. I was wrong. Instead, I Am Not Okay With This is Carrie meets Sex Education — and that combination blew me away.
This is the thing: it doesn’t try to revolutionize anything or be something it is not. By this I mean, it knows it is a series, not some political message, or on some social agenda. It wants to entertain, and it does.
What does it do well?
The series uses teen angst and cliches to situate its simple romantic entanglement, a budding friendship, and a newly developed superpower. It mashes everything together with narration that keeps the show moving forwards without dwelling on why unnamed Character X is whispering about something in the hallway. It doesn’t care, because it knows we, the audience, don’t.
This focus on the key character helps the series avoid getting bogged down with unnecessary dialogue or events that aren’t directly related to the bigger picture. Everything links beautifully; even the teen angst works because of it.
Furthermore, this streamlining makes the series fly by. There’s no time to notice the cliches and stereotypes, because it’s on fast-forward. It took less than 2.5 hours to binge the entire season, and I did so with a big smile on my face.
I Am Not Okay With This is in 4K and supports Dolby Vision. It does not, however, support Dolby Atmos, which seems to be a Netflix trend.
I Am Not Okay With This Verdict: Binge
- Streaming on Netflix
- Created by Jonathan Entwistle and Christy Hall
- Starring Sophia Lillis, Wyatt Oleff and Sofia Bryant
It’s obvious I liked I Am Not Okay With This in the end. Sophia Lillis’ character Sydney was performed brilliantly. The actress delivered heaps of emotion, and through her perspective, we were able to understand and follow her character’s development to a bloody and brilliant conclusion.
In my opinion, the star of the series was Wyatt Oleff’s Stanley Barber. Yep, the guy who plays Stanley in the IT reboot. His character embodies innocence, naivete, and a desperation to be fashionable in his own way. His kooky persona balances out the anger and emotion delivered by Lillis’ Sydney. Together, with Sofia Bryant’s Dina, the trio make this show a definite binge.
Overall, I Am Not Okay With This belongs up with Sex Education and Stranger Things in terms of quality. Plus, this series is proof that there’s plenty of life left in teenage angst shows — even if I’m tired of them (almost).