There is no dearth of teenage shows, thanks to Netflix. Stylish, with supposedly school-going teenagers dressed up to the nines, have graced us with their eye-rolls and scowls in Never Have I Ever, Sex Education, Atypical, and so on and so forth. Does a new show in this mix make a difference? Well, yes, and no. Netflix’s Everything Now, about a teenager recovering from her disordered eating, is frank, funny and layered, while also ticking off the boxes to be a part of the aforementioned list. Couching unique perspectives in a regular sheen, Everything Now is sometimes a hard watch but one that balances out the tough conversations with teenage silliness.
Having spent the last seven months in a hospital, recovering from anorexia, 16-year-old Mia Polanco (Sophie Wilde) is excited to return home. Well, she is happier to be able to go back to school to her friends Becca (Lauryn Ajufo), Cameron (Harry Cadby), and Will (Noah Thomas). Mia thinks the biggest obstacle to her returning to ‘normal’ life would be the questioning looks and the pitiful pats on the back. But what proves to be a bigger challenge is the fact the definition of ‘normal’ has changed ten-fold. In the seven months that Mia was away, her friends have matured with new experiences to boast of and she finds herself poorly-equipped to be part of the social circle.
Everything Now (English)
Creator: Ripley Parker
Cast: Sophie Wilde, Lauryn Ajufo, Jessie Mae Alonzo, Harry Cadby, Noah Thomas, Vivienne Acheampong, and others
Runtime: 45 minutes
Storyline: Upon her return to school, after spending seven months in a hospital, 16-year-old Mia creates a bucket list of items she needs to do to catch up to her friends who have seemingly moved forward with their lives
To combat this, Mia creates for herself a ‘Bucket list’ of things she must do to catch up to her friends’ lives. The list spans wide – from going to a party and breaking the law to learning to drive. Mia has done none of it and so when she tries to cram it all into one night at a house party, it lands her in the hospital. The remaining seven episodes of the show deal with Mia figuring out this return to ‘normal’, of finding her own limits. All this while, the show foregrounds these teenage conundrums with Mia’s recovery – which is not as linear as checking off a bucket list.
Everything Now is not conservative in using voiceovers to describe characters and events. Giving voice to Mia’s thoughts lets us hear her confusion, doubts, and sorrows. The voice in her head speaks to Mia and tells others what she cannot bring herself to say to them. Her voice punctuates each episode and scene, and works more as a boon, creatively, than not. The first few episodes make liberal use of her voiceover for expository purposes, threatening to turn the exercise into a boring one. However, the writers soon find a balance, using the device to show Mia’s progress. Sophie Wilde is phenomenal in the role, picking up the small cues that cement Mia’s behaviour as someone trying very hard to maintain a façade of normalcy.
At eight episodes, Everything Now is a relatively short series but the writing uses the available time well – maintaining focus on Mia, but also diligently fleshing out the individual lives of other characters. The narrative arcs of Mia’s family and friends spin out from their care and concern for her but by the end of it, they are each able to hold their own.
Though there are some subplots that could have been tied in better, and the voiceovers could benefit from a little more creativity, the show wins more than it loses. Everything Now is not pathbreaking in its observation but it is deeply personal when it needs to be, and wholly amusing at other times.
Everything Now is available for streaming on Netflix
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