Another Charles Forsman graphic novel comes to life on Netflix. Is it worth the binge? Welcome to the 'I Am Not Okay With This' spoiler free fandom review!
Why do you get a Stranger Things meets The End of the F***ing World vibe? Why are Gen X'ers going to like this show? And, holly shit, the Wyatt and Sophie chemistry is off the charts!
All videos and photos courtesy Netflix.
Dear Diary, I Am, In Fact, Okay With This! Go F*ck Yourself.
* Actual diary entry after screening all 7 episodes.
Dear Diary, I told myself that I wouldn't do it. I says to myself, I says, "Don't you dare write a whitty but oh-so-cliché headline pun using the show's title."
In a pathetically lame attempt to please the Googlebot algorithm gods, I stooped to a new low. I did what dozens of entertainment and/or clickbait websites did as well. But I Am Okay With This. Just this once. Or I guess twice now. It won't happen again, and I still despise clickbait.
So, Dear Diary, go fuck yourself. I’ve said before that I’m not a critic and i don’t like writing reviews. That hasn’t changed. People are going to watch whatever they think they’ll like, regardless of reviews. Right?
There’s so much TV available, who the hell has time to watch crap and sort through more crap to get to the good shit? So let’s get to it then.
You probably want to know why Sydney is covered in blood? The trailers and the poster feature this poor, awkward girl drenched in gore. She’s scared and running - from the police, it seems.
I’m not special, is what I’m trying to say. And I’m okay with that. ~ Sydney Novak
What is 'I Am Not Okay With This' About?
Here's a spoiler-free who's who and what's what.
I Am Not Okay With This tells the story of high schooler Sydney Novak (Sophia Lillis, brilliant). She’s kind of awkward, has some serious anger issues, and is almost definitely in love with her best friend, Dina (Sofia Bryant - why isn't this girl in more stuff?). But Dina is sort of dating douchebag jock, Brad (Richard Ellis, not a douche IRL).
Oh, and Sydney has an uncontrollable superpower that she is definitely not okay with.
Syd's mom, Maggie (Kathleen Rose Perkins), basically works all the time and seems to have a growing problem with alcohol - red wine. And like Charles Forsman's graphic novel, Maggie and Syd do not get along. Actually, they're both quite mean to each other.
You’re making me look like a bad mom. And I’m a friggin good mom! ~ Maggie Novak
Stanley Barber (Wyatt Oleff, let's just change his name to Stanley) is Syd’s slightly odd neighbour with a distinctive fashion sense and knack for being adorably charming. He works at the bowling alley, likes to get high, and is definitely in love with Sydney. Plus, Stanley is the only one who knows about Syd’s power and basically aspires to be 'Professor X' to Sydney’s 'Jean Grey'.
Stan is the master of zero fucks. ~ Sydney
Stranger Things meets The End of the F***ing World?
Let’s compare the facts.
I Am Not Okay With This is based on the same fictional (but present-day) timeline as TEOTFW. There’s a retro 90’s feel to it, but smartphones are used.
Like Stranger Things' Eleven, IANOWT’s Sydney can do shit with her mind (but Syd’s nose doesn’t bleed like El’s).
To be fair, I’ve seen you move things with your mind. Crazy seems a few notches down. ~ Stanley Barber
It's the same thing, only it's not.
"Sydney is not a type. She's a very singular young woman," says Stranger Things and I Am Not Okay With This executive producer Shawn Levy.
"We saw hundreds of actresses for this part. As soon as Sophia read the part, we knew we had found our Sydney because Sophia is completely unique. She is internal, she is cerebral, she is sometimes uncomfortable, but always authentic. And that's what we needed above all for Sydney - that relentless authenticity that Sophia brings."
This thing inside me, I can’t control it. It controls me. ~ Sydney
"There are very few people who could pull this role off and keep it feeling honest and not like a caricature."
"The shitty texture is key to the experience."
Simply put, if you’re a fan of either Stranger Things or TEOTFW, then you’ll definitely love I Am Not Okay With This. And, similarities not withstanding, even if you’re not a fan you’ll still likely enjoy I Am Not Okay With This.
I’m an enthusiast of both shows, but that’s not the only reason why I binged I Am Not Okay With This.
I know when I rage, bad things happen. I don’t even know what I’m capable of. ~ Sydney
The look and feel of the show is reminiscent of indie filmmaking. It’s gritty. It’s raw. There’s more natural light than there are HMI and Xenon TV lights. There's a scene in the second episode when Syd is looking through Stanley's vast collection of VHS video cassettes. Stan comments that, "the shitty texture is key to the experience."
"Yes, this show undeniably lives in a world of nostalgia. To Stanley's point, sometimes we shine the penny too brightly and it ceases to feel raw and human. Also, it was important for us that - as it is inspired by a graphic novel - that it unapologetically has its own look and feel. A place that feels familiar and not familiar, all at the same time. As if it has magically lifted off the pages of a graphic novel and somehow sprung to life."
There’s no big-budget special effects; the characters are relied on heavily tell the story. Not only through the brilliance of the script, but also their actions.
There’s so much chemistry between Sydney and Stanley that it feels real. Not just the chemistry (which is genuine between the real-life besties), but the story itself. The situation is realistic and believable because of the performances. It’s even more spine-tingling if you believe, or once believed in psychokinesis (the ability to move things with one's mind).
You gotta know, Syd. I really like you. ~ Stanley
Gen X’ers, listen up.
As a Gen-X’er, I got a Stephen King meets John Hughes vibe. In fact, episode five, Another Day in Paradise, is an homage to Hughes’ The Breakfast Club. And who doesn’t like King and Hughes? Both are masters of their domain with millions of fans. So just imagine the two collaborated on a project.
I know John Hughes passed away in 2009, but doesn’t that make it all the more intriguing?
But what about Sydney?
Oh, gawd. When does this get easier? ~ Sydney
You can watch the entire series in less than 3 hours. In fact, all seven episodes are a combined 152 minutes. And, not that I'm recommending this, but you can actually binge the entire series in one day - during classes / work!
What really sucks is that we’ll probably have to wait at least a year or more for a second season. Although nothing official has been announced, Sydney’s future may already be written.
"I wish I could answer this lovely question in full detail. But I've been sworn to secrecy," Christy Hall tells me.
I Am Not Okay With This is an origin story. We’ve only just begun to see what Sydney can do, and what she is capable of. There’s a lot more story to tell. And I’m really curious about that scene. You know, the one I’m talking about?
"What I can say is that as with any character put in these kinds of situations... Sydney has a very exciting and challenging road ahead. Not only when it comes to her abilities. But also. Let us not forget. She's still just trying to grow up."
There are similarities to Stranger Things, The End of the F***ing World, and other shows/movies.
Both because of, and in spite of the parallels, I Am Not Okay With This can be fun and enjoyable for many.
Sydney is okay with being boring, but not okay with having super powers.
The chemistry between Wyatt Oleff and Sophia Lillis is intense.
I Am Not Okay With This is akin to indie films, which makes it that much better.
There will likely be a second. No confirmation, but how can this series not have?
I keep a diary, and you don’t care.
I'm not a critic, and I barely qualify as a journalist. In fact, I wouldn't even call myself a writer, lest I insult actual wordsmiths! So, if I take the time to binge a series and then write about it, I do it because I'm a fan. And now, I Am (really) Okay With This.
This page is a part of my 8FLiX Standom. For more "I Am Not Okay With This" fandom-standom awesomeness, check back throughout the week. I'll be adding loads of content to get you ready for Wednesday's premiere on Netflix. Thanks for your support and love! ️ ~ Nick
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