Spoilers ahead! If you wish not to be spoiled, get off WordPress, go watch the show. It definitely does not suck.
I’ll just get right to it: this show was better than anything I could have anticipated.
I’m drawn to character stories, and even more so, I’m personally fascinated by coming-of age stories, so right off the bat, this was absolutely something I was going to love. In fact, as I started watching, I realized that this was a version of a story that I have been looking for for years. For years, I would walk into a bookstore or browse the internet for a story that reflected my own experiences in coming to terms with my sexuality. Everything Sucks! is pretty close to the story I’ve been looking for.
Kate is me. I am Kate. I was a behind-the-scenes type girl, quiet, with long straight hair that was never styled because god forbid I show my face. I wanted to blend in. I even dressed like Kate because like Kate, my dad bought my clothes growing up. I was awkward and intimidated by girls who were more confident in their skin (see locker room scene, shopping scene, etc.).
I totally got it: Am I boyish because of my clothes? Because of the way I was brought up? Or do I genuinely like dressing like this? Do girls make me flustered because I’m shy? Do I want to be like them or do I want to date them?
Unlike Kate, I didn’t try dating boys until college. But even then I get it. Why don’t I want to hold this guys hand? Why does he annoy me so much when he’s trying to be romantic?He’s my best friend, but I can’t stand to be around him if it means I have to kiss him.
When I finally fell for someone in college, she was a lot like Emaline (except she was nice to me from the start); super cool, artsy, super hot, and really popular with the guys. Similar to Emaline, my friend fell for me, and I for her. And like “Kemaline”, our relationship came to an abrupt and premature end.
The news of the cancellation of Everything Sucks came as a surprise to me. The show connected with people across ages, orientations, and life places. My high school coworkers connected with the characters, who were genuine representations of students their age. My age group, “the millennials”, connected with the kids because we were those kids. This was our era. Even my mom connected with the show, through the music and the sweet story of Luke’s mom and Kate’s father.
Netflix was sitting on a goldmine–a story driven by nostalgia, good acting, and relatable situations. The cast was racially and socioeconomically diverse. And my personal draw: the show had a gay female lead.
I am Kate Messner. To see my story brought to life on screen was so touching and so very sweet. It became a story I could point to and say “That was me in high school.” I had never had that before. It was a story that I could watch, with one foot in the closet, and relive all the realization moments with Kate:
The embarrassment of the gym locker room; undressing in front of girls way more confident and beautiful than you.
Hanging pictures of boy celebrities in your bedroom just to fit in; not because you actually find them attractive.
Seeing a lesbian couple for the first time and realizing that it’s everything you want. Simultaneously being exited at the possibility, but sad at the reality; that it’s not likely to ever happen.
Then later, having your breath catch when you finally experience physical closeness for the first time and find that it’s wonderful.
The concert scene is the scene for me. That’s the story I was looking for. That’s the feeling I felt. That’s the experience of a baby gay.
Shows like this aren’t something that can just be thrown away. The show isn’t only a goldmine for viewership, it’s a piece of people. The show is meant to connect with people, either through nostalgia or relatable characters. And when a story allows its viewers to be that vulnerable, it must be treated carefully.
Kate is an important character. Luke is an important character. Luke’s mom, Emaline… all of them. It’s important for these stories to be told. Specifically, it’s important for kids to have the representation that I didn’t have when I was in high school.
Perhaps if I had a Kate Messner when I was young, I would have spent less time hating myself. Perhaps if my parents had seen young Kate’s struggle, they would be more compassionate toward the LGBTQ community, and to me.
It’s a story that connects with viewers who don’t have much to being with. It’s a story that I have been searching for for years, and I finally found. It’s a story that deserves more time to be told, or at least, it deserves a proper ending.
Netflix, you’re sitting on a story that must be told. Tell it.