After just one short season, Netflix has decided not to renew its high school lesbian dramedy Everything Sucks!
But fret notit had its pitfalls.
Set in the ’90s in the real town of Boring, Oregon, the show was a trip down memory lane, and as BuzzFeed has proved ad nauseam with their “Only ’90s Kids Will Remember” listicles, we love this decade. Unfortunately, nostalgia wasn’t enough to sustain the 10-episode show, which was released on February 18th.
Created by Ben York Jones and Michael Mohan, Everything Sucks! centered around a lesbian coming out storyline that was both heart-wrenching and heartwarming to watch: Kate Messner (played by Peyton Kennedy) is the principal’s daughter who comes to realize she is gay in her sophomore year. Her character is dear and delicate, and made a tiny piece of my gay heart ache, thanks to the show’s tongue-in-cheek references, like her compulsion to buy Tori Amos merch. I was struck by Kate’s stereotypical lesbianism; it was like looking into my past, at a time when I was so clearly and noticeably gay, and yet was completely clueless. (Of course, for me it was the Spice Girls, not Tori, but tomato to-mat-o.)
With that being said, the show wasn’t perfect. First of all, it’s a show about a lesbian teen written by two adult menstrange. And again, I’m saying this with love because I truly enjoyed the first seasonbut Kate’s giant, life-changing, head-over-heels girl-on-girl kiss, which we waited all 10 episodes to see in the season finale, was stained by a male character watching them. And not just watching themhe was in love with Kate’s girl, Emaline (Sydney Sweeney).
So, during this absolutely momentous, joyous, come to Jesus climax while we want to be celebrating Kate and Emaline’s victory, we’re supposed to feel bad for the sad boy.
If there’s one thing queer women hate about male-made lesbian storylines, (besides laughable sex scenes, objectification, exploitative storylines, unnecessary deaths, etc., etc.) it’s when men get in the way of a queer female love story. Kate and Emeline couldn’t just have this one momentno, their moment couldn’t be about them. It had to be about the sad, nerdy cry-baby boy who fell for a queer girlthe second one to do so this season.
I’ll miss Everything Sucks!, I really will. It’s always sad to see a show that centers queer characters tank. Plus, no show has served Mighty Might Bosstones realness like that since Malcolm in the Middle. And where else can you cringe through a teenage lesbian reading a dirty magazine while listening to Oasis and, um, experimenting with her body?
“We’re super proud of the show we made,” executive producer Jeff Pinkner said of the cancellation, “and very proud that it found an audience of very passionate fans, for many of whom it became an important personal touchstone: either reflecting their current life, or an echo of their own teenage years.” He continued, “We are grateful to Netflix for the opportunity, but are very disheartened we won’t be continuing to tell these stories.”
Stars Kennedy and Sweeney have been tweeting with fans about the cancellation, and in support of #RenewEverythingSucks.
Like you I’m heartbroken but I’m grateful I got to portray this complex & important character. Broken, closeted Kate blossomed into a teen icon. Love from fans & critics is testament to the power of her unique voice. I admire you for raising your unique voices. #iamkatemessner pic.twitter.com/Y5liRBZqCt
— Peyton Kennedy (@peyton_kennedy) April 7, 2018
@peyton_kennedy we were truly the underdogs but thanks to all of our fans #Kemaline has won. Thank you @netflix for giving us the platform to share this story. I wish we could’ve shared more. #RENEWEVERYTHINGSUCKS https://t.co/SU3g5xxLfN
— Sydney Sweeney (@sydney_sweeney) April 9, 2018
At least our queer protagonists got a happyalthough tarnishedending. Had the show gone on another season, I know these volatile characters would’ve found trouble in paradise, and Everything Sucks! probably would’ve dug its own queer grave. Regardless, I think it’s high time we let women write their own lesbian high school dramedies.