Everything Sucks! starts as ’90s pastiche: the snap bracelets, the Troll Dolls, a conversation about the lack of irony in Alanis Morrissette’s “Ironic.” The time is 1996, the place is high school, though maybe more accurate to write “1996” and “high school.”
Freshman Luke (Jahi Di’Allo Winston) has a crush on sophomore Kate (Peyton Kennedy). They’re both in AV Club; she’s taller than him and is the principal’s daughter. He’s a teen film buff from the last age when a teen could only care about movies. He owns a Mallrats poster, but also a Cabinet of Dr. Caligari T-shirt. He curates his videotape collection the way the next century’s kids curate their digital lives.
Luke’s not subtle. Everything Sucks! isn’t either, at the start. He finds out that Kate likes “Wonderwall” (because she is a human), so he films a shot-by-shot remake of the Oasis video, then plays it on the school’s TV network—and then asks her out, with the whole student body watching. When she says yes, everyone cheers—even Principal Dad!—and the soundtrack lights up with “Love is Everywhere” by Cicero, one of those keyboard-dance tracks that sounds like a mournful video game about fighting robots with Tae Bo punches.
All ten episodes of Everything Sucks! stream on Netflix this Friday. The first few feel off, like a colorful xerox over-faxed into monochrome fuzz. Creators Ben York Jones and Michael Mohan were teenagers in the ’90s, like me. But that doesn’t make any of us experts, and I sense a lack of specificity here. Deep Blue Something, Ace Ventura, “It makes Species look like Fern Gully!” (There are two e