I’m one of those annoying people that tends to not watch something if a bunch of people tell me to watch it. It’s not even me “going against the grain” or anything like that; it’s usually just that I have a never-ending list of shows/movies that I plan on watching and adding to it just seems pointless sometimes, like I’ll never get to the end of the list so why even try? However, after I heard a description of the recent Netflix release “The End of the F****ing World” on the podcast My Favorite Murder, I bumped it to the top of my list without hesitation. Karen and Georgia (we’re on a first name basis, and yes I plan on making a post about their podcast soon so stay tuned) described it as something like Harold and Maude combined with dark Wes Anderson [Moonrise Kingdom, I’m assuming] and something else that I forget. While I wasn’t familiar with the plot of Harold and Maude, the first sentence of the synopsis provided by Wikipedia says “Harold Chasen (Bud Cort) is a young man obsessed with death” and that pretty much matched the description of TEotFW‘s male lead, James.
The series is based on Charles Forsman’s graphic novel of the same name, and was first released on the UK’s Channel 4 in 2017, making its Netflix debut earlier this year. The first season only has eight 20 minute episodes, so it’s the definition of a binge-worthy show. I tried to stretch it out as long as I could and I think I only managed to make it last ~3 days.
In an effort to avoid giving anything away, I’m just gonna insert the Netflix trailer for anyone that hasn’t seen it yet. [Copyright: Netflix via Youtube so I don’t get sued, prob need to include more info than that but also no one reads this blog so I think I’m fine].
To state the obvious, what really makes this show so incredible is the casting of the two main characters, James and Alyssa, played by Alex Lawther and Jessica Barden, respectively. My sister said at first she couldn’t get into the show because she was distracted by Alyssa’s accent, but personally I was very much HERE for the way she spoke, accent and otherwise, so I convinced my sister to give it another go and luckily she did. There’s nothing I like more than unlikable characters that are so damn endearing it makes your heart ache, and that’s exactly what Lawther and Barden manage to capture with these two. There’s this specific scene in episode 3 where the two of them get drunk and dance to Hank Williams’s “Settin the Woods on Fire” and wow it’s so pure and perfect, I love it. In fact, I highly recommend checking out a playlist of songs from the show made by the user darcie2000 on Spotify, because the only thing as good as the show itself is the killer soundtrack that goes with it.
Two of my other favorite aspects of this show are the dialogue and narration. The dialogue is quick and witty, a perfect blend of dry humor and real teenage conversation. There’s also this interesting blending of internalized narration and external dialogue for both Alyssa and James that really captures the wholeness of these characters. For example, in episode 4 one exchange goes something like this:
James [in his head]: Alyssa seemed really calm
Alyssa [in her head]: F**k, F**K!
Alyssa [out loud to James, calmly]: We need to get rid of ******SPOILER******.
As a viewer, we’re privy to every aspect of these characters, even when they’re trying to remain aloof or secretive towards one another. As a result, we feel even more invested in each of them, hoping and waiting for the moment when they decide to let the other one fully into their mind.
To wrap up this lovefest for an incredible show, The End of the F***ing World deserves all the hype surrounding it and then some. It’s an incredible show, with an incredible cast, and incredible writing. The show slowly wraps itself around your heart until the very end, forcing you to feel all the things and experience all the turbulence of a couple of 17-year-olds trying to figure out who they are. At first, it’s just an entertaining show that makes you wonder what’s gonna happen next, but before you’re even aware of it, you’re so invested in these two psychotic teenagers that you wish you could somehow find them, give them a big f***ing hug, and tell them everything’s gonna be okay.
As always, thanks for reading // I hope you enjoy this show as much as I did!