By Taylor Rodriguez
Netflix’s original show, “I Am Not Okay With This,” seeks to present a story about anxiety, awkward adolescence, lasting friendship and budding romance in a rural high school environment. However, of course, there is some sort of a dark, supernatural twist to tie it all together.
Often, this structure of storytelling is filled with examples of lackluster narratives and less than exceptional acting in an already flooded genre. Despite these grievances, IANOWT presents a fresh take on this idea of a young student coming to terms with the emotions in their heart and unlocking a power within themselves.
We follow the life of Sydney Novak, played by Sophia Lillis, as she struggles to fit in her home life and a high school environment. Living at home with her mother, played by Kathleen Rose Perkins, and her younger brother Liam, Aidan Wojtak-Hissong, Sydney grapples with trying to fit in where she feels alien.
Like many stories involving a young protagonist, Sydney has flaws. She is insecure with her looks, terribly awkward in the way she interacts with strangers and fights to keep issues with her anger at bay. This causes her to become a dynamic character you enjoy to watch and sympathize with as the show progresses and as she improves how she views herself.
While she continues to find herself in her daily life and develop how she controls her anger, she manages to make a new friend, Stanley Barber, played by Wyatt Oleff.
Stanley is as awkward as he is charming. He weaves his way into Sydney’s life by awkwardly pursuing and talking with her despite her initial reactions.
As a nerd by nature, Stanley helps to figure out how Sydneys powers work and he tries his best to assist her. At the same time, Sydney maintains her close friendship with Dina, played by Sofia Bryant.
The show itself shows strong cinematography and storytelling. They make great use of the sites that were intended to mimic a small-town community.
Every location had a certain charm or personality to it through set design and every scene felt like it had a reason for being there to further the story and the progression of the main character.
I hadn’t realized it until after I went back through the first episode or two, but IANOWT makes great use of foreshadowing in characters and locations. The creators of the show did so while not making it extremely obvious so I could preemptively guess what is going to happen next.
Shows that are willing to take a crack at darker themes and present them in a brighter light without overpowering the original story are shows that I am a fan of.
IANOWT manages to weave together a wonderful story of youthful adolescence, familial loss, budding love, making friends and improving upon self-worth while still creating a dark mystery for the audience to get charmed by.
By no accounts is it the best show in the world. Is it worth a watch? I would absolutely agree. With only seven episodes in the first season, it is certainly worth your time. I would give it a final score of 8/10.
Taylor reported on this from his apartment in Winfield, Kansas.