“I Am Not Okay With This” Review

Story posted February 28, 2020 in Arts & Entertainment, CommRadio by Andrew Field

“I Am Not Okay With This” premiered on Netflix on Feb. 26 and the series stars Sophia Lillis, Wyatt Oleff, Kathleen Rose Perkins, and Sofia Bryant.

The show is a teen drama/comedy that is based on Charles Forsman’s graphic novel that came out in 2017 of the same name. The series is seven episodes ranging from only 20 to 25 minutes long, making it easily bingable in one or two days.

“I Am Not Okay With This” follows the adventures of Syd Novak (Sophia Lillis) as she experiences the turmoil of surviving high school and her family life. Syd realizes that she’s capable of more than she knows, and that leads to trouble for her and the people she’s close to.

What works is the interactions with the main characters. The relationship between Stanley Barber (Wyatt Oleff) and Syd is one of the best storylines of the show. Lillis and Oleff previously worked together on “It” and “It Chapter Two” as their chemistry suggests that they are comfortable working together since they’ve known each other for a few years.

Lillis also works well with Sofia Bryant (Dina), as the two’s friendship is also a main focal point for the show as well. Their relationship feels real, and it will be easily relatable for teens around that age in high school.

The twists and turns that the show takes along the way are a positive surprise that helps deviate it from a regular teen drama. It is a breath of fresh air to see some different changes and aspects to high school from a teenage girl’s perspective.

The voice-over work done by Lillis helps the audience know what she’s thinking when certain things occur. This is a creative way to depict how a character perceives events around them. It worked in this show really well, as it led to some comedy moments along the way.

All that being said, there are a few problems in the season. The first, is that while the pacing is good, the episodes run a little short. There were opportunities to expand the storyline of certain characters that were not seen or shown more due to the runtime of the episodes. This presents a problem as it limits the story to be contained in one particular arc for the season, and while that specific plotline is done well, it constrains the story to follow one direction.

The setting of the show is a little confusing as well, because the look and feel of the town and the characters seems like it’s in the 1980’s. There are a lot of nods and references to that time period, but the show supposedly takes place in modern day. It is a little off-putting for the viewer and while the references fit in well, it just can be a little too much at times.

Some of the material is similar to other series on Netflix, more specifically “Stranger Things.” This is not a knock on the show, but some things that Syd does throughout the show is reminiscent of character’s actions on “Stranger Things.” This may have been done intentionally in order to create a show that fosters a similar fanbase, and if it was, it’s a smart way to get people to buy in.

Certainly, there is potential for “I Am Not Okay With This” to grow into something bigger in future installments. Even though it has not been renewed for a second season yet, the first season plants the seeds to further the story of the characters in order to explain how their actions will have ripple effects for a potential next season.

“I Am Not Okay With This” has heart and appeals to a wide audience range. There are definitely some problems with the season, but most of that is overcome by good characters and a well paced plot. If there is a season two down the road, it will be intriguing to see where they go.

Rating: 4/5

 

Andrew Field is a junior majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email aaf5329@psu.edu.