Everything may suck but this synopsis doesn’t!
By Olivia Langenberg
Features and Lists Editor
Netflix released yet another original back in February called Everything Sucks! and I’m here to spoil it for you. The show is set in 1996 in Boring, Oregon, which is actually a real place, though it was filmed in Oregon City and Portland. The show revolves primarily around the stories of Luke and Kate, a freshman and a sophomore at Boring High School. Surprise, surprise, these kids are played by real 14-year-olds and not random 24-year-olds pretending like they still look young enough to pass as high schoolers. I’m going to take you through each episode, give you the highlights, and hopefully explain why I got so emotionally invested in this short-lived Netflix original.
In the first episode, we meet our typical freshman outcasts- Luke, our protagonist, and his friends McQuaid and Tyler. The boys are eager to get involved and meet girls, despite being incredibly nerdy and awkward around such girls. They ultimately join the A/V club, which is primarily in charge of the morning announcements. Here, Luke meets Kate Messner, a shy sophomore who just so happens to be the principal’s daughter. The two bond over the fact that they both have been raised by single parents. From the first episode, it’s clear that Luke has a crush on Kate and this might not end well. And why is that? Because Kate has her eye on someone else. And she’s a girl.
Now we’re really starting to explore the sexual identity of Kate. After an altercation with popular drama club girl, Emaline, in the locker room, rumors are spread around school that Kate is a lesbian. I was born in 1998, but I can imagine how horrifying it was to be outed 20 years ago, especially when you’re 15, and you aren’t even entirely sure how you feel. Meanwhile, as Kate eats lunch in the bathroom and tries to remain invisible, Luke is scheming with his friends about how to ask Kate to be his girlfriend. Yikes. He makes a music video to Oasis’ “Wonderwall” because he knows how much Kate likes the song, and plays it during the morning announcements. Kate, completely caught off guard, stammers a “yes” to being with Luke, though it’s clear to us that she probably isn’t that interested.
Luke and Kate’s relationship is in full swing, and Luke tries his best to be romantic for Kate. She’s in an uncomfortable situation, though, and avoids most physical contact. So much so that when Luke leans in for a kiss in the auditorium, Kate pulls the fire alarm to avoid it. The sprinklers go off and everything, which ends in a disaster, as the auditorium has water damage and the drama club can no longer put on their play. Unfortunately, Emaline and her pretentious boyfriend Oliver saw Luke running out of the auditorium, so the perpetrators can’t stay anonymous for too long. Though Kate was the one who pulled the alarm, Luke takes the fall for her because “that’s what boyfriends do.” Ew.
Feeling the pressure from the drama club, Luke tries to figure out a plan to ease tensions. With the help of his friends and Kate, Luke presents the idea of a movie to the drama club. He hopes that A/V club and drama club can team up to create something the school has never seen before. Emaline and Oliver, the clearly dominant personalities of drama club, hesitantly agree, but not without messing with the freshman a little bit. Emaline decides they should all play spin-the-bottle, which results in Luke and Kate in a closet together. The two do end up kissing, but Kate immediately blurts out “I think I’m a lesbian” afterward.
After Kate’s revelation in the closet, Luke decides the best plan of action is for the two to continue dating so that no one thinks the rumors are true about Kate being gay. Uh… she is though. I started to get really frustrated around this time, but I digress. Unfortunately, there’s a really sad scene at the end of the episode where Luke is at Kate’s for dinner with her dad, and Kate plays her mom’s favorite song on the piano. While Kate sings, Luke realizes he might be falling in love with her. Oh, no.
This episode was arguably the most emotionally exhausting. Luke gets tickets to see Kate’s favorite singer, Tori Amos, to surprise her, and the two take a trip to Portland. Kate wonders why Luke would do something so thoughtful for her, and you guessed it! It’s what boyfriends do. Kate has an epiphany at the show when she sees two girls kissing. She tells Luke they need to break up, to which he doesn’t respond well, and the two have a pretty difficult fight. Kate tells him that he needs to accept her the way she is, and that he never really liked her anyway- he just liked having a girlfriend.
Luke is SUPER pissed off that Kate broke up with him, and he literally acts like a monster to everyone around him. Kate, coming to terms with her identity, removes the posters of famous guys in her room and replaces them with posters of women she admires. She pierces her own nose, and in a moment of pure empathy, begs her dad to fund a trip for the movie because she knows Luke wants it. Also, the most lighthearted scenes of the show occur simultaneously: Emaline, Oliver, Tyler, and McQuaid read on the internet that you can get high from eating a bunch of nutmeg, so they do it. Haha.
FIELD TRIP!! The movie squad heads to California to shoot some scenes at Dominguez Rocks. Unfortunately, Oliver, the movie’s star, thinks he’s a hotshot and he takes off for New York. Emaline is devastated. She has a moment with Kate in their hotel room, admitting that she was incredibly reliant on Oliver and doesn’t know what to do now. The two of them almost kiss (!!!), but ultimately are interrupted. Kate, still trying to be there for Luke, takes him to a Blockbuster in Hollywood, revealing that she tracked down his father. It doesn’t go well, though, and Luke blames Kate.
Episodes Nine & Ten:
Luke is still acting like a complete asshole, which is only elevated when he realizes his mom has been dating Kate’s dad. He demands they stop dating, which makes EVERYONE ELSE upset. Kate and Emaline admit their feelings for each other. I literally exploded at this point because I was so proud of Kate, and for how proactive she became in her own life and in her dad’s. She realizes what Luke has done and scolds him for destroying their parents’ happiness. Luke has a change of heart, and ends up changing the ending of the movie to reflect his and Kate’s friendship. He reconnects his mom with Kate’s dad and everyone is happy! Emaline and Kate have a sweet moment in the auditorium where they kiss and dance to music. Just when you think everything is all well and good, the show ends with Luke’s deadbeat dad showing up at his door. WHAT!!!!!!!!! WHY!!!!!! EVERYTHING WAS GOOD!!!!!