I Am Not Okay With This





Kristin Smith

TV Series Review

Seventeen-year-old Sydney Novak is a little… off. She doesn’t really fit the mold of how a “typical” girl might dress or act. She’s not prone to smiling much. And she’s got some serious anger issues. Very serious.

‘Course, a lot of those issues could be because her father committed suicide last year and left Sydney, her apathetic, waitressing mother Maggie, and witty little brother Liam, to fend for themselves in a run-down, small Pennsylvania town. They’re doing the best they can. But it’s a struggle.

Sydney doesn’t really feel like she can talk to anyone about her dad’s death. Not even her best friend and crush, Dina, knows what is really going on inside of her mind. Which is why Sydney’s been reluctantly visiting the school counselor who suggests that she begin journaling all the things that are bottled inside.

So she pours it all out on paper—her fractured relationship with her mom, the bullies she tries to help her little brother navigate, her feelings about her weird neighbor and sometimes friend, Stanley. Then there’s her general dislike of Dina’s new jock boyfriend, her own confusing sexuality and, of course, her anger.

Man, is she angry. She’s not trying to be angry; she just finds that stuff bothers her more than normal and that bad things can happen as a result. Not typical bad things, like thrown smartphones or torn-up pillows. No, her anger triggers some strange, dangerous stuff.

Walls have been known to crack, floors have been ripped from their foundations. Oh and, worst of all, heads have been known to literally explode when Sydney can’t keep her cool.

But she’s not quite sure why. It could be a biological trait, passed down from her deceased father. Or it could be connected to the dark, mystifying person who’s been following her. But it’s all a very peculiar mystery that Sydney is being forced to navigate, one emotional high-school day at a time.

The Neverending World of Teen Angst

Netflix’s new teen-centered, MA-rated show, I Am Not Okay With This, is based off of the comics by Charles Forsman and comes from the creators of End of the F***ing World and Stranger Things. Given that problematic pedigree, it’s full of everything you might expect, and more.

The show’s lead, Sophia Lillis from 2017’s IT, is a troubled teen with a boatload of personal issues. She’s navigating her own sexuality (which we eventually see when she admits to liking her best friend and later kisses her), attempting to make friends, trying to get along with her mom and striving to understand her own, uncontrollable powers–powers that have the ability to hurt and kill those closest to her. And sometimes, those abilities can get pretty graphic.

But violence and gore isn’t the only issues here. Language is unnecessarily profane, teens smoke marijuana on occasion and sex, though never flashed across the screen, is discussed crudely and at length. This show, for all its mystery, isn’t captivating enough to keep you guessing, and when you mix in the content issues, it’s not engaging enough to make you want to stay.

Episode Reviews

Feb. 26, 2020: “Dear Diary …”

Sydney tries to adjust to her new life in Pennsylvania, and her new set of anger issues, a year after her father’s suicide. Sydney struggles to accept her best friend’s new, arrogant boyfriend.

At the start of the show, Sydney runs in the middle of the night, soaked in blood (but we don’t see how she came to be soaked in blood). Sydney vents about her father’s suicide, jokes about being an axe murderer and threatens to beat up a boy who bullies her younger brother.

A group of teen boys make crude jokes about sex, arousal, erections and genitals during their biology class. Dina, Sydney’s best friend, admits that she had sex with her boyfriend who took her “v-card.” Sydney flirts with Dina and later asks if she used a condom when she had sex with her boyfriend. Sydney talks about wanting to masturbate.

Sydney argues with her mom and is generally disrespectful. A teen boy offers to get high with a friend. Sydney’s mother drinks wine.

Jesus’ name is misused once. The f-word is used five times and the s-word is used seven times. Other profanity includes one or two utterances each of “a–,” “d–k head,” “h—” and “b–ch.”

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Kristin Smith

Kristin Smith joined the Plugged In team in 2017. Formerly a Spanish and English teacher, Kristin loves reading literature and eating authentic Mexican tacos. She and her husband, Eddy, love raising their children Judah and Selah. Kristin also has a deep affection for coffee, music, her dog (Cali) and cat (Aslan).

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