Everything Now is available to watch on Netflix.
It’s difficult to understand if you’re meant to relate to Everything Now. On the one hand, we’ve all had that intrusive, ever-looming inside voice of self-doubt whilst navigating an attempt at flirting or trying to put yourself out there. On the other hand, throwing house parties in disused mansions that are left somehow immaculately clean and having friends whose back gardens are multi-level with their own koi pond, not so much. This is just one of the many obstacles that plague the new coming-of-age series from Ripley Parker.
The show revolves around 16-year-old Mia Polanco’s recent discharge from hospital following a seven-month stint battling anorexia, immersing herself back into college life. After feeling substantially left behind on ‘the basics’ of teenage rites, sex, drugs, parties and more, Mia elects to make a ‘Fuck It Bucket’ in a bid to catch up on everything she’s missed out on. Rising superstar Sophie Wilde continues to impress, playing this fragmented glass pane of a person, just about glued back together but with shards invisibly loose, ready to cut those who come too close.
It feels like Parker is attempting to create a world that is the love child of both Sex Education and Skins, playful and witty but unafraid to delve into its darkness. Everything Now is often at its best when responding to Mia’s anorexia, especially as the fracture lines left on the Polanco family, including her brother, Alex. Sam Reuben’s carefully measured pain tugs at your heart through their siblings-to-strangers relationship in the show’s most engaging dynamic.
However, too many of Everything Now’s characters feel like rough sketches rather than actualized people hanging, fighting, and loving together. Harry Cadby’s Cameron floats through the stereotypes of an angsty teenage boy struggling to communicate. Noah Thomas’s Will and Lauryn Ajufo’s Becca fare better but still struggle to become fully formed – Will’s issues are constantly touched upon, only to disappear, while Becca feels perpetually anchored to Cameron. The tensions arising from the disconnect between Mia and her friends seem to fizzle out as quickly as they spark up, meaning that no conflict ever feels genuine, and many of the characters fail to develop throughout the show’s eight-episode run. They just bounce around from trope to trope instead. These talented performers are clearly punching up the material given, even whilst clunky dialogue and irregular arcs weigh them down.
The one standout of Mia’s friendship group is Niamh McCormack’s Alison. McCormack brilliantly plays with the all-too-girl cliché, leading many to likely write off Alison as yet another stereotype that we know what to expect from. However, her disarmingly charming chemistry alongside McCormack’s subtle but noticeable gestures subverts our expectations of her and leads to the show’s greatest moment. It’s a genuine fist-pump in the air of happiness and such an exciting shift in the show’s dynamic that you are fascinated to see where this new journey will take you. It’s just a shame that Everything Now never seems like it’s going to stick with the one exciting subversion that it gives a peek into, and much like the rest of the show, forces conflict, and 180-degree turns in character to arrive at all-too-predictable conclusions.
It feels as though Everything Now paints itself with shades of reality but never comes close to a complete picture. It’s soberingly real when we are confronted with the depths of Mia’s struggle with anorexia; a pivotal scene involving a whiteboard pen and Stephen Fry’s warmingly gentle Dr. Nell comes to mind. But when it comes to the high school life and times of the group, it feels like an outsider looking in – there’s no middle to the problems or conflicts that arise, just an unexpected beginning and an all-too-sudden ending. It’s a show so caught up in tackling personal problems, social issues and individual malaises that it only truly gets to the heart of a few.
Everything Now is so caught up in tackling personal problems, social issues and individual malaises that it only truly gets to the heart of a few.