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The End of The F***ing World: a review

Ramya Kumar, Arts and Entertainment Editor

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From Emmy-award winners like “The Crown” and “Stranger Things” to reboots of fan-favorites like “Fuller House”, Netflix originals have dominated the list of shows people binge-watch. A Netflix original that has gained immense popularity, particularly amongst the adolescent viewers of the streaming service is the limited series “The End of the F***ing World”. The short 8 episodes of the first season follow the lives of two teenagers, one boy and one girl, who decide to throw caution to the wind and run away from their lives. The show, to some viewers, might be misconstrued as a graphic, bleak description of two teenagers’ depressing mental breakdowns. To others, particularly adolescent viewers, the show is a humorous satire, poking fun at the unpredictability and arrogance of teenagers and their behaviors.

The show’s initial scene is a shot of James, with his monotone voice narrating in the back, “I’m James, I’m 17, and I’m pretty sure I’m a psychopath”. The show satirizes teenage anger, overall dissatisfaction with the world, and ever-present superiority complex. Teenagers obviously know everything there is to know about the world, about themselves, and about everyone. At 17 years old, James is a self-diagnosed psychopath; at 11 years old he stuck his hand in a heated deep-fryer in order to feel something; at 15 years old, James killed his neighbor’s cat for fun, inciting his killing spree of many other animals. James tells the viewers of his life story using these details in a completely unfluctuating voice as the show suddenly cuts from scene to scene in accordance to what he is describing. The humor in James’ life is not obvious to readers of this article, however, the show’s method of filming manages to transform what should be the bleak background story of a tortured boy into a comical look at the way teenagers believe they have everything about themselves figured out at such a young age. The end of James introduction is his voice telling viewers, “School is beneath me, but it’s a good place for observation…” The feeling of being above school is one to which all too many teenagers can relate.

Enter Lily, the 17- year- old cool girl, also too cool for school. Throughout the show, Lily behaves in a manner that too obviously demonstrates her lack of care for what other people think about her. She speaks every thought on her mind, uses overly profane language simply for the fun of it, and goes after what she wants. Lily’s outer personality embodies everything teenagers wish they had the confidence for. However self-assured she may be on the outside, Lily is damaged and insecure on the inside; her coping mechanism to her horrible life at home has lead to the arrogant, often irritating character she displays to the rest of the world. Putting on an act,  assuming a disguise, and hiding one’s true inner self is a staple of adolescence.

The show’s sharp satirical edge makes for a cleverly entertaining series. Lily’s voiceover tells the audience, “I feel safe with him [James]”; James wonders to the audience immediately afterwards “I wonder how I should kill her…” The show repeatedly places sentimental moments immediately before or after crude, off-putting scenes, satirizing the dual nature of the teenage mind as well as creating an amusing atmosphere in which the audience is able to laugh at ideas that would not be funny outside the context of the show, such as the idea of a 17-year-old planning his murder of another human being, one that is apparently in love with him.

As the show progresses, Lily and James both open up more to the audience, through their voice overs, while simultaneously becoming closer to each other, indicating an increasing level of comfort between the fictional characters of the show and the viewers.

“The End of the F***ing World” is a show which allows viewers to simultaneously appreciate the messy beauty of and mock the foolish arrogance of the ever-so-troublesome teenage years. Everything about the show is incredibly well-done. From the perfectly fitting soundtrack and flawless acting performances to the witty dialogue and beautiful cinematography, “The End of the F***ing World” is a show worth watching.

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The End of The F***ing World: a review