I Am Not Okay with This is a new Netflix series adapted from the graphic novel with the same name. It stars many new faces along with a few familiar ones. The show is centered around Sidney, a teenage girl who deals with many common issues people face, like her sexuality and the recent loss of her father. At the same time, Sidney is discovering that she has superpowers that are triggered when she becomes particularly angry. Her superpowers in the series serve to emphasise teenage emotions and the importance of everything that happens to a teenager on a grander scale. Sidney also cannot control her powers at all, the same way it is difficult to control emotions during teenage years. It is safe to say the coming-of-age and superpower themes go hand in hand.
The show has a similar aesthetic to that of other shows released by Netflix, like Stranger Things and Everything Sucks. The show is both charming and dark. Its charming side emulates the feel-good movies of the ’80s like Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, and it’s dark side emulates scarier classics like Nightmare on Elm Street.
Interestingly, many of the actors in the film were also cast in some other shows and movies with a similar aesthetic. Two of the main characters starred in It alongside other actors from Stranger Things, which arguably started the ’80s nostalgia trend after it became a major success. Within this genre, actors are often recast in similar productions.
The soundtrack to the series is amazing and jam packed with ’80s nostalgia. Similar to other Netflix shows like End of the F***ing World and Sex Education, I Am Not Okay with This uses music to bridge the gap between the retro aesthetic and the modern themes. There are an abundance of ’80s pop culture references, which make the show feel timeless in a way.
The appeal of the ’80s aesthetic is obvious, as it takes viewers to a time without recent technologies, like phones, which are often difficult to incorporate into a storyline in an interesting way. While accurately portraying current lifestyles is important, and technology is a prominent part of modern teen socializing, it isn’t something interesting or easy to portray onscreen. It is more effective to portray emotion without technology so an emphasis can be put on face-to-face relationships, which is what I Am Not Okay with This attempts to do.
The show being a medley between an older aesthetic and modern themes is perfectly okay, since the most important thing is that the content itself is unique and brings something interesting to the table.