Skip to main content

'Everything's Gonna Be Okay': The First Great TV Show of 2020

Freeform, the network formerly known as ABC Family, which was the network formerly known as Fox Family (for those of you born before 2000), has gradually rebranded itself as an aspirational (and more importantly, inclusive) entertainment entity for Gen Z ever since coming out in 2016 with a whole new look and name. Back then, it was announced that it would establish a focus on "becomers," a group ABC Family President Tom Ascheim had tried to describe by explaining, "The most important question that young people ask themselves as they're going from high school to their thirties is, 'Who am I becoming?' So we call the life stage 'becoming' and the people going through it Becomers."

And therein lies Everything's Gonna Be Okay, which effortlessly slides into those network brand pillars by centering on a group of very likable and relatable "Becomers." EGBOK is a tender, funny, and unapologetically awkward comedy, the likes of which you would get if Pen15Please Like Me (one of the best shows of the 2010s), and Catastrophe were to hook up in a throuple. Maybe that's because it's from executive producers of the latter two critically-acclaimed shows.

In fact, EGBOK fills in nicely as a thematic/spiritual sequel to Please Like Me, also created by star Josh Thomas. Here he plays Nicholas, an impish twentysomething from Australia whose visit to his biological American widower dad ends on a somber note: Dad has cancer and doesn't have long to live, and Nicholas ends up becoming the legal guardian of his two teenage half-sisters, autistic Matilda (Kayla Cromer), who's eager to start college and find romance with a kind jock, and awkward Genevieve (Maeve Press), a 14-year-old who's adjusting to the nerve-wracking politics of high school. And to make things even more confusing, Nicholas has just started a relationship with a cute and very understanding guy named Alex (Adam Faison, last seen in Hulu's slasher flick Midnight Kiss).

The first few episodes juggle a number of issues and scenes you'd rarely see in a television comedy ten years ago: Cancer, death, autism, menstruation, gay sex, teenage sexuality, alcohol, and drugs are all unabashedly on the table. Nothing is given the trite "afterschool special" treatment here. But nothing is depressingly bleak either; this is an easy half-hour for those looking for a lighter alternative to Euphoria.

Josh Thomas, basically playing the same character from PLM, is a refreshing sitcom figure, reluctantly stepping into a caregiver role with varying and naturally funny results. Here's hoping he finds more American fans (and that more Americans discover his previous work).

The rest of the cast and supporting players make for a uniquely authentic ensemble -- maybe because these teens look like actual teens. Cromer and Press beautifully capture the imperfect ways to manage high school while also dealing with the death of a parent ("I look like a child whore widow" is the best line from the pilot, delivered before an even more memorable funeral scene). Ivy Wolk, who plays one of Genevieve's frenemies, the Sia-mopped Tellulah, gets to spit out a few verbal barbs, but she never comes off as a complete mean girl. And Faison is the Perfect Boyfriend who finds himself as the unexpected fourth wheel in these siblings' messy lives. They're sloppy, they cry on each other's shoulders, and they have no idea how they're going to get through the next week.

They're a brave, new kind of modern family for a brave, new decade.

Everything's Gonna Be Okay airs Thursdays on Freeform.



Popular posts from this blog

The Class of '98 Turns 40

We are the Class of '98. We're a little too old to be Millennials, yet too young to be GenXers. As of now, half of our lives has lived in one century while the other half lives and moves forward in another. For us, Cabbage Patch Dolls were the 80s, Tamagotchi was the 90s, and Napster was the dawn of the 00s. We grew up with cassette tapes and Saturday morning cartoons. We came of age with CGI dinosaurs and the rise of the Frappucino. And we approach middle age with memes, reboots, and viral videos all designed to distract us from middle age. We were too young to fully understand the words "Challenger explosion." We were too young to appreciate the fall of the Berlin Wall. But by the time places like Waco, Oklahoma City, and Littleton pinged on everyone's radar, we started to grasp how scary the world could be. Our adolescence was defined by jagged little pills, prescriptions from Dr. Dre, and the fact that some of us were naughty by nature. We learned t

13 Things You Probably Didn't Know About 'The Golden Girls'

When one nostalgically binges on all seven seasons of The Golden Girls like me (I swear I have a life), you pick up on a few things. Certain patterns appear as you continuously witness the consumption of countless cheesecakes inside a fictitious Miami kitchen and hear one St. Olaf story too many. Here's what I noticed after playing my DVDs of this 80s classic over the past several months ( and if you're already familiar with the following factoids, excuse me for underestimating your fanaticism )... 1. Actor Harold Gould, who played Rose's long-term boyfriend Miles Webber from Season 5 to Season 7 (and throughout most of the short-lived spinoff,  The Golden Palace ), also appears in the first season as Arnie Peterson, Rose's first serious beau after her husband's death. 2. The same can be said for Sid Melton, who played Sophia's deceased husband Sal (in flashbacks and dream sequences). He also appears in a Season 6 episode as a jester in a medieval-

Just Because: 9 Music Videos That Take Place in Laundromats

It's one of the biggest music video tropes that's rarely explored in pop culture. The public laundromat has become a go-to location for artists when making a music video for a single they wish to sell to the masses. But WHAT IS IT about a space where ragtag groups of strangers gather to fluff and fold their delicates? Is it the obvious metaphor of dirty versus clean? The scintillating possibility of people stripping off their clothes for a wash? I was feeling a little nostalgic (as usual) and took a look at some of the vids that have fallen under the spell of spin cycles over the past 30 years... "EVERY HEARTBEAT" / AMY GRANT (1991) Back in the early 90s, the Christian pop tart followed up her massively successful "Baby Baby" with "Every Heartbeat," a personal childhood favorite of yours truly  (the Body & Soul Mix, of course). In one of the two vignettes featured in the video, a laundry-toting hottie attempts to flirt with a young