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Lined with red lockers, the red carpet premiere for Everything Sucks! transported guests back to what the creators call “the purgatory of high school.”
Set in the small town of Boring, Oregon, Everything Sucks! brings together students from the A/V and drama clubs, led by Jahi Winston and Peyton Kennedy. The show will tackle topics like dyslexia, single parenting and the everyday perils of being a teenager. And all of the action takes place 22 years in the past.
“It’s interesting because times may change, but things really don’t,” actor Patch Darragh, who plays the high-school principal and father of Peyton Kennedy’s character, told The Hollywood Reporter at Wednesday night’s New York premiere. “[The show] really felt like it was still very much something that was happening in the present.”
While references to music hits like “Wonderwall” by Oasis and oversized clothes are abundant in the coming-of-age tale, creators Michael Mohan and Ben York Jones insist that the nostalgia is strictly “surface-level.”
“Ultimately, it’s just a story about a very unlikely friendship, two characters searching for a sense of family,” Mohan, who also directed many of the episodes, explained. “So even though the music and the costumes and everything are very ’90s and nostalgic, the emotions are, hopefully, contemporary.”
To achieve this, Jones added that they used an ensemble cast “so anybody who watches it has some point of entry and some character that they could identify with.”
This isn’t Netflix’s first foray with nostalgic television shows. The streaming service’s hit Stranger Things features an ensemble cast of young actors and an ’80s setting. Netflix also has the reboot of popular ’80s and ’90s television show, Full House, in its lineup.
But while the ’90s has become a popular setting for TV series lately, including various true-crime dramas, Jones isn’t concerned about nostalgia fatigue.
“There are a lot of shows that are similar to ours throughout television history,” he said. “This is just a new version, a new incarnation, a new class.”
All 10 episodes of the first season of Everything Sucks! start streaming on Feb. 16.