By Adrienne Diaz
“I Am Not Okay With This” is a new Netflix television show based on the graphic novel of the same name created by Charles Forsman. It was released this February with seven episodes, each averaging about 20 minutes long making it easy to binge in one sitting. It was directed by Jonathan Entwistle, who has worked on other Netflix originals in the past, and features Sophia Lillis, who also starred in the “It” franchise.
The show’s main character is Sydney “Syd” Novak (Lillis), a 17 year old girl struggling with high school, her sexuality, and the death of her father. At the beginning of the first episode her school counselor gives her a diary for her to write down all of her feelings in order to cope with her anger outbursts. Throughout the episodes we get insight to Novak’s thoughts through her journal. Novak’s best friend Dina (Sofia Bryant), has helped her deal with all of this trauma, but when she starts dating a popular football player, their friendship begins to dwindle.
The loss of her best friend only causes further anger outbursts, during which she realizes that strange things keep occuring. It is not until she has an angry outburst and kills her brothers’ hedgehog that she realizes she has telekinetic powers. It is Stanley Barber (Wyatt Oleff), who discovers her powers and attempts to help her harness them.
The show begins with a stunning frame of the lead walking drenched in blood, which was incredibly eye catching. The cinematography and the soundtrack are hands down the best part of the show. All of the music is used with purpose and adds to the ambiance of the show as a whole. For example, in the final episode, after all of the chaos at homecoming, when Novak is walking away from the scene, the song “The Killing Moon” by Echo & the Bunnymen plays in the background. This seems to be a nod to the 2001 film “Donnie Darko,” a film also about a teenager dealing with school and issues at home as well as being followed by a giant demonic-looking rabbit named Frank. There are many parallels between the two, so the music choice was very fitting.
There were times, however, where the plot was a bit predictable and even cheesy. There were the jocks that bullied the “weird” kids and the trope of the well-loved football player cheating with the bad girl. The writing was phenomenal and incredibly witty at times, but at other times the excessive sarcasm was difficult to digest. In the first episode, there seemed to be many similarities between the show and “Stranger Things,” another famous show about a girl with superhuman abilities. This can be seen when Novak gives Dina’s new boyfriend a bloody nose, which is the trademark of Eleven, from “Stranger Things.”
However, with further watching, “I Am Not Okay With This” tells a story we have not seen before despite the similarities. Besides that, these aspects do not take away from the enjoyability of the show. It was still extremely captivating and keeps viewers coming back for more, especially after the cliffhanger in the last episode of the season.
The show has received many positive reviews from critics who are enjoying the angst and awkwardness of it.
“‘I Am Not Okay With This’ may not surprise audiences much, but it has charm and voice to spare. Bucking the streaming-TV bloat trend, it runs seven energetic episodes of around twenty minutes apiece,” James Poniewozik of the New York Times said.
One main thing about the show, especially for fans of the graphic novel, is that many plot points have been changed from the original comic. The original graphic novel was extremely gritty and dark. Therefore, the writers tried to make it more palatable for audiences watching. One major change was that the endings are entirely different. In the comic, Novak is overwhelmed with the guilt of her actions and ends up dying in a very gruesome way, however in the show it is revealed that the real story has just begun with a Novak meeting the mysterious man who has been following her after the mind-blowing incident at homecoming.
These changes were necessary, especially in terms of appeasing fans in the continuation of this story. Many of the themes in the show are incredibly dark already and if these changes weren’t made it would be criticized rather than praised. A second season for “I Am Not Okay With This” has not yet been confirmed, but many fans are hoping for one in order to not only continue the story, but tie up loose ends from the first season.