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Netflix’s “I Am Not Okay with This” is Mind-blowing… Literally

As an avid consumer of supernatural adventures and awkward high school dramas, I finished the new Netflix series I Am Not Okay with This in just a few hours. Holy crap! It was amazing! From the producers of Stranger Things and the director of The End of the F***ing World, this new show came out on February 26, and currently only has seven 20-minute episodes in its first season. It seems that there is expected to be a second season, as the first story mostly follows an expository arc, hinting at much more to come. Now, let’s talk about I Am Not Okay with This!

I Am Not Okay with This (IANOWT for the sake of length) follows the life of 17-year old Sydney Novak, or Syd, who is straight up not having a good time right now. She has problems at home as she has been constantly fighting with her mother since her father’s suicide. She also has a crush on her best friend Dina, who started dating an obnoxious jock. Meanwhile, she begins to connect with her neighbour Stanley, who is absolutely delightful but develops an unrequited crush on Syd. All this happens while she discovers she can move things with her mind when she gets angry, which happens A LOT.

Sydney has experienced a lot of trauma. She’s a closeted bisexual and she’s trying not to let her anger issues control her new superpowers. I don’t think being compared to a comic book by Stanley is too helpful either, but Sydney tries to deal with it all. Her school counselor suggests that Syd tries to channel her anger in a diary, and often the audience is read segments from it when something interesting happens. Although Stanley finds her life mega interesting, Sydney is less enthused by her powers and recognizes the danger they pose to others in her life. What’s more is she can’t control them very well.

Also, it is worth mentioning the show’s stars. The two main actors are known from the It movies; Sophia Lillis plays Sydney and Wyatt Oleff plays Stanley.

Although most of the show follows Sydney’s daily life, a few scenes cut away to follow Stan, the absolute crowd favourite. Stan is the Steve Harrington, the Eric Effiong, the John Ambrose McClaren, the Augustus Waters of IANOWT; maybe this is a more subjective list, but my point is we love them! According to Sydney’s narration, “Where I feel shitty about basically everything about myself, Stan is the master of zero fucks.” Good for Stan. He collects VHS tapes, smokes weed and asks  awkward Would You Rather questions. I know I’m not selling him very well, but trust me, Stanley Barber is an absolute bean. Maybe even a cinnamon roll. He is trying his best to be a good friend, and everyone can use that in their lives. Anyway, Stan’s nervous around Sydney so it’s hard to not love his charm. He also gives us an outside perspective on her powers at some points, which is a nice change of pace.

While IANOWT is a great show in its own right, I found some fun parallels with other supernatural shows. In IANOWT, the opening scene of nearly each episode is a tracking shot of Sydney running towards the camera, wearing a white dress covered in blood. A police siren sounds in the background, heading towards the crime Sydney’s trying to escape. Before even seeing the show, one can draw parallels to the Stephen King novel, and subsequently film and musical, Carrie. Before knowing the show’s title, I actually asked my friend if she was watching a Carrie remake. For those who aren’t aware, Carrie also follows a girl with telekinetic powers and lots of social issues, featuring an iconic scene of the titular character at prom covered in blood. She then goes on to use her powers to kill everyone in the school, so I can’t say I wasn’t suspicious when I saw Sydney running along in a bloody dress. We’ll see what happens from there!

Another little parallel I noticed was to Stranger Things, which, in case you’re out of the loop, also features a girl with telekinetic powers.  Eleven gets a bloody nose whenever she uses her abilities. In IANOWT, one of the first times Sydney realizes her powers is when she telekinetically gives another character a bloody nose. The visual effects in the show are also similar to Stranger Things, but that could be due to the shared Netflix standard.

Anyway, I’ve tried not to spoil too much of IANOWT, but I definitely think it’s a show worth watching. There are some really cool effects, lots of awkward high school moments and some real feel-good moments too. However, I have a feeling that season one is just a taste of the story yet to come, and I hope that the future brings some better experiences for Sydney Novak.

Rebecca So

Wilfrid Laurier '23

Rebecca is a third-year Communication Studies student at Wilfrid Laurier University, also working towards a minor in Creative Writing. She's been a writer for Her Campus since Winter 2020. In her free time, Rebecca can be found listening to musicals, playing video games with friends or contemplating various ways to develop the characters she writes about.
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