This new Netflix’s series is really something. I only watched it because it was 2018 production and there is not that much from 2018 on Netflix at the moment that I want to blog about, or there is but I watched it while I was sick so I was not really at my best and did not have much to say.
I have to say that this series was a super positive surprise, because I really did not expect a series that features lives of teenagers to tackle social issues so powerfully. What is more, the series is also very authentic for it does not only centre its story in the 1990s but it also plays music from the 1990s and depicts main features of the popular culture and society of that period.
In a nutshell, the story is centred on Luke (Jahi Winston) who falls in love with Kate (Peyton Kennedy). She is however lesbian afraid to come out as one, which does not come as a surprise for the period of the 1990s. She thus accepts to go out with Luke because she was ‘accused’ of being a lesbian and publicly shamed for it in their High school. She is not a type of person who can deceive a boy and lie to him or to herself so she admits that she is a lesbian when Luke tries to insist on kissing. She also shows confusion on her true orientation due to the lack of knowledge about what it means to be gay at the time, and she clearly fears the stigma that comes with it. Luke is even more ignorant and cannot accept that being lesbian is not something she could push aside and still be his girlfriend. Thus, he tries to ‘help’ her sort her orientation out by looking into books and participating in ridiculous tests, but still insists on the relationship. The series shows ups and downs in their relationship and this is portrayed really well.
On the other hand, we also follow a story of Luke’s mother and Kate’s father whom also fall in love, and face typical issues that single parents face. In other words, it is not easy to reconcile having a child and dating, as some children see a new partner as a threat. Thus, Luke does not react very positively to his mom’s relationship and we follow the development of this too.
Finally, the story also tackles the pain children feel when one parent abandons them and even stronger pain when they go and visit that parent only to realise they did not leave them for a good reason. What is even worse, they realise that the parent is quite a pleasant person to everyone else except to their own family, which causes additional pain.
The series offers a very good portrayal of both everyday issues that single parents and children face in their daily lives, as well as outstanding portrayal of 1990s popular culture and human rights issues of the time. In addition the series also shows the way society dealt with recognition of every human being having the right to live their life without having to hide who they are.
As Caroline Framke argued in the Vox (read the article) it truly does seem as the series is trying to appeal to Milleannials and make them fall in love with the 1990s, however, I think it is also appealing to other generations who lived during 1990s and who have nostalgia over a period when there were no smart phones and social media and yet we were all, funnily, much more social. This series thus shows what teenagers did when there was no advanced technology and that life was possible and fun without it. In a current world where many Milleannials would rather lose their sense of smell than their phones and when the attention span is on historically lowest level due to technology, this series is a remarkable reminder that what older generations are saying about life without technology is true.
While nobody wants to argue that modern technology did not bring many positives in our daily lives, it did take personal interaction to its lowest level. It was indeed always possible to have fun, and it is up to Millennials to try to explore other ways and join the nostalgia or even revive old trends. What are you waiting for? Watch this beauty!
Thank you for reading.