“It’s like Moonrise Kingdom… if everyone was bat-sxxt crazy!” – K (2018)
Netflix released its new Original Series this January and boy is it something. The 8 Episode, roughly 20 minutes a piece dark comedy love story is an easy watch that’s a lot of fun. You can easily watch them all in one sitting and hopefully have a good time. So, what exactly is this show about? Here’s a quick rundown:
“James is typical high school boy… if you consider a lust for murder typical. He meets Alyssa who, frustrated with life finds comfort in James’ unusual personality. Alyssa enlists James to runaway with her and find her birth father while James schemes about the possibility of murdering her”
Takes you right back to Junior year, doesn’t it? The enjoyment of watching these characters comes to give a lot of credit to the actors. Alex Lawther (James) which if you haven’t seen his season 3 episode of Black Mirror “Shut Up and Dance” go watch it because it’s really good. Jessica Barden (Alyssa) who you might recognize from a minor role in The Lobster is delightfully vulgar. The two characters have a really interesting dynamic, the polarity in which they contrast but still find a rooted commonality in their misfit-hood is endearing. The characters are also dynamic characters, they’re always trying to adjust and figure out their reality, and it’s quite entertaining when we see how hard it is to do so when the world is always vapidly being turned on it’s head time and time again.
The series is littered with over the top antics of production design. Whether it’s the quirky costume design, the excessive practical effects, or weird quirks likes flashbacks taking place in a squared aspect ratio the design aspect of this series certainly keeps you on your toes. The frequently used semantic of voice over has a charming effect throughout as the thoughts of these two characters are always intriguing. I also thought it was funny how, a bit of screenwriter advice I got was that if you ever want the audience to hate a character, the easiest way to do so is have them kill a dog and they did exactly that on this show.
Now I’m not going to go into specifics of what happened but how I interpreted things or felt about the ending and other over-arching attributes that is mild spoiler territory if you regard that as so. Continuing I felt the brevity of the entire series is ultimately unfortunate. I feel like if the goal is to leave the audience wanting more than mission accomplished. But with the quick pace and short length It leaves me thinking that we severely lacked any sort of investment or gained any sort of attachment to this series. It’s weird because with syndication you had to spend years anticipating and committing to watch these particular shows everyone weekend they premiered and with this show you just sit down and binge a couple hours and you’ve seen it all and your done with it. With this lack of longevity I want to treat it like a film or a mini-series but I can’t because of the ending.
Then there is the ending which again watch it yourself, this is certainly to encourage you to do so, but the problem that a lot of Netflix and streaming shows suffer is that since they’re all shots in the dark on whether or not they’ll be successful or gain that cultural relevance because they are more experimental concepts; what they do is that the first season just becomes a self-obtained mini series that tries to both have a satisfying conclusion for that niche market but open enough that if the show gains a certain level of popularity they can “continue” it to please it’s massive following. So you end up with a half-baked finale, half-baked cliff hanger that really isn’t that satisfying either way.
I’m sure this tale could exist as sort of a literal interpretation (that’s kind of how allegories work aronofsky!) but given the sheer oddity of it I felt that there could be a deeper interpretation. I think more so than anything this series was supposed to be a love story. I took it as both the main characters are downright horrid people, and in being so I think they become caricatures of the worst qualities in romance of men and women. Alyssa is emotional loud, attached, and vulnerable. James is the other kind of awful: quiet, despondent, and reserved. The show almost has an oedipal complex in how Alyssa highly regards her father as James does with his mother. Alyssa displays being too impulsive, while James is too meticulous. However, ‘The End of the Fxxxing World’ gives us something beautiful in how these opposites, representations of how despicable each end of the spectrum of humanity can be still find love.
That’s my quick thoughts on The End of the Fracking World, indeed Fracking is bad and you shouldn’t do it without a permit. In all seriousness let me know what you thought of the show, any interpretations of your own, or if you hated this show let me know ( I would say I overall found it charming, glad I watched it but probably not the most amazing thing ever. All the critic reviews right now are overwhelmingly positive so let me here your outrage if you no like.) Thanks to anyone reading, I always appreciate ya, and as always I will see you at the end of the Fxxxing World.