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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

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March 4, 2024
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February 26, 2024
An inside look at Bobby B. Beacon’s insides. Illustrated by Bianca Oppedisano/ Mass Media Staff.
Bobby's Inside Story
February 26, 2024

“The End of the F***ing World” is Netflix’s Newest Phenomenon—Or is It?

It seems that with every new year another show takes the Netflix viewing population by storm. I think everyone can easily recall the endless hype surrounding “Stranger Things” upon the release of each of its two seasons. Arguably, the attention was well earned with a stellar cast, heartwarming characters, and a unique blend of science fiction and drama. With a little bit of Dungeons & Dragons thrown in, of course. 
While “Stranger Things” experienced unprecedented publicity, 2018’s “The End of the F***ing World” seems to have garnered a bit more controversy. 
Based on a graphic novel by Charles Forsman, the British Netflix Original was created by Jonathan Entwistle. In feel, it falls somewhere between the cult classic “Twin Peaks” (1990) directed by David Lynch, and the renowned comedic coming of age film “Juno.” Seems like an odd pairing? Well, when the plot surrounds a 17 year-old boy coming to the conclusion that he’s a psychopath, the comparison can’t be ignored. 
To set the stage, protagonist James is 17 and fairly certain that his thought processes are slightly skewed. Portrayed by Alex Lawther, James is attempting to determine who will be his first victim at the onset of the series. Enter Alyssa, played by Jessica Barden, a fellow 17 year old who oozes snark and “doesn’t trust people who fit in.” Together, they embark on an impromptu quest of self-discovery. Alyssa is convinced she could love James—all the while James is contemplating if, when, and how he will kill her. 
Seems dark, doesn’t it?
Evidently, according to those enamored by the show, this darkness supplies ample room for comedic relief. It’s a twist on the classic misfit tale. A twist that has received mixed reviews. It seems to have either completely endeared itself to audiences or driven them away. Arguably, murder is nothing to make light of, and neither is being a psychopath. Haters appear to have taken this stance, accrediting their dislike to the show’s so-called perversion of mental illness and its unrealistic nature. 
However, for those of you who didn’t find “The End of the F***ing World” entertaining for this reason, what makes “Stranger Things” any more feasible? 
When one takes a step back to look at the series in its entirety as opposed to limiting their vision to the two main characters, an overarching theme of loneliness becomes clear. People all over the show are isolated and seeking to connect with one another. This correlates perfectly with—I’ll refrain from spoiling completely—James’s revelation towards the end of the relatively short eight episode season. 
In the eyes of critics, the show has made quite a name for itself, maintaining a solid 97 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes since its initial release on U.K. television stations. Of course, its following only increased once it became available on Netflix to viewers abroad. It has been heralded for its vision, which can only be attributed to Entwistle’s creativity and persistence. While it exhibits minor plot deviation from Forsman’s original novel, there seems to have been acceptance enough to surpass without too much of a struggle.
The ending is a double edged sword, simultaneously annoying and satisfying. The conclusion doesn’t leave too much material for a second season, but shows have surpassed that obstacle before in order to answer the call of popular demand. Think “13 Reasons Why.” Being that eight episodes is hardly a commitment in comparison to the 13 seasons of Grey’s Anatomy, I would highly suggest giving it a try if you’re in search of a new binge watch fix.