So my high school experience is about 99% complete and suffice it to say after a lifetime of being submerged in pop culture surrounding this mythical time in a young person’s life, it has completely failed me.
My high school experience was not a classic coming-of-age film or like any teen book I ever read, nor was it anything an article in Seventeen could possibly have prepared me for. My high school experience was more like a low-budget comedy sitcom that was canceled after the first season. It has a pretty good cast, but the plot is, quite frankly, terrible. I mean, nothing ever happens. There are way too many shots of the main character just lying on the floor, staring up at the ceiling, while some kind of soft, sad indie music plays in the background.
Most of the conflict and action is internal and it doesn’t really translate to the screen well. The show is marked by awkward dialogue and a lack of a real storyline. The conversations can be uncomfortable, the main character can be frustrating. Sometimes you wonder whether she is capable of empathy or any emotion at all, and then the next moment you realize the reason you hate her so much is because she is the manifestation of all your own flaws, staring back at you, and then you’re quietly sobbing in front of your television. The characters are all infuriating, and they all let you down, and that’s how you know it’s true to life.
It is pretty funny, sometimes, in a bitterly ironic way. There is a lot of subtle humor and inside jokes most people probably wouldn’t get the first time around. I appreciate that. Sometimes, though, it was just laughably bad. There’s a lot of falling and people injuring themselves, which somehow doesn’t stop being funny after four years.
There are a few subplots that are actually more interesting than the main one. The lovably idiosyncratic minor characters provide much entertainment amid a main plot rather devoid of action.
The soundtrack is pretty solid, too, probably one of the most redeemable parts of the show. There’s a wide variety of music, but it works. It’s paired with skilled cinematography and the result is a number of really sublime scenes where nothing happens but you still feel it’s somehow contributing to the narrative.
Overall, I’m not really sad this show is over. It had its moments, to be sure, but all the actors are moving onto better things. If for some reason you feel like reminiscing about your own days as a sarcastic teenager with no clue about anything in the world, then, sure, I recommend it. It could have been a lot worse. Three out of five stars. 30