I thought I'd write a quick review of a miniseries I just watched on Netflix. The End Of The F***ing World is what I'd call a modern "Bonnie And Clyde" tale. In eight twenty-or-so minute episodes, we follow James and Alyssa on a series of adventures and mishaps through the suburbs and rural England. The story was originally conceived as a graphic novel and admittedly I haven't read it. Graphic novels don't often land on my radar, so I'm not surprised this one slipped through the cracks as well. Throughout the eight episodes, the audience is privy to the inner monologues of both James and Alyssa. Where they might say or do something out loud, their inner voices are oftentimes at odds. As there's only twenty or so mins per and a bit more thantwo hours overall, the story moves quickly, doesn't waste time on useless information, and really adds to the frenetic story being told.
James is a psychopath, or at least he thinks he is. By seventeen, he's killed and collected various small animals ranging from butterflies to the neighbour's cat. Alyssa is a rebel who oftentimes to her detriment says what she thinks. The two meet at their school when she comments on how she's seen him skateboard but it's shit, and he tells her to fuck off. The delivery was dry and very funny. Both characters aren't pleased with their current situations in life. James' mom is not in the picture and he doesn't see eye to eye with his father. In a later episode, the realization of why that rift actually exists is poignant. Alyssa lives with her mom and stepfather. She refers to him as a "twat" repeatedly through the show, and it's implied that he's both not a fan of her and kind of a creep. I got the impression that the mother was simply a sad person trying to exist in this life she had, with a set of newborn twins and a husband that wasn't great. As such, our two main characters decide to break away from the mundane lives they lead. They steal James' father's car and run away.
The rest of the show focuses on what happens after they've run away. Some events happen to cause the two to end up being chased by the police as wanted criminals. We see bits of interaction between the police and the parents and these exchanges only strengthen the feel of their characters. Along the way, we are introduced to Lesley, the negligent father of Alyssa. Where she's been searching for answers her whole life, finding them in him is exactly what she didn't need in the end. Throughout the show, James and Alyssa stick it out together and it's clear that one is exactly what the other needs and vice versa. Several inner monologues confirm that these two feel alive when they are with each other and they can truly be themselves. I think this is really evidenced twice in the show, with both scenes seeing the two dancing.
In a tale that has a few chuckles but is more serious than anything else, The End Of The F***ing World is a story of two people being lost and finding exactly what they need. It might not be the answers they've been looking for, or the change of scenery so desperately needed, but rather the company of people that let them truly let their freak flags fly, to quote Luke Wilson from The Family Stone. Where they might realize this through rebellion, criminality, and a weird amount of animal cruelty, it's clear by the end that these two characters were written for each other. I think It's a great little show, moving very quickly and without hesitation. Lasting a bit longer than a full-length feature might, I'd definitely recommend giving up two and a bit hours to watch it. I enjoyed it and from all the ten-out-of-ten reviews on IMDb, it's clearly most everyone else did as well.