Kathryn Graham Sees Netflix’s ‘Everything Sucks’ (And Loves It)

 

by Kate Graham

All I knew about Netflix’s Everything Sucks going in was that it contained a hefty dose of 90’s nostalgia. And boy does Everything Sucks love the 90’s. Especially its music.

Anything after that was a surprise for me, and I love that, as it’s increasingly harder to walk into a show and not have a good idea of what’s going on. So let me give you the vague review first.

If you love: the 90’s, heart-warming content, sincere storytelling, humor, fun characters with good hearts, adorable actors, and queer stories, then put Everything Sucks at the top of your queue.

Want a little more? Here’s the basic start:

It takes place in Boring, Oregon, which is, this is true, a sister city to Dull, Scotland. World’s cutest high school freshman, Luke O’Neill, develops a crush on the principal’s daughter: Kate Messner, and he pursues her with the help of his mad A/V skills.

Now let’s get into **spoilers!**

—SPOILER ALERT—SPOILER ALERT—SPOILER ALERT—

Turns out that Kate’s a lesbian, and navigating this, and her friendship with Luke forms the backbone of the first season. Both Luke and Kate are a breath of fresh air in the high school dramedy scene in just how realistic they both are, as well as the fact that Luke is a nerdy black boy and Kate is unapologetically gay.

Luke, Kate, and Luke’s friends Tyler and McQuaid team up with drama king and queen Oliver and Emaline to produce Romeo and Juliet in space. Which is exactly as amazing as it sounds. Kate’s dweeby sweetheart of a father, Mr. Messner, gets closer to Luke’s mother, Ms. O’Neill, and Luke, aspiring director, deals with the fact that his father abandoned him so many years ago to chase a Hollywood dream.

When it comes to the supporting cast, there’s so much to love. Like the fact that Tyler is a nerd who has trouble in school. Yes, that’s right, not all nerds are super smart! Leslie, Kate’s sort-of-friend, is an especially realistic kind of awkward and judgemental. McQuaid’s confusion about social cues is played with greater depth than is most often seen. Kate’s crush, Emaline, is at first a ‘psycho drama chick’, but by the end, I’ll bet you love her almost as much as Kate does.

At first, I wasn’t sure how to feel about the nostalgia. It hits you pretty hard up front. But very quickly I found myself singing along to every song. So if you remember jamming out to artists like Oasis, Tori Amos, and Ace of Base, or if you still do, then I’ll meet you at the living room karaoke bar.

And that finale? It made me so happy I was smiling all damn day.

This show is like a glamorized version of my high school years. I had a Luke and an Emaline. I knew a McQuaid and a Leslie. I wore the flannel. I had the dumb posters of guys up in my room until I realized I didn’t give a damn about any of it and tore them down. And yes, my name is Kate. (Though I went by Kat most often back then). It makes it so much more personal than any high school show I’ve ever seen, and so it holds a place in my heart like very little else.

Thank you, Everything Sucks. You’re my wonderwall.

If we get a second season, here’s my wishlist/predictions.

**Bonus Mega Spoilers!**

—MEGA SPOILER ALERT—MEGA SPOILER ALERT—MEGA SPOILER ALERT—

Even if Kate’s dad is okay with who she is (if he isn’t at first for some reason, he will be), Emaline’s might not be. I get the sense that Emaline’s family is not particularly supportive or kind given the way that she so desperately needs attention and love.

In season two (should we be so lucky), I want to see them address the fact that Emaline feels the need to tailor herself to her partner. Kate-Emaline is infinitely sweeter than Oliver-Emaline, but she’s still making herself into the person she’s dating. She’s still trying on an identity that she thinks will appeal to a person she needs to love her. Frickin’ cute as that is with Kate, because Kate actually adores her, it’s definitely something that she needs to work through. If that leads us back to Emaline’s home life, I will personally be riveted.

I’m sure Leeroy’s return will be a major storyline. Although it doesn’t grab me initially as a concept, especially since Luke seems to have already dealt with his father issues/rejected his father’s philosophy, I trust that they can do something interesting with it. Perhaps it’ll be much more about Leeroy growing as a person than his son.

They’ve thrown out threads for Leslie’s utter isolation. A potential return of Oliver (hopefully he’ll get his for being such a jerk). Tyler still can’t read. There’s plenty to explore, and if there’s a second season, above all, I hope that they don’t fall into the trap of a lot of second seasons: please introduce new storylines instead of re-treading old ones, let the characters grow and deal with new issues. Past that, give me the same sincerity, lots more lesbian romance, compassionate characters, and an f-ton of 90’s songs, and I’ll stand by you.

And I’ll never desert you. I’ll stand by yoooooouuuuu…


Kathryn Graham is a TVWriter™ Contributing Editor and a Fine Writer Of All Things. Learn more about Kate HERE

Kate G’s Top 5 Queer Lady Couples – Happy V-Day!

by Kathryn Graham

Ah, February 14th, that special day each year when our thoughts turn to Aphrodite, Eros, and Love. And, for me, the loving couples of television that have influenced me over the years. Here are my Top 5, with appreciation to everyone who played a part in the creation of their legends!

1. Xena: Warrior Princess – Xena & Gabrielle

In a time of ancient gods, subtext, and censorship, there was Xena & Gabrielle. Never an official couple, these two were ‘soulmates’ who reincarnated with each other time and time again, and then got married when Xena was reincarnated as a man in the present day. Pfft. (They ‘corrected’ this in later seasons? Kind of?)

There’s also gems like this:

That’s Gabrielle giving Xena some water, by the way. Mmhm.

Why do I love ‘em? Xena turned me gay. (Okay, that’s not true, but it’s fun to say). The bond between these two is unbreakable, lasts through the ages, and they both kick ass. What more could you want, except, you know, actual confirmation of their relationship.

2. The 100 – Clarke & Lexa

These two powerful leaders fell in love as they tried to corral their respective idiots into some kind of peaceful alliance.

Then they friggin’ killed Lexa in the worst way, and I couldn’t watch the show anymore.

They’re still one of my favorites, though, and there’s a part of me that’s glad they made this catastrophically bad decision. I did sit there for weeks wondering if the world would ever change, but…

Then we got ClexaCon: a whole convention named after them dedicated to queer women on and behind the screen. LGBTQ Friends Deserve Better. A huge donation to the Trevor Project. I even got a few friends out of the deal, so…

Why do I love ‘em? This is still a beautifully crafted and acted love story with two awesome characters. Too bad it crapped out at the end. Womp womp.

3. Supergirl – Alex & Maggie

Alex was my favorite from the start, and once she was revealed to be a lesbian, I knew she’d always hold a special place in my heart. Her process of discovering herself was well done and heart-warming, and I can’t get over how adorkable Alex can be in romance.

Plus, despite some slip-ups, the people who work on this show actually listen to queer fans. Example: Typically, after a death (or in this case a breakup), we don’t see the character we’re still watching give more than a couple figs about it.

Not Alex Danvers. They let Alex grieve the end of her relationship for so long that even I want her to move on. Bonus? It proves that Alex loves deeply. So give her a new girl! She deserves to be happy.

Why do I love ‘em? They’re delightful. This is objective fact. Can we, maybe… nail down these actresses (like Floriana Lima) earlier so they stick around?

4. Wynonna Earp – Waverly & Nicole

These two are the reason I started watching Wynonna Earp. When The 100 shot everyone down, Wynonna Earp was there to hand out bulletproof vests. Turns out I love the titular character, Wynonna, and the quirky humor. Came for the lesbians, stayed for the revenant slayin’. And the lesbians.

If Supergirl’s folks are aware of their fanbase, Wynonna Earp is next level. Their showrunner, Emily Andras, wholeheartedly supports queer rep. She’s pretty much a member of the family. What else did we expect from one of the showrunners of Lost Girl?

Why do I love ‘em? They’re both huge dorks, and very sweet together. Their couple portmanteau is “Wayhaught”, but I usually find them “way-cute”.

5. Legend of Korra – Korra & Asami

Although the couple didn’t feature into the show itself, they were heavily implied by the last image of the finale and later confirmed by the creators. And, unlike J.K. Rowling’s declarations of Dumbledore’s sexuality, the comic book continuation of Legend of Korra: Turf Wars does depict them as a couple.

Because they had to fly under the radar at Nickelodeon, a bunch of whiners complained about how the couple ‘came out of nowhere’. Now that I think about it, this is actually another point in Korra & Asami’s favor. I love watching morons weep.

Why do I love ‘em? Genius inventor/entrepreneur? Check. The friggin’ Avatar? Check. They’re a power couple, and they rock. Kudos to Korra for stepping up in the animation arena as best they could.

Whether you’re queer or ‘living an alternate lifestyle’, on your own, coupled up, or trupled up, Happy Valentine’s Day, friends!


Kathryn Graham is a TVWriter™ Contributing Editor, People’s Pilot Winner, and a Fine Writer Of All Things. Learn more about Kate HERE

Kathryn Graham: Deconstructing Supergirl & Homophobia

by Kathryn Graham

*** CAUTION! Mild spoilers for Supergirl if you are 11 weeks behind. ***

Last week, I was perusing a comment section on TV Guide regarding Alex & Maggie’s breakup on Supergirl. One fella, let’s call him Major Homophobe, said he was glad it was over. The show ‘isn’t about lesbians’ and now they could ‘get back to what it’s really about’.

It’s a typical criticism: I don’t watch this show for kissing! I watch for punching! There’s too much damn romance in this show!

Funny how it’s only mentioned when the couple are same sex.

I have news for for the Major. The show he loves is about both punching and kissing no matter who’s doing it, and I can show you how.

Supergirl follows classic structure with A, B, and C stories.

A Story – Supergirl and her allies fight some evil-doer(s). This will most often center Supergirl herself.

B Story – Conflict in someone’s romantic life, family, or friendships. Up close and personal.

C Story – Something short, sweet, and sometimes silly. Kind of a wild-card. Defined by having the least amount of screen time.

Specific Examples:

Season 1 Episode 12 – Bizarro

A Story – Maxwell Lord tries to ruin Supergirl’s reputation by releasing an evil Bizarro version of her on National City.

B Story – Kara navigates her budding romance with Adam under the watchful eye of his mother (and her boss): Cat Grant.

C Story – Winn helps James come to terms with his feelings for Kara.

Season 2 Episode 9 – Supergirl Lives

A Story – Without her powers, Supergirl must fight to free herself, Mon-El, and a group of humans before they are sold into slavery.

B Story – Alex blames herself for Supergirl’s capture and tries to break up with Maggie.

C Story – Winn almost dies on a mission with Guardian and needs to find the courage to get back in the field.

All three stories intersect and cross with each other, but they are the main threads.

Romance is typical B-Story. The Major sees it in nearly every show, book, and video game. If it was missing, he’d know something was gone. It’s a part of our lives. It’s important to so many of us. Why wouldn’t it be in our stories?

If you’re like Major, there are only a few options for why you would complain about queer romances ‘taking over’ a show you like:

  • You have no earthly idea how the stories you’re watching work. (Hope this helps.)
  • You hate romance in general – straight, gay, etc – and wish there wasn’t so much of it everywhere. (You have my sympathies.)
  • You’re being disingenuous about your discomfort and/or dislike of queer people. (I see what you’re doing.)

Maybe you didn’t see this before. Heterosexual romances are so ubiquitous that, to you, they’re window dressing. You feel the space queer romances take up because you haven’t encountered them before.

Maybe you, like the Major, are just dodging the fact that you don’t want to see any queer romance because you’re uncomfortable with it.

I’d ask you to consider that discomfort for a minute. If you can put it aside, even for a little while, you might be able to connect with stories and people in ways you never thought possible. I love Moulin Rouge. It’s a romance about a man and a woman. I don’t love it the way I would with two women as the leads (can someone make this?), but I still enjoy it.

If you still can’t do that, if you’re still uncomfortable, realize that this is how many queer people feel watching every. single. other. show. ever. It’s one show. You’ll be fine. I promise.

If you liked this article, or you’re curious to know more, I suggest hanging with me at ClexaCon in Las Vegas this April 5th – 9th! It’s a multi-fandom convention focused on queer women in the media. Everyone is welcome to attend. Not only will you have a lot of cool discussions along these lines, but Chyler Leigh, who plays Alex, is going to be there!


Kathryn Graham is a TVWriter™ Contributing Editor and a Fine Writer Of All Things. Learn more about Kate HERE

Kathryn Graham: ‘The Women’s March in LA’ Loves TV & Film

by Kathryn Graham

As if there was any doubt.

Here, from the rebel base last week, are a few photos of the Woman’s March in LA that I took exclusively for TVWriter™ fans.

We begin with Our General of the Resistance:

And continue to the beating of the Star Wars Rebel drum:

Enjoy the slideshow:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Thanks WGA! And thanks to the Women’s March!


Kathryn Graham is a TVWriter™ Contributing Editor and a writer to be reckoned with. Learn more about Kate HERE

Kathryn Graham: ‘You’re No Hemingway’

by Kathryn Graham

When I was a freshman at Marist College, I was deeply insecure about my writing.

I didn’t trust the people I knew who said I had talent. Of course they did, I thought, they loved me. They were hopelessly biased (hi mom!), and even if they wanted to be objective, they never could be.

I needed real answers. A psychic. A guru. I didn’t want to pour my time, my heart, my agony into something that was going to amount to nothing more than ‘personal growth’ (yuck, who needs that?)

So I looked for another, more impartial judge. I went to the Writing Lab.

The Writing Lab’s main purpose is to help students who have trouble writing papers or need an extra set of eyes on an assignment. It is not to be the arbiter of skill or to encourage young writers. But I didn’t know where else to turn.

The man on duty that day was a greying older gentleman. I don’t recall his name. I handed him some poems, short stories, some semi-fanfiction. At the time, I rarely wrote without being motivated by class assignments.

I’m sure that he was expecting to help people construct a simple paragraph that day, not to hold the dreams of a kid in his hands. This wasn’t something he was prepared to answer, and he was deeply uncomfortable. I pressed him anyway.

Did I have talent? Could I be a professional writer?

His verdict: “It’s no Hemingway.”

I admit what I gave him wasn’t the best writing in the universe. I was eighteen years old. I always had potential, but I needed a lot more work, more guidance, more learning. You know, education.

Still, he could have encouraged me to seek out someone who could help me improve. He could said ‘I see potential here’ even if he saw none. He could have at least commented on the fact that I could write in complete sentences.

Instead, he broke my heart.

I never should have asked him. It was stupid. I know that. It didn’t stop me from carrying that around like a ‘shard of glass’ that cuts me even now. That’s the problem with ‘knowing’ something in your mind. It doesn’t always communicate well to your heart.

Instead of giving me the validation that I craved, he inflicted on me the wound I’d asked for. I gave this random guy in the Marist College Writing Lab the edict of the gods, and he had found me lacking.

I’ve never read Hemingway. Or if I had, it hasn’t stuck with me. This certainly didn’t motivate me to start.

Fifteen years later, in an interesting twist, my dad setup a new writing laptop for me and named it “Hemingway”. I feel like there’s a message here, but I don’t know what it is.

I want to say something inspiring, like: I didn’t let him stop me! But, I kind of did. At the very least, I let him slow me down. This guy whose name I don’t even remember. This guy who didn’t deserve the power I gave him.

I’m not Hemingway. I don’t want to be. But I’m still here, still writing, still hurting, still starting and stopping, and going slower than I’d like. Still wondering if I’ll find an audience – a genuine human connection – and a career that I ‘wouldn’t trade for the world’.

In the end, I’m not that much different than that insecure kid now. I just have more help to push past it. I hope one day I forget all about it. Maybe it’ll never go away, and that’s all I can do. Take it and keep going, no matter how bad it feels.

For me, it at least reminds me to take extra care to be kind when someone presents me a piece of their soul. It’s the least I can do.

NOTE FROM LB: For the record, Kate, from my keyboard to your eyes: Hemingway sucks. Just another moderately talented show off who parlayed his ability to make his life sound like one God would’ve wanted to lead into a highly overrated literary career. If I told you, “You’re no Hemingway,” I’d mean it as a compliment.

ANOTHER NOTE FROM LB: So I think I will. Congratulations, Kate! You’re no Hemingway!


Kathryn Graham is a TVWriter™ Contributing Editor and munchman’s secret fav. Learn more about Kate HERE