From re-emerging fashion trends to television reboots, '90s nostalgia is swirling all around us. And Netflix capitalizing on that with its newest original series Everything Sucks! With so many relatable moments weaved throughout the show, many fans are wondering: is Everything Sucks! based on a true story?
Set in Boring, Oregon, the series is "a quirky, funny coming of age story that revolves around Boring High School’s A/V Club and Drama Club — two crews of nerdy-edgy outsiders, who join forces to make a movie and endure the purgatory known as high school," according to Netflix's description. While Everything Sucks! isn't based on any specific true story, its characters and their circumstances feel very real and relatable.
In order to make the show feel authentic to viewers, co-creators Michael Mohan and Ben York drew from their own experiences as teens growing up in the '90s, according to an interview with Variety. “We come from the world of independent film, and everything we do, we try to make it as honest as possible," Mohan said. "If we’re going to make a show about high school, we wanted to set it in the time we were in high school, which was the ’90s. We knew we could make it the most honest show possible.”
Seeing as many of the actors weren't yet born when it was the '90s, they watched movies and listened to music from that era. “We all memorized and fell in love with (the Oasis single) ‘Wonderwall,’" actress Sydney Sweeney — who plays Emaline on Everything Sucks! — told Variety. “It was one of those songs that, on our wrap day, we started crying and singing out loud as we were riding on the bus back home.”
But although the show features many quirky elements and items that millennials who grew up in the '90s will find familiar, the creators stress that Everything Sucks! is ultimately about the humanity of its characters. “The '90s aspect is surface," co-creator Jones told Variety. "It’s music, Tamagotchis, it’s snap bracelets, yes, but ultimately the show is about our characters and their interpersonal relationships. Human emotions haven’t changed over time, emotions are the same.”
And to really drive this point of humanity home, the creators of Everything Sucks! used an ensemble cast "so anybody who watches it has some point of entry and some character that they could identify with," according to The Hollywood Reporter. According to Jahi Winston, who plays Luke O'Neil this is what sets Everything Sucks! apart from other nostalgia-inspired shows out there.
"It’s not really a typical coming of age show. This is by teens, for teens. It’s a present to our generation. It’s not always that we get to tell the younger generation our story," Winston said at a Netflix press junket for the show. "These characters are so universal. They transcend through so many decades. I just think it’s important for people to look past the ‘90s thing, especially for teenagers and the kids, because everybody can relate to these characters."
But don't expect Everything Sucks! to only be a regurgitation of the past. Instead, according to Quinn Liebling, who plays Tyler, the show is also about bridging the gap between past and present and giving representation to often overlooked moments of the '90s.
"The show is a good example of when people are like, ‘Well how come LGBTQ wasn’t around back then?’ It was, it just wasn’t represented," Liebling said. "So this is a representation that’s covering that because it was missed in original ‘90s shows."
With so many reboots and period pieces on TV today, its easy for yet another '90s series to get lost in the fold. But with a firm commitment to being relatable and plenty of fun, quirky moments thrown in, Everything Sucks! will surely hold its own.
Editor's note: After publication, we discovered this article did not meet our editorial standards: There were portions that did not correctly attribute another source. It has been updated to meet our standards.