Millennials seem to vacillate between two polarizing #moods: unspecified rage, and a seemingly psychopathic disassociation.
That’s what James and Alyssa, the teen produces behind Netflix’s new dark slapstick series The Terminate of the F *** ing World , symbolize. Their persona of unbridled fury and panicked dispassion are quickly revealed to be the defenses of two deeplies traumatized brains.
But, like, same.
The two protagonists, like many millenials, hide behind whatever person they tell themselves they find themselves. So tough, fearless, cussing Alyssa can pretend she’s not actually a powerless child inside. And James doesn’t has to be acknowledged he seems nothing, but merely because he feels so much that he can’t endure any of it.
Engulfed by an era of unprecedented change, anxiety, and uncertainty, Alyssa and James exemplify our generation’s struggle with liberty — whether we’re fighting for it, or being utterly clueless when we get it.
The Objective of the F *** ing World is as electric as it is understated, with writing as beautiful as it is plain. It never fails to astound, but preserves an acute appreciation of friendlines. Like its two unconventional heroes( played by the impossibly likable Jessica Barden and Alex Lawther ), the story of a would-be teen boy serial killer and lovesick runaway is tragic, but not in in accordance with the rules you think.
This is an apocalypse, as the name promises.
The show sells itself as a black humour murder mystery. It is, but in the same unorthodox lane that TB’Ss Search Party is. There’s no whodunit to the murder propelling the plot forward, so intrigue is replaced by a nervous fright. Inverting the traditions of assassination whodunit, the real victims of the crime are likewise the murderer. Their violence feels like the most human response to the barbarism “the worlds” inflicts on them.
Balancing on the tightrope between expectancy and current realities, you’re engulf in the experience teenaged uncertainty. The huge difference between what is said, and what is thought through James and Alyssa’s inner monologues captures the schizophrenic psyche of a youth culture that seems adrift. Vilified. Fucked. Lost.
Millennials seem so damn sure all the time. We insist aloud and proudly that we commit no fuckings, or self-diagnose ourselves with every manner of mental illness to try and explain why we feel so aimless and empty. We broadcast everything, sharing our personal lives with the entire world, but nobody knows us.
Until, against all odds, person does.
That’s what stimulates Alyssa and James perfect equivalents to the Bonnie and Clyde of our generation. From the 1930 s through the 1970 s, the murderous It Couple propelled to some deep part of the cultural consciousness. The public’s fascination with them had little to do with the actual crimes or historical figures, since both were glamorize beyond recognition.
But as icons, they appealed to the scarred soul of a generation trying to be dealt with everything from The Great Depression to WWII and even Watergate. Bonnie and Clyde were the ideal image of sexy rebels( crystalized by Arthur Penn’s classic 1967 film) raging against a rigged establishment by violating every social regulation to get what was theirs.
You can imagine why they were beloved by a population that had abruptly lost all faith in the institutions that’d promised them safety, security, civility — before throwing them to the dogs.
Like Bonnie and Clyde, Alyssa and James are outsiders. But unlike Bonnie and Clyde, Alyssa and James are far away from idealized career crooks. They’re children, awkwardly stumbling ass backwards into becoming outlaws. Instead of revenge, they seek a purpose. And their haphazard route to high bets criminality is paved simply with the best of intentions, and hilariously amateur mistakes.
Where previous generations required glamorized insurrection, millennials crave an honest reflection of being caught in a permanent government adolescence. Fumbling to find their place in the world, Alyssa and James are desperate to understand who they are, comprehending for any semblance of stability or connection.
The villain persecuting Alyssa and James isn’t really the law, either. In reality, the specific characteristics most empathetic to their plight is a government agent tasked with catching them. No, the real foes in The Aim of the F *** ing World are the mothers. The people who — either through incompetence, negligence, mistreat, or absence — failed to prepare them for the world.
Millennials never truly had faith in the adults running institutions, be it the police or school teachers. But we needed to believe our mothers had our best interest at heart. And ultimately, we seem most betrayed by the people closest to home.
Because, sure, the real source of our millennial plight comes down to economic refuse. And yes, it’s mostly the media blaming us for ruining everything from avocados to adoration. But who do you think caused that economic clusterfuck we inherited? And who’s scapegoating us at the dinner table for the rapid changes of a modern technological world?
Our parents were the ones who were supposed to protect us, protect us, commit us answers. But at the worst they imparted trauma, or at best misguided principles. Like the generation before us recognizing also that the people in charge royally screwed them over, we’re still trying to reconcile given the fact that mom and dad aren’t coming to save us.
“People can’t be answers, ” Alyssa imagines to herself after turning to her parent for help. “They’re just more questions. Topics like, ‘Why are you such a fucking useless papa? ‘”
The Purpose of the F *** ing World carries the restless, enraged ethos of an entire generation on its slim adolescent shoulders. But it does so by zooming in on the very human collateral damage that is the cost of our societal unrest.
You might be seduced to disregard the series as merely another angsty teen drama. But I dunno — perhaps we should start listening to what our kids are trying to tell us?
The End of the F ** king World is now streaming on Netflix