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The End of the F***ing World
By: Lucas Cuny, MFA
January 22, 2018
Maybe you thought I disappeared. Well, between the holidays and a general malaise of the end of the year, I guess I was just exhausted. It often happens when I get to the end of the year. But I’m back and feeling re-energized. Myself, I’m working on a new feature film script idea and finishing up a book about Thelma and Louise for an eventual book review. But, I finally found a web series that I felt obliged to discuss via this blog.
I discovered “The End of the Fucking World,” on Netflix during my morning commute on the train from San Bernardino to Cal State LA. I had been binging all of Seinfeld’s “Comedians in Cars…”, but I was mainly watching that to find new restaurants or delis to go to in LA. So back to the task at hand, the review of a new web series, or at least new to me. It starts with James, a high school student, who states in a voice-over that he thinks he’s a sociopath. He’s very much an awkward kid. Through voice-over and flashback, it’s revealed that he has a penchant for killing animals, as well as a kid raised by a single dad whom he can’t seem to stand. When we catch up with James, he is in the cafeteria at his high school plotting to kill something bigger than an animal, that’s when we meet Alyssa.
Alyssa is another awkward teen, angry at the world, she talks about her overall depression and how she hates living with her mom and her mom’s “perfect” husband. Again using the trope of voice-over and flashback, we learn that Alyssa’s real dad left the family when she was 7, but she does not blame him. Once Alyssa and James start talking, she wants a boyfriend and he plays along because, like other TV sociopaths, he knows in order to blend in, you must fit into a box the world dictates to you. But for James, he’s really just plotting the eventual death of Alyssa.
Alyssa eventually meets James’ father who is a bit overbearing and whom he hates. Alyssa, whom we now know is quite intuitive towards people, picks up on James’ frustration with his father and shows support for James. It is through these moments of connection that James reveals that his mom also left when he was young child. So, we have two teens in love, one wants to kill the other and the other wants to escape. These two will eventually start a road trip. I haven’t binged this all the way through yet so I’m not sure where it’s headed, which I’m cool with I’ll just enjoy the ride and let it come to me in time.
Watching this show validates my theory and my current scriptwriting class that all new serials follow the classic cliffhanger formula for the 1940’s and 50’s. We have a hero and a heroine, albeit anti heros at that. We have a prize: get out of the small town they hate. We have an episode peril: getting past James’ father and getting the car they need for their road trip. Lastly, we have an open ended conclusion, as we know they are about to hit the road, but we don’t know where that will take them. The cliffhanger lives.
Lucas Cuny has a Master's in Screenwriting from California State University Fullerton, runs a film festival in the Inland Empire, Teachers Film and Media at The Art Institute, and Produces Video for California State University, Los Angeles.