‘Everything Sucks!’ Creators Talk Making the ’90s Show ‘as Honest as Possible’

At Wednesday night’s New York premiere of the upcoming Netflix series “Everything Sucks!,” which was held at AMC 34th Street, series co-creators Ben York Jones and Michael Mohan explained to Variety why they decided to set their story about frustrated small-town teenagers in the ’90s.

“We come from the world of independent film, and everything we do, we try to make it as honest as possible. 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,” explained Mohan, who first came to prominence for the indie film “Save the Date.” “We knew we could make it the most honest show possible.”

The Netflix show features aspects not often shown in actual television programs made during that era, including a lesbian character and a character struggling with dyslexia.

Jones added, “The ’90s aspect is surface. It’s music, Tamagotchis, it’s snap bracelets, yes, but ultimately the show is about our characters and their interpersonal relationships,” he said. “Human emotions haven’t changed over time, emotions are the same.”

Though the TV series is set during the Clinton years, actress Sydney Sweeney, who plays teenager Emaline, says, “I think that all the situations that the characters go through is so relatable to today’s teenagers. We deal with finding who you love, finding who you are, single parents, bullying, relationships, just growing up in general.”

She also said the show’s producers had the actors watch coming-of-age classics like “Freaks and Geeks,” “Ten Things I Hate About You,” and “The Breakfast Club,” and had them listen to ’90s music hits. “We all memorized and fell in love with (the Oasis single) ‘Wonderwall,’ she recalled.  “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.”

“Everything Sucks!” streams Friday, Feb. 16 on Netflix.

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