×

‘Everything’s Going to Be Okay’ From Josh Thomas: TV Review

With:
Josh Thomas, Kayla Cromer, Maeve Press

30 mins.

One of the hallmarks of Josh Thomas’ particularly spiky and sympathetic sense of humor is how he takes a situation we’ve seen unfold on TV before and makes the bold choice to let his characters react like actual human beings. On his semi-autobiographical comedy “Please Like Me,” people struggled through depression and their gnarled feelings with such candor that it felt both jarring and revelatory. The same holds true for his new Freeform comedy “Everything’s Going to Be Okay,” which follows a trio of siblings — played by Thomas, Maeve Press and Kayla Cromer — learning how to care for each other after their father (Christopher May) dies. They’re angry and sad in their grief, of course, but they’re also still themselves: messy and funny, wry and earnest. When, after their father’s funeral, they feel a need to express themselves with a wildly silly dance session in their kitchen, it makes perfect sense.

As established in the premiere while he’s on an unexpectedly revealing date, eldest brother Nicholas (played by Thomas) is still figuring out plenty on his own before suddenly gaining custody of his teenage sisters Matilda (Cromer) and Genevieve (Press). (That their father was wealthy and left them a gorgeous, giant house in which to live is an accepted fact of the show, and one that provides a pretty stark contrast to “Party of Five,” Freeform’s other new show about siblings caring for each other after their parents leave, in which deportation wrenches the family apart.) But when his dad sits Nicholas down to share his terminal diagnosis and asks him if he can step up to be their guardian, Nicholas immediately accepts with a gobsmacked, “of course.” Another show would have drawn out that moment in order to optimize the potential tension of it, but again, Thomas and this show is far more interested in the weirder, funnier, more real moments that can happen in between life’s seemingly biggest events than drawing out unnecessary drama. (And at just over 20 minutes long, each episode is careful not to overstay its welcome.)

Another fact that shapes their lives is that Matilda is autistic, and tends to cope with the world by breaking it down into manageable pieces as best she can through pointed questions. (Cromer, the relative newcomer playing her with such nuance and precision, is also on the autism spectrum herself, and therefore acts from lived experience.) This informs a big part of her personality, but to the show’s credit, “Everything’s Going to Be Okay” is careful to approach her character as a very specific teenage girl rather than some all-inclusive representation of What Autism Means. Matilda’s extremely confident, perceptive and protective of her family. She’s itching to experience life and frustrated when others preemptively decide, based on her being autistic, that she can’t or shouldn’t. A storyline deeper into the season, in which Matilda tries to lose her virginity on her own terms and gets caught in everyone else’s perceptions, shows off both Cromer and the show at their best.

That personal approach, too, gets at the bleeding heart of “Everything’s Going to Be Okay.” The premise fuels the show, but doesn’t overwhelm it. More than any one scenario, this is a series about three distinct people — intense Matilda, raw nerve Genevieve, blunt and kind Nicholas — exploring what it means to be a person and part of a family. Matilda and Genevieve are each navigating teen girlhood in vastly different ways; Genevieve is far more tentative than her sister, a trait that Press portrays with canny comedic timing. Meanwhile, Nicholas is shouldering the responsibilities of parenthood while also exploring a real relationship with Alex (Adam Faison), a sweet guy who’s just as confused by Nicholas’ neuroses as he is charmed. They might not have their father, but they do have each other, and watching them express their absolute loyalty to each other in ways that ring true and tender is a real joy.

“Everything’s Going to Be Okay” premieres Jan. 16 on Freeform; the first three episodes will be available Jan. 17 on Hulu.

'Everything's Going to Be Okay' From Josh Thomas: TV Review

Crew: Executive producers: Josh Thomas, Stephanie Swedlove, Kevin Whyte, David Martin, Jon Thoday, and Richard Allen-Turner.

Cast: Josh Thomas, Kayla Cromer, Maeve Press

More TV

  • Michael Bloomberg and Elizabeth WarrenNinth 2020

    MSNBC Democratic Debate Moderators Lost Control of a Messy Night (Column)

    After what seems like countless Democratic debates, February 19th’s had a giant curveball in Mike Bloomberg, the former New York City mayor whose enormous fortune has given him a late, but undeniable, leg up in the race. So it was unsurprising that the prospect of Bloomberg making a play for the nomination at the 11th [...]

  • Combs Making the Band

    Diddy Sons Quincy Brown, Christian and Justin Combs Will Judge 'Making The Band'

    The panel of judges for the MTV reboot of “Making The Band” was revealed on Wednesday. Diddy’s sons Quincy Brown, Christian and Justin Combs along with creative director and celebrity choreographer LaurieAnn Gibson are all set to join the franchise. Diddy’s children all have careers spanning music, entertainment and fashion. “Making The Band” is based [...]

  • Lesley VisserFooty's Bubbles & Bones Gala,

    Lesley Visser to Receive Lifetime Achievement Award at 41st Sports Emmys

    Veteran sportscaster Lesley Visser will be honored with the lifetime achievement award at this year’s 41st annual Sports Emmys. It reps the first time a woman has received the accolade. “To be a pioneer at nearly every juncture of sports reporting isn’t easy despite how Lesley Visser makes it look, said Justine Gubar, executive director, [...]

  • TV News Roundup: Angelyne Signs on

    TV News Roundup: Angelyne Signs on to Produce Eponymous Peacock Series

    In today’s TV news roundup, Peacock’s limited series “Angelyne” got the titular woman as an executive producer, and Netflix announced premiere dates for “Ugly Delicious” and “Unorthodox.” DATES Netflix announced the premiere dates of new and returning shows coming this March: “Ugly Delicious” Season 2 is premiering March 6; “Marc Maron: End Times Fun” will launch March [...]

  • Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren,

    How to Watch the Nevada Democratic Debate Online

    The ninth Democratic presidential debate will take place Wednesday as six hopeful candidates take the stage ahead of the Nevada caucus on Feb. 22. NBC and MSNBC will broadcast the debate on their networks from 6 p.m. PT/ 9 p.m. ET to 8 p.m. PT/ 10 p.m. ET. Those wanting to tune in can also [...]

  • James Wolk

    James Wolk to Star in NBC Drama Pilot 'Ordinary Joe'

    James Wolk has been cast in the lead role of the NBC drama pilot “Ordinary Joe,” Variety has learned. The project explores the three parallel lives of Joe Kimbrough (Wolk) after he makes a pivotal choice at a crossroads in his life. The series asks the question of how different life might look if you made your [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content