Five reasons you should watch Josh Thomas' Everything's Gonna Be Okay
The Freeform series about a family's grieving process is honest, charming, and so much fun.
The comedy centers on neurotic twentysomething Nicholas (played by Thomas), and his half-sisters Genevieve (Maeve Press) and Matilda (Kayla Cromer), as they grieve the death of their father. Now, Nicholas, who intended to go back to his life in Australia, has to take care of his sisters, build a new life, and make sure that everything is gonna be okay.
Here are five reasons to check out this gem of a show, with some insights from the series creator himself.
Genevieve and Matilda, comedy MVPs
The sisters at the center of this comedy are its driving force. With the winning combination of talented actresses and interestingly written young characters, the comedy's greatest assets are clear from the beginning.
Thomas says the characters of Genevieve and Matilda come from parts of his personality at that age, especially Genevieve, who he sees a lot of his teenage self in. The biting teen's introduction involves her telling her father his response to the news of her first period is wrong, and that her father is overcompensating for her not having a mother growing up when he offers to order cupcakes for the occasion. It's a response that sets the stage for who this bold teen is. As for Matilda, she makes an equally strong impression in the pilot when she delivers an honest, hilarious eulogy at her father's funeral. Each episode includes a surprising new plotline for one or both sisters, and Everything's Gonna Be Okay is so much better for it.
With Matilda specifically, the series is telling a story about an autistic teenager that will likely educate many viewers who are unaware of or have misconceptions about the disorder. From the outset and throughout the season, the outspoken, curious teenager is trying to knock items off her bucket list before graduating high school and going to college. That arc involves a detailed look at the life of a teenager on the autism spectrum through stories about navigating the issues most teenagers face, including drinking alcohol and dating, as well as a conversation about autism and consent. It's all done through an interesting, smart, talented young character who is very compelling to watch.
A relationship that sweats the small stuff
Nicholas is on a nice, normal date with Alex (Adam Faison) when the series begins, and their arc over the season explores the ordinary moments of a relationship. Instead of the dramatic, contrived relationship moments we see on other shows, here the couple debate sleeping arrangements after sex because Nicholas thinks he should be with his grieving sisters, deal with Genevieve not liking Alex very much, and argue about when and how to apologize.
"I wanted the relationship to look like a real relationship," Thomas tells EW. "At least the relationships that I have had and seen."
The lip-sync of a lifetime
Around the halfway point of the season, Nicholas delivers a drag-tastic rendition of Thelma Houston's "Don't Leave Me This Way." After a horrific first meeting with Alex's friends, Nicholas gets a drag transformation and lip-syncs for his life, or at least in the hopes of getting his boyfriend's friends back on his side. In tights and a fur coat, he stuns his captivated audience, creating a standout moment of the season as he dances on a piano and glides across the floor. It's a gag-worthy performance worth tuning in for.
Shades of Please Like Me
If you find yourself watching the Everything's Gonna Be Okay pilot and thinking it feels like Please Like Me's Josh grew up and found out he had a family in America, that is Thomas' unique point of view shining through. There are several aspects shared by the two comedies: the way they turn everyday events into heartfelt, unique moments; the thorough, humorous, and honest explorations of complex topics; the great song-and-dance moments.
Everything's Gonna Be Okay explores death and grief the way Please Like Me did with suicide and mental health. "What interests me is people having to get up and live their lives after a death," Thomas says of the genesis of the new series. Between Nicholas balancing his new responsibilities while dealing with his own sadness and the two distinct journeys of his sisters, Everything's Gonna Be Okay has a lot to work with and mines it well. In the pilot alone, Genevieve has a crisis about her dress for the funeral, Matilda delivers her iconic eulogy, and then starts a sweet musical moment when she sees how down Nicholas is, creating three very different moments to show how this family is grieving. And that's just the beginning.
Tellulah, scene-stealing agent of chaos
Of the show's recurring characters, Genevieve's classmate and friend Tellulah (Ivy Wolk) stands out the most. She brings unadulterated chaos to the show and consistently looks to turns things up a notch. In one moment she'll comfort Genevieve by sitting in the hallway with her at school (although she admits to being high off the drama of the death of her friend's dad), and then in the next, she'll boldly call her friends out and pit them against one another. Tellulah is an enigma, but Thomas notes that teenagers are unpredictable. Throughout the season, Tellulah asks invasive questions, causes scenes at school, and at one point gets her friends to play a wild prank on one of their moms. This is one character who leaves a lasting impression.
Everything's Gonna Be Okay airs Thursdays at 8:30 p.m. ET on Freeform.