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The End of the F***Ing World

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What's it rated? TV-MA

When? 2017-2019

Where's it showing? Netflix

In its first season, this inky black British comedy pulls off the neat trick of exploring real issues of attachment, abandonment, narcissism, adolescence, insecurity, and homicidal urges while disguised as a mere amusement. Based on a graphic novel of the same name by Charles Forsman, the story follows 17-year-old James (Alex Lawther), who believes he's a psychopath due to his interest in killing animals; oh, and that one time he submerged his hand in a pot of boiling oil to "feel something."

He meets an angry classmate of the same age, Alyssa (Jessica Barden), who decides James is her way out of a turbulent and unhappy home life. They take off together, and through his narration we understand that she's James' chance to graduate from killing animals to humans. Along the way, however, her engaging spirit endears her to James, and she moves from being his victim to becoming his love interest.

It's absolutely an unusual show—funny, often poignant, and always smartly written with layers of psychological intrigue. Through the first season, characters legitimately grow and mature, as they learn—as adolescents usually do—in fits and starts what it means to be in a relationship. Their adventures are often violent and unexpected, and the lessons are hard learned. A second season was released in 2019, but I haven't seen it yet. The first, however, is terrific! (Sixteen 25-min. episodes) Δ

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