A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
The show's sympathies clearly lie with misfits and underdogs, and their problems and concerns are taken seriously. Exemplary messages of self-control and teamwork are sent by characters who discuss the best way to handle problems and then work together implementing solutions.
Positive Role Models
Matilda has autism and accepts the way her brain works; she's also loved and accepted by family members (though she doesn't have a lot of friends at school), about whom she says "In this big confusing scary world, they make me feel safe." Matilda has ways to calm herself when overwhelmed (among them playing the piano and wearing headphones), and her sister and brother give her space to recover, as well as helping her understand social cues. Nicholas is boyish and a little irresponsible but eager to accept the obligations of caring for his sisters; he's also gay and no one has an issue with it. Genevieve tries to maintain a facade of normalcy and is sometimes embarassed by her siblings, but she loves them deeply and is always there for them in a pinch. The cast is diverse in terms of race, sexual identity, and ethnicity. Female characters are central and given sympathetic, strong roles and the show has many feminist messages.
Violence & Scariness
The central plotline of the story concerns young orphans; we see them cry and grieve the death of their father from cancer. Characters may be unkind to each other, as when Genevieve's cadre of mean friends tell other students that she's gotten her first period, after which she's pelted with tampons (and supported by a cool teacher). Matilda throws things during a meltdown, but no one is hit.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Nicholas, Genevieve, and Matilda are all interested in romance; Nicholas is dating a man who he kisses and talks about having sex with, while Matilda talks about her sexuality flowering in adolescence and wanting to date and have sex. Expect same- and opposite-sex kissing, flirting, dates, references to sex, and occasional blunt jokes about sex, like when Nicholas' dad says about his son "I already knew my son does anal sex, probably terribly."
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Cursing is rare but "bitch," "hell," and "s--t" are all heard. Matilda may insult herself during a meltdown: "I'm so stupid, I'm such an idiot," she says to herself.
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Scenes take place in bars, and adult characters have beers, wine, and cocktails, but no one acts drunk. A character makes a joke about heroin, implying it would deaden the pain of an awkward conversation.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Everything's Gonna Be Okay is a drama about a young man who agrees to act as a guardian for his teen half sisters after their dad dies. One of the sisters, Matilda, has autism, which is referred to often; she accepts her strengths and limitations, and is able to find ways to connect with those around her and to calm down when she feels overwhelmed. Her family members also accept her fully, and work with her to build authentic, supportive relationships that demonstrate teamwork and self-control. Matilda, younger sister Genevieve, and Nicholas are all interested in romance; Nicholas is openly gay and accepted by all, and Matilda struggles to relate to other people, but is depicted as being worthy of romantic attention and intrepid about finding ways to get it. Expect same- and opposite-sex kissing, flirting, dates, references and jokes about sex. There are also jokes about drugs, and scenes with characters drinking, sometimes in bars, though no one acts drunk. No violence, but there are upsetting scenes with characters grieving a parents' death, and a bullying scene in which one character is pelted by tampons after getting her first period (she is supported by her family and by a thoughtful teacher). Cursing is infrequent but "bitch," "hell," and "s--t" are all heard.
Is It Any Good?
Sweet without being saccharine, beautiful without turning pretentious, and charming without leaning cutesy, this gorgeous found-family series is a treat. Everything's Gonna Be Okay imagines a world where its characters are far from perfect, but they're accepted and loved anyway, quirks, downsides, and all. With her characteristic bluntness, Matilda is perhaps the most unusual of the sibling trio that forms the centerpiece of this show. When she tells little sis Genevieve she plans to ask out her crush and is informed that she doesn't know said crush well enough to ask him on a date yet, Matilda's bold enough to march right up to Luke at lunchtime where he's sitting with a crowd of cool-kid male friends and unleash a volley of questions about him. On a nastier, more typical show, this would have been the moment Luke's friends would have sniggered and Luke would have mocked Matilda. Instead, Luke recognizes Matilda's weirdness but appreciates it, summing her up: "You're awesome." And Matilda's so happy, she dances away.
Later, a grieving Nicholas hopes for a hug. But Matilda never really liked hugs, she says -- she just did it to make her dad happy, and now he's gone, so she was hoping to give them up. "Okay," Nicholas responds evenly. "But how can I get the feeling that I would have gotten when we hugged?" "Maybe we can dance together?" Matilda offers. Cue the dance music, with visuals of Matilda, Nicholas, and soon, a reluctant-at-first Genevieve ripping up handfuls of their dad's funeral flowers and throwing them up like confetti as they dance beneath. A world where limitations are recognized and faced honestly and where characters work together to figure out and then get what they need? Sign us up, we're all in.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.