If you haven’t already heard, Josh Thomas has a new show streaming on Stan called Everything’s Going To Be Okay.
It follows aspiring entomologist Nicholas (Josh Thomas), who becomes the legal guardian to his two teenage half-sisters in America after their father passes away. It’s a heartfelt comedy that helps to fill the tiny Please Like Me-shaped hole that was left when the show ended.
But, it’s important to remember that Everything’s Going To Be Okay is not Please Like Me, although the two do bear similarities beyond the lead actor. The way it transitions between scenes and montages with light, wholesome music is familiar
The careful balance of heartbreaking scenarios and humour is another of Thomas’ creative trade-marks. This distinctive style is so valuable for those seeking something unique and offbeat, where jokes don’t require laugh track for them to land.
The humour is often derived from stretching out awkward situations and amplifying the absurdity of the show’s world.
Additionally, there is a relatability inherent in both Please Like Me and Thomas’ most recent venture. As exemplified by TV Guide, “Thomas has learned that as long as characters feel authentic and specific, people will relate to them and enjoy them whether or not they’re young women with autism or neurotic gay men”.
But, perhaps more than anything, Everything’s Going to Be Okay is driven by the relationships that are built between these characters.
The bond between Nicholas and his sisters Matilda (Kayla Cromer) and Genevieve (Maeve Press) is a delight to watch develop as the story progresses. The evolving dynamics are interesting to watch as Nicholas transitions from the role of brother to parental figure to the two teenage girls.
His reluctance to deal with calls from principals – all while understanding that party decorations could make or break his sister’s friendships – are some of the unique dilemmas that characterise this show.
This sibling relationship is given even more depth by a cultural divide. Nicholas grew up in Australia, only visiting his half-sisters and father sporadically, whereas the girls have always lived together in America.
While this unique dynamic gives layers to an already complex situation, it’s refreshing that Nicholas’ Australian-ism isn’t overdone. It’s only really discussed when needed and is rarely relied on as a cheap joke.
Like with Nicholas’ sexuality and Matilda being on the autism spectrum, the show presents these ideas as facets of the characters overall personas, rather than core personality traits or the driving force of the story.
Talking with TV Guide, Thomas has said that it was important for him to portray the autism spectrum respectfully and meaningfully, particularly as women with autism are so underrepresented.
As well as having three consultants on the subject, Cromer recently disclosed that she is on the autism spectrum herself, saying, “so many characters today are portrayed by people who do not have a difference and honestly people with a difference are fully capable of playing our own type”.
Everything’s Going to Be Okay centres around themes of growing up, individuality and the importance of the relationships of those around us. Each character’s respective personal conflicts support these overarching ideas, rather than overwhelming the key messages of the show.
By tackling relatively deep issues, Thomas takes a leap, but executes the exploration of these topics in a clever and evidently caring way. Though it may not have received the immediate audience acclaim of its predecessor, it’s worth the watch for its unique important direction for storytelling.
Everything’s Going to Be Okay is now available to stream in Australia on Stan.
Image by Zak Garrick