With a title like The End Of The F***king World, you’ll know very early on whether this dark comedic drama is for you. The show follows two damaged teenagers, James (Alex Lawther) and Alyssa (Jessica Barden) as they embark on a road trip to escape from their mundane lives. James is engulfed in murderous thoughts whilst angry teen Alyssa hates her Step Dad and pretty much everyone else in the world. Except James. The switching narrative perspectives between the two characters helps to empathise with both of them and behind the comedy, vulgarity and drama there’s a real frailty to these characters that helps to make them more believable. The great chemistry between the two actors helps too making this a short but highly enjoyable British comedy.
The story wastes no time getting straight into the meat of the plot and very early on The End Of The F***ing world establishes the location, characters and tone of the show with minimal effort. Whilst predominantly a comedy, combining a mixture of dry, sarcastic and shocking jokes The End Of The F***ing World doubles up as a drama. With the filters firmly turned off, this comedy won’t be for everyone and thankfully the title of the show will probably go a long way to deter those who aren’t likely to enjoy this sort of humour. Although a few of the jokes do fall flat, it never feels like a contrived effort and the interesting shift in narrative perspective helps to cover up some of the few comedic mis-steps.
As the series progresses, there’s a really nice dynamic between the two characters and the physical and mental journey these two teenagers undertake is great to watch. Its not perfect, and there is a tendency to overuse profanities and vulgarity but it never detracts from the overall impact this show has. This is a character driven story and the narration by the two protagonists definitely helps sell this. The few glimpses of frailty portrayed by the two actors is really nicely done and the acting in general is good all round. The two lead protagonists work surprisingly well together considering their contrasting personas and toward the latter half of the season you’ll be rooting for them both.
Overall, The End Of The F***ing World includes all the ingredients to make it a decent British comedy. The jokes are well timed, the clever switching narrative between the damaged teens helps to empathise with both and the short length makes this a very easy show to sit through. The show never outstays its welcome and manages to hold onto its appeal and charm throughout its length. Ultimately, a lot of credit needs to be given to the scriptwriters and the two leads whom without this the show could have fallen flat. Although its unlikely to go down as one of the best comedies ever, there’s enough here to make The End Of The F***ing World one of the better efforts in the genre.