Choosing Between Peen and Politics is Trash -| Review Score – 3/5
Black Excellence is Trash -| Review Score – 4/5
Canvassing is Trash -| Review Score – 1.5/5
Public Image is Trash -| Review Score – 2.5/5
Catching Feelings is Trash -| Review Score – 3/5
Family is Trash -| Review Score – 2/5
Rom Coms are Mostly Trash -| Review Score – 3/5
Being an Auntie is Trash -| Review Score – 2/5
United Fronts are Trash -| Review Score – 1.5/5
Election Night is Trash -| Review Score – 3/5
Everything’s trash, and Phoebe Hill is not afraid to say it. Neither is Phoebe Robinson, the mind behind Freeform’s Everything’s Trash and actress portraying her own alter-ego.
The comedy series, based on Robinson’s essay collection Everything’s Trash But It’s Okay, chronicles Phoebe’s life as she podcasts with her best friend and producer Malika (Toccarra Cash), navigates discrimination in the workplace, figures out her complicated love life, and supports her brother Jayden (Jordan Carlos) in his political campaign.
There’s a lot of Robinson in the show. She’s funny and charismatic as she attempts to show off the wit of her books and the charming stage presence she displays in her live show with Jessica Williams, 2 Dope Queens.
She draws from a wealth of deep insights to make the show. In the book Everything’s Trash is based on–much like in her Freeform show–Robinson goes on passionate tangents while speaking in hashtags and abbreviations not everyone will be able to follow. But she also frames these with more focused, vulnerable, and poignant insights.
In one passage, Robinson tells the story of how another comic sexually harassed her. She later meets him again, and it strikes her that he has likely forgotten about the incident entirely–while the meeting takes her back to a moment in which she felt weak and small.
“Harassment is not designed to be temporary; it’s intended to stay with you, keep you in line, never allow you to fully relax and be calm,” she writes. “That way the perpetrator doesn’t even have to do the work of oppressing you. You’ll inadvertently do the work for him long after he’s forgotten what he’s done.”
We don’t get that vulnerability in Everything’s Trash, which quashes any measure of authenticity under exaggerated podcast-speak and squeaky-clean resolutions. Each episode may touch on real, relatable problems. But they say little about them, preferring to wrap things up in nice little bows and cookie-cutter platitudes.
The bottom line is that the best of Phoebe Robinson is lost in translation. It feels that, rather than translate her most genuine personality onto the screen, writers attempted to plop an exaggerated stage personality into a show about real people–and not make any adjustments for the new context.
Everything’s Trash still conveys life lessons centering Phoebe’s family, love life, and career–but doesn’t develop the appropriate characterization and comedy to make them truly resonate.
Verdict - 5/10