So, if you've not seen it yet 'end of the f**king world* is a channel four dark comedy-drama. It's about two lost teens, who make some bad decisions. At the moment (as usual) I'm playing catch-up. I'm watching this on 4OD and I'm currently on episode 8 of series 2. Yes, some of you will be laughing away thinking 'you're a bit late on this blog, fella', but this is a great series that I wanted to talk about for a minute.
I want to talk about this series as a storyteller, because it does something I find remarkable, capturing and absolutely bleeding frustrating all at once.
It offers little to no resolution on anything.
... and yet, that's what makes it amazing.
This is such a clever narrative tool and it goes completely against my gut instincts as a writer. I love storytelling, I love everything to be wrapped up, everyone to connect and the story to come together. I usually like this to happen with good results for the characters, because I love writing a good popcorn pop-culture type story.
What this series does so well is constantly stop those elements. It keeps the characters disconnected constantly, not allowing them to connect in their actions, dialogue and keeping their emotional states slightly disconnected and awkward. This makes me feel so strongly for them and is such a good representation of both young teens and just generally people who are dealing with their own demons. It rarely offers a satisfactory conclusion for the story and it offers tiny glimpses of inner monologue to the audience, which allow us to get an insight into their feeling but ultimately just helps emphasise their lack of ability to display that too the other characters. We also rarely get anything that is a true, analytical explanation of their feelings or what they want. It's all fragments of a mind fighting itself.... so good and so irritating!?
As I said, I find this method of storytelling completely fascinating, because it fights my nature as a storyteller and yet offers such a strong story and excellent characters. (Not to mention the great filming, editing and general style.
Please go give this series some of your time (if you haven't already) and then come back and add something to this post. I'd love to hear what you think makes this script tick, where you feel the idea started and how the story arch came about, what techniques you feel are being used. Mostly, I want to hear your thoughts on this style of storytelling, Let's chat about this one folks - open door.
Ben Warden - Editor of the #SFFiction project and author of 'Life Without', which made the top ten literary fiction e-books on amazon.