Ripley Parker’s debut endeavor into the world of filmmaking, ‘Everything Now,’ is a Netflix comedy-drama show that delves into the British teen experience. This YA show, helmed by actress Sophie Wilde, follows her character Mia Polanco, a 16-year-old Londer, coming out of rehab for her severe eating disorder. After dedicating months of her life to her recovery, Mia returns to sixth form and realizes her friends’ lives have changed drastically in the time she is gone. In an attempt to catch up with all the wild dating and partying experiences she missed out on, Mia creates a bucket list and jumps headfirst into teenagehood.
Steeped in the diverse lives of Mia and her friends, the show presents a multitude of authentic experiences through characters of color and queer characters. Furthermore, its representation of the youth’s declining mental health, with a focus on eating disorders, sets the story apart and infuses it with realism. Despite the weighty nature of these issues, the show maintains a fun, youthful atmosphere. As such, viewers must be wondering if Mia’s story can be traced back to any real-life story equipped as inspiration. Let’s find out!
Ripley Parker’s Contribution To Mia’s Character
While ‘Everything Now’ is not based on a true story, the show takes partial inspiration from the creator Ripley Parker’s adolescent life and experiences. Therefore, significant inspiration for Mia’s character comes from Parker. However, at the same time, the show writer was careful not to saturate the fictional character with her own issues to ensure that Mia’s character fit into the kind of story Parker wanted to tell.
While discussing her show with Netflix Tudum, Parker shared, “It was important to me that I had a healthy perspective on everything I was writing… and wasn’t steering the show in places that it shouldn’t go or that didn’t feel natural. So I tried to try to keep a healthy level of distance between myself and my life and Mia and her friends.” By doing so, Parker was able to create a refreshing character with the ability to expand beyond just the writer’s experiences.
Likewise, the show itself found a similar expansion following Parker’s collaboration with other writers and various voices involved in the show’s making. Writers like Roanne Bardsley, Dylan Brady, and Glenn Waldron made up the writing team on ‘Everything Now,’ contributing their own share to the show’s creation.
“It [‘Everything Now’] expanded so much more than I could have ever imagined, and the story became so much richer,” said Parker. “‘Everything Now’ became a really, really wonderful melting pot of many different stories and experiences— and I’ll never reveal whose story is whose.”
Real-Life Relevance of Mia’s Experiences
Since Mia’s eating disorder forms a narrative cornerstone in ‘Everything Now,’ the issue’s relevance to reality informs a significant aspect of the show. According to Priory, a leading UK mental healthcare provider, eating disorders are currently the most deadly mental health condition. Furthermore, the issue has rapidly spread across the population over the last few decades. Likewise, several studies have reported an increase in eating disorders following the COVID-19 pandemic. As it stands, Priory research cites that 1.25 to 3.4 million UK citizens are affected by eating disorders.
As such, Mia’s experience with anorexia nervosa reflects a social relevance that many viewers would find relatable. Similarly, according to Parker, Mia’s venture into catching up on a lost time of her life may resonate with teenagers in the post-COVID world. “I think [it] speaks to quite a universal teenage experience at the moment of feeling that you’ve had a year of your life taken away and wanting to kind of catch up with everything that you’ve missed,” said the writer.
Ultimately, realistic writing, coming from a place of authenticity, helps craft Mia and her friends’ characters into a realistic depiction that is easy for people to relate to. While making the show, Parker wanted to create something her 15-year-old self would have liked to see. Therefore, in doing so, the writer brought to life a story ripe with realistic experiences.
Read More: Best Anorexia Movies of All Time