In January of 2020, the world first got to experience Josh Thomas's incomparable creation, Everything's Gonna Be Okay. The show follows three captivating siblings — Nicholas, Matilda, and Genevieve — as they manage life after their father suddenly passes away. Nicholas, being the only adult left, becomes the primary caretaker of his two adolescent sisters and chaos ensues. Not only does Nicholas have to learn how to be a parent immediately, but he also needs to learn how to properly support Matilda's high-functioning autism as she navigates school, college applications, and relationships. Matilda, played by actress Kayla Cromer who is autistic herself, ended the first season getting admitted to Juilliard only to realize that life in New York City will be too overwhelming for her to live there on her own.
The second season picks up right after this difficult choice to not go to Juilliard. We see Matilda in shambles, locked in her bedroom, as she copes with the loss of her biggest dream. Nicholas, Genevieve, and Nicholas's boyfriend, Alex, attempt to pry her out of her room, but nothing seems to work. Set during the pandemic, the new season also bridges topics like social distancing and unemployment. Here's what parents ought to know, based on the first two episodes, so you can discuss with your kids.
- Genevieve hurts herself in an attempt to help Matilda feel better.
In the first episode, Genevieve is desperate to get Matilda out of her room. Knowing that Matilda loves to fix things and perform first aid, Genevieve slices her fingertip open with a knife, so that Matilda will leave her bed and help her bandage it up. While the move works for Genevieve, it's important to remind kids that hurting yourself is never a good way to help someone else or gain attention from someone who is ignoring you.
- Matilda questioning her sexuality is a theme throughout both episodes.
While Matilda seemed overjoyed with her girlfriend, Drea, in the first season, the second season begins with Matilda realizing that she is not in fact queer and identifies as heterosexual. It's an important reminder that sexuality is fluid and ever-changing, so sometimes we grow out of labels we previously identified with. For Matilda, she previously thought she was pansexual, which means she thought she could be attracted to anyone regardless of biological sex, gender, or gender identity.
- Divorce is central in the second episode.
Nicholas's boyfriend, Alex, discovers that his parents are getting divorced. Even though he is an adult and 25 years old, Alex is still rightfully shaken by the news. Especially because he has not been able to find a job as a dentist in the middle of a pandemic and is feeling the weight of student debt, this news comes as another blow to Alex's self-esteem. It's important let children know that parents getting divorced is hard for anyone to go through, regardless of age, and that any feelings are valid.
- Matilda deals with depression and lashes out at the family when she cannot go to Juilliard.
Matilda's choice to take a gap year and not attend Juilliard was her own, but that does not make it any less difficult to cope with the disappointment. Locked up in her room, Matilda sits on her laptop all day without cleaning her room, taking care of herself, or talking to other people (unless she is forced to). At one point, the characters discuss Matilda's poor hygiene. The impact that mental health has on one's ability to perform self-care is incredibly real, so the plot offers a relatable talking point. In addition to not taking care of herself, Matilda begins to angrily blame her family for not being able to help her adapt to Juilliard and points out each of their flaws.
- Invading digital privacy comes up in the first episode.
Genevieve grabs Matilda's laptop while she's taking a nap to see what she has been looking at on the internet while locked in her room. She discovers that Matilda is looking up quizzes about her sexuality. When Matilda discovers that Genevieve read her search history, she feels betrayed. This brings up a good conversation point for digital privacy and respecting other people's boundaries.