Peyton Kennedy isn’t Finished Telling Kate Messner’s Story on ‘Everything Sucks’ (Interview)

Last week I wrote about the Netflix original Everything Sucks, which I can’t praise enough for its moving storylines, incredibly talented cast, 90’s music nostalgia, and, most of all, its spot-on lesbian representation.

Kate is the coming of age young lesbian who fumbles and wins and loses and hopes and dreams, and she’s entirely lovable and real. She isn’t necessarily the girl you were in love with in high school or even the girl you wished you were. She’s more than that. Kate Messner is YOU, in all her charm and beautiful flaws. That’s what made us root for her. And for a while, that felt amazing, because the show decided to gift the lesbian community with not only a character we could relate to, but one who gets a happy ending. 

When word got out that Netflix wouldn’t be renewing the show for a second season, fans reacted in a BIG way, and their message is loud and clear: NETFLIX, RENEW EVERYTHING SUCKS!!!

I got the chance to speak to the star of the show, Peyton Kennedy, about the movement to renew Everything Sucks, what she loves about Kate Messner, and what she’d like to see happen ins season two.  Because regardless of what Netflix says, Kate’s story is not finished being told.

Photo by Noam Galai/Getty Images I first just want to tell you how much I LOVE the show. I haven’t had a show where I could see myself when I was your age, well,  since the 90’s!  And to have this show be set in the 90’s with the music and everything has been a gift. But it doesn’t just reach people my age, or just your age, it speaks to so many.

Peyton Kennedy: Yes, there’s a little something for everyone in it, and I think that’s why seeing all of these hashtags going around like #IAmKateMessner and #IamEmaline and others, speaks to that, because people see themselves in these characters, and I think that’s what makes it such a beautiful show.

AE: Absolutely. So tell us, how did you become interested in the role of Kate Messner? 

PK: Well as soon as I read the breakdown of the show and for the character, which said that it was set in the 90’s and it was a young girl who was trying to figure out her sexuality and herself, I knew immediately. Literally two minutes after I saw the breakdown for it I knew that it would be a very, very important character to have on TV because I know that there aren’t many characters like this on TV for teens to see themselves in. So that’s why I have been so passionate about this project from the beginning and why I really wanted to do it, and be Kate.

AE: Well you did a beautiful job portraying her. She has many layers, and I love the way you brought her to life. What about the character did you relate to the most? 

PK: Kate’s trying to figure out who she is. I think that’s what everyone’s trying to do in high school, and being relatively the same age as Kate is, that’s what I was able to relate to the most. We’re all trying to figure out who we are how we identify, and so I think that’s why we all can see ourselves in Kate Messner.

AE: One aspect of the show that I was drawn to is that because it is set in the 90’s, which, because I’m older, I now view as a simpler time. For example, when I was your age you were either gay or straight, but there weren’t twenty-five different sexualities and gender identities or any of that. If there had been, I think I would have felt overwhelmed. So it was interesting to watch Kate kind of figure things out without labels informing her.

PK: Yes, and now we have Google, so I can easily go search terms that people identify as because there is so much more representation now, but Kate didn’t have that. That’s why that moment at the Tori Amos concert when she sees a lesbian couple kissing, it’s the first time she’s seen something where she can actually see herself reflected back, and that’s why it’s such an important scene. And when people are watching Everything Sucks, and Kate’s moment of seeing the lesbians there, for the first time, people are in turn reacting the same way to seeing Kate.

AE; That scene was so powerful. It was one of my favorites, and yes I knew how she felt seeing another lesbian couple kiss for the first time. I definitely think people watching Kate in that scene are also grateful they get to see themselves in Kate, and appreciative of the representation of having a lesbian character they relate to. Speaking of that scene, what were your personal favorite scenes that you filmed? Any favorite moments? 

PK: The Tori Amos concert as a whole was my favorite because it was Kate’s first moment when she was realizing that it’s ok to be who she is. And then the scene with Emaline at the end. Actually, the last few episodes, the scenes with Emaline are all really beautiful because Kate’s realizing this is who she likes, this is who she is, and she actually gets the girl in the end which is nice because we get a happy love story between two girls.

AE; Yes, which is actually quite rare these days, unfortunately. I’m glad that at least, even if Netflix doesn’t revive the show (which they should!) at least viewers got to have a happy lesbian couple with a happy end for them. That’s one positive. But I think that Netflix should give us a second season, don’t you? 


PK: Yes, absolutely. I’m not finished telling kate’s story. Kate has barely formed a relationship with Emaline, and she hasn’t yet come out to her dad. Those are important and I think people will relate even more when they see that.

AE: I know Netflix didn’t give a reason for canceling the show but have they responded? 

PK: Netflix is listening. They’re seeing all of the hashtags and the posts and the comments, and they’re definitely hearing it all.

AE: That’s wonderful. I saw that there have been several articles besides mine about renewing the show, and there’s so much support from fans. I hope Netflix reds those articles and sees the support that’s out there. We want our show back! 

PK: Oh I’m sure they are. Your article, in particular, was incredible, I wanted to say that.

AE: Oh, thank you so much. I hope it helps. You have a lot of support out there, I have been keeping up with the #RenewEverythingSucks hashtag and the others. The show, but you as well, have a loyal fanbase. I know everyone will be excited to see you in other roles as you continue your acting career, but this one held a special place in the hearts of the lesbian community in particular, and of course with many others as well. 

Photo by Noam Galai/Getty Images

PK: Thank you, Kate has been my favorite character to play so far, and she will always be a very important part of me.

AE: Is there any message you’d like to share with fans of the show? 

PK: I’ll continue to fight, and I’ll continue to fight alongside the fans because I think it’s a very important story to tell, and it’s important for it to be on TV.

AE Any projections for season 2, whether we get one or not? What would you hope to see play out? 

PK: I’d really like to see more of Kate and Luke because I think their friendship is beautiful. Right now he’s the only person she’s come out to, so there’s a lot more that can be explored with their friendship. Also, I’d like to continue the relationship with Kate and Emaline because it’s beautiful, and Kate’s getting the girl! I’d also like to see how Mcquaid reacts to the information that he now has. And then, of course, I’d like to see Kate get the chance to come out to her dad.

AE; There have been so many wonderful moments in this show. I especially love all of the little awkward moments that then become romantic moments, like when Kate isn’t sure if Emaline wants to sit with her. Moments like that are why there are so many fans. I’m so glad we got this show. 

PK; We’re very grateful to Netflix that we were able to tell this story in the first place. And I hope we get to tell the rest.

AE: Yes, we all hope so, too. We’re all rooting for a season two (I hope you’re reading this Netflix)! Thank you so much for speaking with AfterEllen today, Peyton. 

PK: Thank you!

Follow Peyton Kennedy on Twitter and Instagram

Let your voice be heard! Sign the petition to Netflix HERE.  Keep up with  #RenewEverythingSucks #IamKateMessner on Twitter!