If you’re in your twenties now — or were in your twenties in the 2010s — stop what you’re doing and put on Stan’s Everything I Know About Love. It’s a testament to being an absolute mess, 2012 bangers, terrible men and mostly importantly, to friendship. And lead actor Emma Appleton gave PEDESTRIAN.TV some goss into what makes the show so compulsively watchable.
In case ya missed it the first time, Everything I Know About Love is based on British writer Dolly Alderton’s best-selling memoir of the same name. It charts her early twenties living in London with three of her pals, including her bestie Farley.
The TV show is a fictionalised version of the memoir. It follows childhood best friends Maggie (Appleton) and Birdy (Bel Powley), who move into a flat with their uni friends Amara (Aliyah Odoffin) and Nell (Marli Siu).
There’s also terrible men, including Street (Connor Finch), who absolutely reeks of indie male superiority complex and Topshop Man perfume.
In my humble opinion, the TV show will be just as gratifying for people who loved for OG book and for newcomers. They feel like two different creations which are fundamentally linked by a moving core theme. And while it’s deffo fun to see iconic scenes from the book played out onscreen, there are surprises too.
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Emma Appleton told PEDESTRIAN.TV she thought the way Dolly Alderton translated the memoir into a screenplay was “really clever”.
“She’s kept those universal themes and universal experiences that originally connected everyone to the book in the first place,” Appleton said.
“She’s carried those [ideas] through of female friendship and being in your twenties.
“Feeling like you should have it all together and know the answers, but actually inside just being in, you know, quiet despair. But on the outside, pretending that everything’s fine.”
As someone who is currently the same age as Maggie and co in the TV show, Everything I Know About Love isn’t just a compelling watch. It’s a comforting one too.
That’s largely because of the core relationship of the show — the one between Birdy and Maggie.
Their friendship undergoes the ultimate challenge: Birdy getting a boyfriend.
There’s a scene in the second episode where the four housemates go out clubbing. Maggie is increasingly frustrated with how much time Birdy is spending with her Australian boyfriend Nathan (yay, boring Australian white man rep!).
At the club, Kylie Minogue’s “Love At First Sight” comes on. We flash back to the two girls performing a dance to the song during Birdy’s bat mitzvah when they were younger.
Then back in the club scene, the two recreate the dance before Maggie stands back and watches Birdy lose herself in the music. There’s a distinct pang of loss in Maggie’s eyes as she watches Birdy — as if she’s trying to preserve the image of her friend because she feels at risk of losing it forever.
Emma Appleton explained why Everything I Know About Love’s decision to focus on this platonic love story is so unique.
“We normally see romantic relationships depicted as the main storyline in TV shows or films. The fact [is] that this is [a] platonic relationship but it’s filled with just as much love and just as much romance really as a romantic relationship,” she said.
“[There’s] the love and care that they have for each other and also the fact that you see the cracks kind of starting to appear like normal relationships do.”
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In the first episode, Nell describes Birdy and Maggie’s relationship jokingly as “co-dependent”. For Appleton, that description is quite apt.
“I think it is a good descriptor, and I think that is why it’s tricky when Birdy gets a boyfriend and Maggie doesn’t know what this means for their relationship,” explained Appleton.
“I think there is this like slight co-dependency there — not in a toxic way at all, but in a way of like, they have been each other’s longest relationship up until this point.
“They’ve built their identities and their sense of selves from each other as well. And I think they obviously hit this crossroads of going.. ‘who am I without this person, or with this person not around so much?’”
So much of your early twenties feels like standing on the precipice of the massive, horrifying void of Adulthood. And one of the scariest elements of that is the fear of growing out of your friendships, the things which have tethered you through your life so far.
But the depth of Maggie’s friendships teach her about the love she should be receiving in other areas of her life, according to Appleton.
“I think she gradually realises that the love and romantic relationships needs to be as fulfilling and as generous and as accepting as the love that she has in all those other relationships in her life,” she said.
“I’d like to think there’s part of her that gets the point where she understands that she has to let go a bit to, you know, keep her best friend in her life basically.”
As well as the intense-female-friendship of it all, one of the other standout elements of the show is its incredible 2012 vibes. It really took me back to Year 9 school discos.
“I’ve got such a fondness for that time. I remember it really clearly… and I think a lot of that is down to the fashion,” Emma Appleton explained.
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She particularly highlighted putting on a pair of American Apparel disco pants.
“I still think they’re cool,” she said.
Hard agree. I’ve been known to whip mine out on special occasions.
The clothing and soundtrack really helped capture 2012 as a “definitive place in time”, according to Appleton.
And I never thought I’d say it, but Maggie’s wardrobe made me want a 2010s fashion revival. No more Y2K pls!
Emma Appleton pointed to Maggie’s Afghan coat and her rainbow sparkly jumpsuit as personal faves.
“That jumpsuit really goes on a journey,” she said.
If you’re looking for a companion on these cold lonely nights, put on your metaphorical sparkly jumpsuits, call your best mates and settle in for some seriously soul-warming binge watching.
You can catch all eight episodes of Everything I Know About Love streaming only on Stan.