Thursday, June 13, 2024

“Teenage Kiss: The Future is Dead” has a bright future

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Featured Photo by MAX

Story by Larry Rincon

November has been a slow month in terms of television and movies coming out. It feels like none of the things being released catch my attention or interest me in the slightest. Luckily, the internet and social media is a great resource for recommendations. 

“Teenage Kiss: The Future is Dead” is the first Portuguese Brazilian television series I have seen. While I do not usually like dystopian or utopian genres, this series was honestly way too good to not finish. 

The series takes place in Brazil during a time where the Amazon Forest is turned into an industrial park, and its citizens upon reaching adulthood fall under this illness called Monochromaticism. 

Monochromaticism is most certainly a metaphor for the joy and fun that gets sucked out when you have to join society as a working adult, but the actual illness takes form by turning everyone’s skin gray and by getting rid of their joy.

In this society, the kids and teenagers have discovered that you have a special power if you puke color after kissing someone. The organization is called Teenage Kiss, or TK, looks to spread the joys of teenagedom and protect it. They also work to show the adults that they run the world. 

Everything starts to go wrong when the members of TK start to show up dead around the city. The authorities start to believe that TK is a gang and as a result teenagers are getting caught up in a mess and being killed. In reality, something (or someone) is hunting down the members of TK. Now, they must work to figure out what that someone or something is. 

Ever since “Euphoria” was released, makeup and wardrobe has started to call the attention of viewers a lot more. “Teenage Kiss” is definitely one of those series where the makeup and wardrobe play a huge part in the series. All the teenagers wear bright and colorful attire, while the adults wear blacks, whites and grays. 

One of the main characters in the series is nicknamed The Clown, and he is essentially the head person in charge of TK. His ability is that he can get anyone to believe what he says, and he uses his ability through a transmission he sends to the other TK members through their headphones.

I was reminded of the 2019 movie “Joker” where Arthur, as he descends into madness, eventually goes on television to confess everything he did. The Clown does something similar, where he gets interviewed and talks about TK and what it is before he gets arrested. It’s an interesting parallel with different reasons to why they did those things. 

Intentionally or not I think it was a really powerful moment. The series is based on a graphic novel of the same name, so I am curious to know how much ended up being translated. 

There is an actual main character in this show, but unfortunately I feel that they were one of the most boring parts of the series. Ariel has just turned 15 in the series and after kissing a TK member, Lin Lin, pukes color and is essentially taken under another TK member’s wing, Tomas. 

I do believe that Ariel’s character is meant to be the audience. We, like him, are getting to know the world, and getting to know what TK really is all about. The show was building up to the reveal of what his ability is, but it ended up falling short of my expectations.

Having been able to sit with my thoughts, I still do not understand what his ability is. I thought the teasing of him not being affected by the abilities of others meant his ability is immunity. There was also a moment where it seemed that Ariel healed Tomas’s Monochromaticism, but then it came back. 

When the big reveal finally happened, it just felt lame. I think the ambiguity was mostly meant to be left to the audience’s interpretation, but I wish it was explored and developed more properly. You can’t create this build up and have the quickest, most boring climax ever.

In this show, their abilities are a reflection of their personalities, but it felt like I didn’t know who Ariel was. Regardless, I do think there was still a lot going for this series.

It is beautiful. The story is interesting and not superficial. It comments on society through this alternate world, and the addition of what is essentially magic makes that teenage experience shine in contrast to the lives of the adults.

If anyone is interested in a series with a bit of mystery and drama, this is a must watch from me. While there are still so many questions about this universe that I’d like answers to, I think there is hope for a potential second season. We have characters with motives ready to either fight for TK or against TK, and the story feels like it’s just getting started. 

The complete first season is available to watch on Max, and while TK’s catchphrase is “The Future is Dead”, I think the future is just getting started for these characters. 

To contact Lifestyles Editor Destiny Mizell, email lifestyles@mtsusidelines.com. For more news, visit www.mtsusidelines.com, or follow us on Facebook at MTSU Sidelines or on X at @MTSUSidelines.

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