Best Of The Web: Youth, Etc.

Youth, Etc. is a web series about the lives and relationships of Jaden and B, a pair of best friends, so close, that they hardly interact with the outside world. They finish each other’s sentences and have an incredibly strong bond with one another. Season one of this series focuses on the difficulties they encounter with dating, concerts, and Instagram poetry. While it’s only a short season, viewers can really connect with the characters and the issues they encounter in the series.

Jaden is a gay man with an undying love for Beyoncé. On a blind date, he almost leaves immediately because his date initially avoids his crucial question about her best album. He also has a family issue relating to his sexuality. His father repeatedly tries to set him up on dates with women, blatantly avoiding the truth. My favorite Jaden moment is when he tells B that he went on a date, strictly to play Mancala. I haven’t heard someone talk about Mancala in decades.

Banna, or B, is the decision-maker in the friendship, but also the less sensible one as well. During the series, she has loud outbursts about problems they encounter; thankfully, she’s very funny and those moments are some of the most enjoyable. B is slightly obsessed with a man named Corey, who, according to Jaden, really corny. When we meet Corey, he is overly friendly and seems obsessed with them. However, B is hung up on him for some odd reason.

Jalen and B spend every moment possible with each other and make every situation awkward. In the first episode, they ridicule an Instagram poet for her mindless short verse poetry. Once boredom strikes, they decide to create their own following by putting together hundreds of wise one-liners, some of which the previously mentioned poet likes. They meet up with her at one point and exchange poetry while not saying anything of real substance. After she uses their material, they collectively shrug their shoulders and move on with their lives.

Their inseparable relationship is what carries the plot of the show. Over the five episodes of season one, there aren’t any overly exciting scenes or tragic heartbreak. Instead, the two characters play incredibly well off of each other, giving the plot life. They frequently criticize each other about their love life, previous bad decisions, and other lighthearted topics. Since they’re so close, neither is offended or angry at each other’s criticisms. Jaden and B are so close, it seems they have no use for others at all, evidenced by B's avoidance of her sister when she comes to town. They love each other and are comfortable with one another unlike anyone else in their lives.

The comedy in the first season is incredible at times. When they try to buy concert tickets from a scalper, he asks them about their personal lives and accomplishments. After hearing Jaden has a college degree, he changes the price accordingly. Their reactions and this entire scene had me in stitches. Even sitting on a couch, the insults and digs Jaden and B take at one another are very relatable. Jaden pokes fun at a sex story B is embarrassed about and B jokes with Jaden about his father’s ignorance about his sexuality. Numerous scenes made me laugh out loud.

The cinematography of the show is also surprisingly engaging. It isn’t overly produced or heavily edited. The two stars of the show write their own material and keep their lines very clean. There were no awkward acting moments, nor mistakes at all. I genuinely believe Jaden and B are actual life-long best friends, as their on-screen chemistry is evident. While most shows I’ve seen are overproduced, the realness of Youth, Etc very refreshing.

There are a couple improvements I would suggest for the show. While this is only season one, I want to know more about the characters’ backgrounds. The relationship between Jaden and his father seems very interesting based on his body language when his father calls him. I also want to know why B is so drawn to Corey, who by all accounts is super boring.

I also want more time from the show. Episode three is barely three minutes long! I was interested in the show from the first couple scenes and then the episode ended. In upcoming seasons, I would strive for 20-30-minute episodes. There are so many daily interactions that most millennials could relate to, giving the production numerous options for content. Otherwise, I loved the first season of this show and look forward to future episodes.

Youth, Etc. examines the relationship between two completely opposite people. While Jaden and B have very little in common, their bond is unbreakable. They are so connected that the outside world barely matters to them. Concerts and potential dates are merely victims for them to poke fun at in the nicest way possible. While only a small sample size, the show gives viewers enough to grab hold of, while also leaving them wanting more. With a closer look at what makes Jaden and B who they are, Youth, Etc. will help us understand more about the engaging characters and their relationship with one another. I am a fan of this show and suggest you take the time to check it out.