Stereotypes In The Series No Tomorrow

Although the series No Tomorrow ended up being canceled after it aired one season on the CW television network, it has been deemed pleasurable, humorous, and thought provoking, with an intriguing plot twist. No Tomorrow addresses issues real people experience throughout their life such as: conflicts within relationships, acceptance of yourself and others, and growing as an adult due to making life changing decisions, while also breaking societal stereotypes for the romantic-comedy genre, as well as television as a whole, depicting the importance of diversity and welcoming change.

In the beginning of the series, we meet the main character, Evie; a tall, goofy, beautiful blonde, who works a dissatisfying job in a warehouse that is similar to Amazon, with a boss named Deirdre, that is rude and undermining, along with Evie’s two best friends and coworkers, Hank and Kareema, who help Evie through difficult times, while also facing their own day to day problems. There is also Timothy, Evie’s on and off again boyfriend, who is so soft spoken, that at times, he needs subtitles for you to know what he is saying. The second leading role of the show is Xavier, the attractive, british guy Evie meets in a local farmers market, who believes the world is going to end in approximately eight months, due to his complex mathematical findings that proved an asteroid was on track to collide with Earth, thus he leaves his life of boring employment and unhappiness, in exchange for freedom and fulfillment.

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Xavier plans to spend what little time he has left completing his apocalyst, which is a journal he filled with different activities, goals, and desires he wishes to accomplish before the world ends. He also tries to spread the word of his findings to others in the world, and even the government, but is viewed as crazy and dismissed until the last episode of the series. Evie was also on the fence about Xavier’s theory, but eventually decided that she needed change in her life by giving it purpose and fulfillment, while also still keeping her responsibilities as a working class citizen, thus beginning the romance between Evie and Xavier, and their continuous checking off of apocalyst items. She does, however, state that she does not necessarily believe the world was going to end, but rather is these changes for her self-betterment (Yates).

Other characters follow Evie’s lead, creating their own version of an apocalyst, leading to more community involvement in simply living happier lives. Xavier and his theory creates the plot twist of doomsday prepping, while also altering the romcom genre by morphing a terrifying theory, along with its negative impacts, into a more positive, and uplifting vibe. The final episode ends with each character beginning a new chapter in their lives with confidence, including Evie and Xavier, who discover that they want different things out of life at the moment (Weidenfeld). Essentially, the purpose of the show is not to fulfill your wildest dreams, but to achieve things you want in life, while dealing with all the difficulty it may entail, leaving the viewer feeling optimistic about the future at the end of each episode (Jones).

The most notable piece of ground breaking screenplay present in the show is ironically seen in its diverse supporting characters, varying in race, size, gender, sexual orientation, and beliefs. One positive review, No Tomorrow: TV Show Review, written by Gupta Saab, explains that even though there were some rom com cliches that were evident, the show had very few, and that he enjoyed the series even more because of actor variation and how race, nor ethnicity impacted the characters personas. Saab claimed to have wanted to see even more diversity because it was so pleasing to the eye. He does, however, state that the supporting characters could use more screen time, but are still, Interesting and dimensional. Many critics and viewers agree with Saab, elaborating that these aspects of the show made the audience come back for more, due to its light-hearted temperament and character relatability to its audience.

In contrast to Saab, Jen Chaney offered more harsh critiques of No Tomorrow in her article, The CW’s No Tomorrow is Mostly Pleasurable, Breezy Fun, suggesting that the show will most likely flop due to its overloaded plot within the first episode, explaining that it seemed more like a condensed film than a television series. She notes that the show is too fast-paced, and needs to dive deeper into the characters, and should avoid the use of cliches in dialogue. Chaney further iterations that the only way the series will become successful is through the leading roles and how the actors convey their relationship throughout the season, along with the viewer’s ability to embrace its fictional elements and ignore contrivances of the script. She ends her conclusion with the comment, No Tomorrow is more about a woman trying to connect with her own bliss, while maybe finding a guy in the process, than the story of a girl seeking nothing more than a boy. Admittedly, there’s a very fine line between those two types of quests. No Tomorrow may be able to stay on the more interesting side of that delicate divide. As to whether it actually pulls that off, as Evie might say: Let me get back to you, alluding to its possibility of failure in comparison to other popular CW series such as Jane the Virgin and Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, that have the same producers.

Chaney does not completely dismiss the show, describing its potential to develop into a success as, Pleasurable, breezy fun, but contradicts Saab in advocating that the characters lack depth, completely overlooking key qualities of their subcultures. Although, I can agree with Chaney that the first episode plot was slightly overdone; thus I understand her concern, as it may have been too overwhelming for some viewers to want to continue watching. My view, however, coincides predominantly with Gupta Saab, in that the characters possess depth as the show progresses, even though there are a limited number of episodes available. Furthermore, I concur that No Tomorrow expresses a sufficient amount of insight on the characters personas between dialogue, body language, and how their personalities and desires unfold from the social and physical environments around them, while also displaying various subcultures that lack stereotypical depictions based on the actors ethnicity.

Many characters defy a stereotype, in some way, within the show. For Evie, the viewer first perceives her as a stereotypical blonde that is attractive, yet lacks confidence, and sticks with the status quo (Yates). Overtime, she starts to show the depth of her personality and internal struggles she has about wanting something more for herself. This is first revealed when she rejects Timothy’s proposal to her by saying she needs time to think. It is also exhibited when she takes a stand against Xavier. He decided to take matters into his own hands, and got her fired from her job, thinking it would help push her along in his direction of living a free-spirited lifestyle. Evie’s personally would generally fall weak in competition with someone like Xavier, yet she breaks the tradition and displays female empowerment by appreciating his efforts to help her bring fulfillment into her life, but decides she is going to work on her own agenda (Jones). She does this by staying employed, stepping out of her comfort zone by confronting her prejudices, making her own decisions for enhancing her future, and standing up for herself against Deidre’s oppressive judgmentalness, and Xavier when he overstepped his boundaries.

Kareema is a fiesty, modern, pansexual, and blunt southeast asian, who could not be further away from the stereotypical Indian woman. She states in the first episode, Honestly, I don’t know what’s sadder. The utter meaninglessness of this job, or your attempts to imbue it with meaning. But then I remember there is no sadness and we’re all just bags of dust in an infinite universe, (No Tomorrow). This shows her view on the purpose of life and fulfillment, along with religion and what is beyond. Throughout the series, Kareema makes comments or recalls certain activities she partakes in such as heavy partying and multiple sexual encounters. We even meet her mother and brother, who go against common societal beliefs of Indian normalities, as far as clothing and commentary, with the exception of her mother noting that if Kareema does not find a partner soon and marry, that it will be done for her, coinciding with traditions of indian culture. Alternatively, she falls in love with her brother’s fiance’, ultimately changing her outlook on life from a predominantly negative and cynical outlook, to a more happy and loving stance.

Deirdre on the other hand is a strong woman who has a leader position within the show as the boss of the warehouse, displaying a woman in a position of power and authority, even over men. The viewer perceives Deidre to be sexy, cruel, yet hilarious, and at the end of the day, love struck for her assistant Hank. Her cruel words are seen when talking to Evie in the beginning of the series, stating, Well, you’re not a leader. People don’t listen when you talk. You’re too timid. You don’t motivate people. You lack confidence. You don’t command respect. You’re an inspiration to absolutely no one, (No Tomorrow). Although she insults Evie’s work ethic, and her personality, we see later on, that Deirdre seeks Evie’s help in attempting to get Hank to be interested in her. She even develops character wise socially, becoming more kind to her employees and establishes friendships within Evie’s circle.
Both Kareema and Deidre defy their common stereotypes, and are presented as normal, working women, facing relationship and workplace issues, making them relatable to the audience. This is a refreshing change in comparison to other television series that depict females with biased, misogynist views, dress them in inappropriate clothing, or form their characters personas based off of their race and gender. We can also see these non stereotypical qualities present in the male supportive roles in No Tomorrow; Timothy and Hank, who are also best friends in the series.

Timothy is at first presented to the audience as a biracial nerd, that writes for a technology magazine. His character is a timid, quiet, and awkward guy, who is heartbroken by Evie when she rejects his engagement. Although Timothy does not want to move on from Evie, he knows he has to try and put himself out there. He decides to strength his persona and go out with different women he meets online, in bars, at parties in hot tubs, and even in the workplace. By doing so, he statters his nerdy mold by improving his life, while also staying true to his characterization, by simply adding more confidence to his self-esteem, and even getting himself a few different lady friends.

Hank is yet another character within this story that believes the apocalypse is coming, but at the hands of the Russian government and its nuclear power to bomb the world. Hank is an african American man, and paranoid conspiracy theorist, who believes the only way to survive this global act of terrorism is to seek shelter in a bunker he believes exists to protect the world’s leaders. He is also depicted as loyal, kind hearted, caring, loud, and a great best friend, as well as Deidre’s lover, but they face hardship due to workplace policies on relationships and dating coworkers. Hank defies traditional stereotypes associated with black people; he is not a thug, drug dealer, or rapper, he does not have a baby mama, and has not been in prison. Instead, Hank is a presentable, well dressed man who is employed, and simply wants to be happily in love, and safe from the Russians.

Gupta Saab explains these characters and their differentiation in comparison to their stereotypes, which is spot on. He further iterations that No Tomorrow shows that no matter what you identify as, we are all still human beings. While some critics, like Jen Chaney, think otherwise, believing that the plot is overdone, and the characters are flat, lacking in dimension and development. Although I agree with Chaney up to a point, I fully endorse Saab in his final conclusion that the characters maintain subcultures that bend traditional stereotypical views associated with their identity, especially the supporting roles due to their increasing variation in comparison to Evie and Xavier, who still defy these social stigmas, just not to as high of a degree of the other actors. The differentiation among the cast gives the characters extra dimension, and meaning, making the show more interesting and capturing the hearts of a diverse audience.

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