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REVIEW: Netflix’s “Alexa and Katie” portrays cancer in a new light

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Netflix's "Alexa and Katie" takes a different view on cancer.

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Sitcoms aimed at teens and preteens, such as those on Disney Channel or Nickelodeon, usually avoid depicting hard-to-discuss topics. The Netflix show “Alexa and Katie” is a gamechanger for teen sitcoms.

Last Friday, Netflix released the first season of its new teen-comedy sitcom, “Alexa and Katie,” created by Heather Wordham.

The show revolves around Alexa and Katie, casted by Paris Berelc and Isabel May respectively, who are best friends about to start high school. Though Alexa has cancer, Katie has always been by her side. But because Alexa worries that people will pity her, she keeps the fact that she has cancer as a secret between the two of them.

Despite the difficulty to incorporate such a serious topic in a family sitcom, the show manages to depict cancer with lightheartedness. The show does not portray cancer as a deadly disease, but merely as an obstacle in Alexa’s life. Unlike other media representations that depict cancer stories as tragedies, “Alexa and Katie” creates a positive outlook for people with cancer and their loved ones.

The message of the show, however, is the importance of family and friendships. As cliché as that may sound, the majority of the show focuses on the relationships and the friendships that the titular characters have.

Katie’s compassionate personality is one of the reasons why viewers will love this show. Her empathy stands out from the first episode: Katie shaves her head in solidarity with Alexa whose hair began to fall out due to chemotherapy.

Another enjoyable aspect of the Netflix series is its strong portrayal of women. The courage, independence and dedication that these women have make good role models to the audience.

Although “Alexa and Katie” does a successful job in engaging the audience, it still has its highs and lows. A qualm that viewers might have while watching is the constant jealousy between Alexa and Katie. This occurs when Katie is put in a situation in which she has to interact with other people more than she would with Alexa and vice versa. The jealousy plot is excessively overdone and gets tiresome after a few times. All the enjoyable aspects of this show, however, make up for any other flaws that a viewer might see.

Nonetheless, the show proved to be a delightful, kid-friendly and easy-to-binge-watch show, led by a great ensemble of actors and breakout stars.

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REVIEW: Netflix’s “Alexa and Katie” portrays cancer in a new light