Netflix’s new show “No Good Nick” fails to stand behind a comprehensive message


Everything in media has a message.

Television shows, music, news, and movies all have a theme and a purpose. Sometimes it’s to make us laugh or smile or become impassioned for a good cause. No matter the purpose, the message usually comes across quite clearly and concisely.

That was not the case with Netflix’s new show No Good Nick.

Nick (Siena Audong) is a young teen girl whose father has recently been imprisoned. To come up with the money to get him out, Nick runs a long con on the Thompson family. With a pile of forged papers, she shows up at their front door claiming to be the daughter of a distant cousin who has lost both of her parents in a tragic car accident, claiming that the Thompsons are her only remaining relatives.

And so Nick Franzelli becomes Nick Patterson, and a show meant for young teens becomes about deceit.

And so Nick Franzelli becomes Nick Patterson, and a show meant for young teens becomes about deceit.

At least that was my first impression.

I really struggled to continue watching the first few episodes with the thought of what kind of example to young minds this was festered in the back of my mind. And once I noted that first issue with the show’s content, issues simply continued to pop up like pesky weeds.

Molly (Lauren Lindsey Donzis), the Thompson’s daughter, and her friends spend most of their time on screen talking about their participation in the school’s Volunteer Squad — a group that uses social media influence and good dose of rather contemptuous competition to attempt to stand up for the world’s many injustices, entirely with an annoying sense of insincerity.

I would hope that the portrayal of Molly and her friend’s rather insulting attitude toward injustice is some sort of satirical play by the producers; however, I can not say that with confidence and therefore found it to be a rather irritating issue for me throughout the duration of the show.

Yet, I did say that the show contained an exorbitant amount of mixed messages, and one piece of the conglomeration began to show itself about halfway through the ten-episode long season.

As the show progresses, you begin to develop more of an understanding of the position Nick has been put in: an impossible one. Between her father, the con she is supposed to be running, and the family she can’t help but fall for, her life is a little more than simply complicated. And as she struggles with all that she carries on her shoulders, you can’t help but sympathize with and fall for her a little.

Nick brings a message of change into the show. The kind of change that takes a child’s life and turns it completely around. But the show does well by not sugar-coating the intense struggle associated with that kind of change. Nick feels a responsibility to her father, yet she can’t help but see the way that a family should act. There are children out there who are faced with these sorts of choices and changes in their everyday life. And Siena Agudong depicts their challenge in a highly talented way.

I was also highly impressed both with the quality of the Thompson parents’ characters and their portrayal. Ed Thompson (Sean Astin) welcomed Nick into his home with open arms and spends the entirety of the show really making an effort to show her that she is welcome in their home. I truly enjoyed his open heart and welcoming attitude. The way Sean Astin interacted with the characters around him created a sense of realisticness that these types of shows can sometimes struggle to engender. On the other hand, Liz Thompson (Melissa Joan Hart) takes a far more reserved approach to Nick. She is rather unsure about having Nick in their home. Her differing opinion causes tension with Ed; however, the way they honestly and healthily handle marital conflict is another point in the show’s favor.

Overall, while I enjoyed the talented acting and occasional good message, I struggled to understand the true purpose of the show. The inability to pinpoint a true, more ultimate, message in the show, unfortunately, takes away from its merits.