Note: Hulu’s All Night is rated TV-14 and contains mature themes, scenes, and mild language.
Perhaps to some, the idea of spending their last night as a high schooler, locked in for the ultimate Senior party, sounds like fun. To others it might seem like a necessary evil, or a rite of passage. Or the last chance to go for it, whatever it is, before everyone moves on with their lives. That’s the premise of Hulu’s All Night. Spread out over 10 half hour episodes (I watched the first two), audiences follow more than a dozen students during their graduation night lock-in at the high school. No electronics, no alcohol, just a last night together making memories and having fun. Of course it’s obvious that nothing is going to go as planed, and it looks like some students will have the night of their lives, and others are about to experience massive heartbreak. Maybe all of it at once.
Greeted by Principle Saperstein (Kate Flannery, The Office) and Coach Lewis (Dewan Owens), the students turn in their phones, have their backpacks inspected, and lose the fresh oranges and the toothpaste tubes filled with alcohol (yes you read that correctly). Tonight is about having safe fun and not recording anyone or anything. Does alcohol manage to get past the chaperones? Uh-huh. I won’t go into detail, but it involves bra inserts and hollowed out yearbooks.
We jump around from student to student and group to group. Bryce wants to humiliate Coach Lewis for causing him to lose the valedictorian title by mere tenths of a point. Stymie (Christopher Avila) and Jonas (Caleb Ray Gallegos) assume that “cosplay_queen_7” who they follow on social media goes to their school and is in their grade. Tonight, they’re going to find out who she is. At least that’s the plan. Deanna (Jenn McAllister) is going to tell her life-long best friend, Fig (Jake Short) that she’s actually in love with him. Roni’s (Brec Bassinger) boyfriend won’t sleep with her, causing some to suggest she’s missing something obvious, he’s gay. Cassie (Tetona Jackson) and Alexis (Teala Dunn) are dating, but Alexis doesn’t want her other friends to know. It’s a mix of hope, desperation, rumors, and belief that this is the last chance to make a name for themselves.
The adults while quirky, are written as responsible and not clueless, there’s just way too much going for them to oversee everything. As for the rest of the cast, I will say, they are ridiculously good looking, and have such unique and pleasant voices that I could listen to for quite some time. The pacing is fast, but not overwhelming and the production quality is good. While this show is not something I’ll be investing more time in, it’s actually kind of refreshing to just jump in and not have to worry about backstory. There’s no time to fully develop each character, but that’s not what the show is about anyway. We learn all the necessary information from everyone’s conversations, which feels natural and genuine.
All Night is a teen comedy and geared toward a very specific audience. I’m not opposed to high school entertainment but my viewing experiences revolve around dramaedys. Sure Freaks and Geeks, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and Glee all have their own cringe worthy moments, but something about All Night makes me want to interrupt the lock-in and say there’s so much more to life than this one event.
I’ll give Hulu’s All Night its diploma, but I’m not impressed with its GPA.