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The End of the F***ing World season two, Jessica Barden
Jessica Barden as Alyssa in The End of the Fucking World season twoCourtesy Channel 4

Jessica Barden on EOTFW memes and her internet obsessions

As The End of the F***ing World returns, we speak to the actor about iconic Vines, bingeing Succession, and why she loves Spencer Pratt’s Instagram

It’s been two years since the cliffhanger finale of The End of the F***ing World’s breakout first series, and Jessica Barden is just as eager for its return as the rest of us. “I’m so excited for everybody to watch it again,” she tells Dazed over the phone. “I can’t wait for people to see the show progress forward, and meet a different version of Alyssa.”

When we first met Alyssa in late 2017, she was an angsty teen running away from home with self-declared psychopath James (played by Alex Lawther) who – unbeknownst to her – was planning to kill her. With her cutting remarks and no-bullshit attitude, anti-hero Alyssa led the pair down a perilous path, ultimately ending with a murder and police chase. Peppered with deadpan sarcasm, awkward teenage moments, and dark British humour, The End of the F***ing World takes viewers on an obsessively bingeable – and very fucked-up – journey.

Based on a comic book series by graphic novelist Charles S. Forsman, the show first aired on Channel 4 but got a new lease of life when added to Netflix in January 2018, instantly sparking memes, fan theories, and an insatiable hunger for more. Barden acknowledges the vital role of social media among the show’s dedicated fanbase. “The kids who follow the show are genuinely very creative,” she explains, “they use the internet in such a smart way and are inspired in their reactions and theories.” 

She continues: “One of the things I really enjoy about being online with the show is that a lot of the people who follow the series are teenagers. I’m 27 now so I don’t have (the insight) anymore into being a teenager, and I think you do forget how great kids are. They’re experiencing things for the first time and they do just wholeheartedly love things.”

Finally returning to Channel 4 on Monday (November 4), the new season is set to be just as wild as the first. The latest trailer has already introduced new girl Bonnie (portrayed by Naomi Ackie), and revealed Alyssa in a wedding dress. After being shot by police, James’ fate is still TBA.

Ahead of the show’s return, Dazed caught up with Barden to discuss all things online. Here, the actor talks us through her favourite The End of the F***ing World meme, and reveals why she’s obsessed with Spencer Pratt’s Instagram account. 


Jessica Barden: Memes are, in my opinion, the highest form of comedy right now. Nowadays we’re quite serious about things, so (we need) silly humour. I’m living the meme life every single day. My favourite The End of the F***ing World meme was when they cut me and the girl (Maddie Ziegler) from the Sia music video together, when she has the white wig on. That one was hilarious because I was like, ‘yo I actually do look like that girl’.


Jessica Barden: I really love Michael McKean’s tweets from Spinal Tap because he’s an older person on Twitter, and his tweets range from really fantastic, present, smart, measured responses to political things, and then just telling people to fuck off if they’re rude to him. He’s just like, ‘you’re an arsehole, fuck off’. He’s a genuine, honest person on Twitter, and he also has this huge knowledge of music and tweets fantastic things about bands. I worked with him on a movie and was like, ‘this guy is hilarious’. He’s profound, every single day.


Jessica Barden: I was really sad when Vine disappeared. When I lived with my friend Bill, we actually used to wake up everyday and watch the compilation videos of the best of Vine – that’s what we did in the morning before we got up. 

My favourite Vine – and actually my favourite YouTube video ever – is the ‘What the fuck, Richard?’ one. When he throws the frisbee and his dad is like: “What the fuck, Richard?” The comedy of it is so random and it just comes out of nowhere, like this guy violently throws a frisbee at his dad, then his dad’s gentle voice… I don’t know how to explain it but that’s just the comedy that I really love.


Jessica Barden: Succession. It’s about a really successful family in America, and Brian Cox plays the father – the head patriarch of the family – and the show is about him deciding which of his kids takes over his business. It’s based on a real story. The acting and the writing are incredible in it – it’s just a straight-down-the-middle, strong drama about family. I think in England you can binge it, but (being in America) I had to wait every week for it to come out.


Jessica Barden: Oh my god, Spencer Pratt on Instagram. He posts videos of hummingbirds! He has these amazing videos where he has these sugar water things and the hummingbirds come into his garden to eat.

I’ve been following him for about two years. I know him from The Hills, but then I started to spend more time in LA than London, and so we have a lot of mutual friends. He’s honestly a super nice guy, and a really great businessman. He uses Instagram in such a great way. I think the way that he is is different than people might think because of The Hills – people get confused about what Spencer Pratt is really doing. He’s actually a super calm guy; he’s just a family man who lives a really healthy lifestyle. 


Jessica Barden: Sophia Kleo does lifestyle videos. She’s a 22-year-old girl who lives in LA, and she got a large following because she’s really pretty and wears nice clothes, but then what she did with her account is really inspirational to a lot of young women. We still live in a time where it’s hard for teenagers to have positive role models. I remember when I was younger and all the magazines were at their height – everybody was size zero, everyone had hair extensions. It wasn’t a healthy (thing to look up to). But Sophia is a YouTuber who puts out a really positive message about body image.

There’s this video she did where she ate like a Victoria’s Secret model for five days – she followed a different model’s diet plan (each day), then at the end would be like, ‘this one’s really unrealistic’. She does what a lot of other YouTubers do, but she does it in an honest way. She will also create a lot of videos, then won’t post anything for two months and say: “I needed to take time out to just breathe and not be online.” 

I love watching lifestyle bloggers because – and I don’t mean this to sound as depressing as it sounds, but it’s honest – obviously I travel a lot, so I find it comforting to watch them when spending a lot of time by myself.

Season two of The End of the F***ing World will premiere on Channel 4 between November 4 and 7