Everyone is Doing Great review: The dull side of fame

James Lafferty, Stephen Coletti in Everyone is Doing Great - Photo Credit: Endeavor
James Lafferty, Stephen Coletti in Everyone is Doing Great - Photo Credit: Endeavor /

Everyone is Doing Great highlights the difficulties actors face after spending years on a long-running show only to end up back in square one.

Television actors rarely strike gold more than once, no matter how talented they are. Those lucky enough to get a series regular role on a long-running series are among the 1% of the 1%, and once that show is over, you might be surprised to discover how slim the job pool remains, even for an established name. That’s what James Lafferty and Stephen Colletti explore in their new series, Everyone is Doing Great.

Lafferty and Colletti know better than most how difficult it can be to find another stable job after wrapping a hit series. Colletti is best known for starring in the MTV reality series Laguna Beach, while Lafferty was one of One Tree Hill’s leads for nearly a decade. Colletti joined The CW drama during its fourth season and was later bumped up to the main cast.

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Since the show ended, neither Lafferty nor Colletti have exactly “broken out.” Colletti enjoyed a brief stint on VH1’s Hit the Floor. Lafferty appeared in a few Mike Flanagan projects like Oculus and The Haunting of Hill House but only recently nabbed another series regular role on Disney Plus’s historical drama The Right Stuff.

Given their shared post-One Tree Hill experience navigating a competitive job market, it’s not surprising that the duo would team up to write and co-star in a show that echoes their real experiences.

Everyone is Doing Great follows Jeremy (Lafferty) and Seth (Colletti), two out of work actors struggling to find their next big break after spending years on a successful Vampire Diaries-esque television show Eternal. Jeremy even wound up marrying his co-star Andrea (played by Lafferty’s real-life fiancée and The Royals alum Alexandra Park). By the end of the first episode, it becomes apparent that Jeremy’s problems are much bigger than his unemployment.

Lafferty recently opened up to Us Weekly about his post-CW career, admitting that he had naively assumed it would be easy for him to find work after the show finished.

“I thought that when that show ended, things would be pretty easy for me, that it would be easy to work again in television. Coming out of ‘One Tree Hill,’ I think it was a real reality check. It was a real wake-up call as to how incredibly competitive it is out there.”

Many CW stars struggle to make it outside of the network, so Lafferty isn’t alone. There have been multiple incidents of actors leaving a successful series early to pursue other ventures, only for them to fall off the radar as they get slapped with the reality of a slim job pool.

Everyone is Doing Great
Everyone is Doing Great – Photo Credit: Endeavor /

Where does Everyone is Doing Great succeed, and where does it fail?

In Episode 1, Seth seemingly nails an audition, even going so far as to mime a love scene on a pillow for a quirky casting director, only to be told by his agent that they “decided to go in a different direction.” It’s the unfortunate reality of the business and one that Lafferty and Colletti waste no time in exploring. Everyone is Doing Great shows that the world of acting isn’t as glamorous as some might think. Early success doesn’t mean an actor will be set for life. Many of them have to go through excruciating interviews and jump through hoops just like the rest of us.

It is in these explorations that the show most succeeds. In the second episode, Jeremy is horrified to discover he’s basically burned through all of his Eternal money. A $1 million paycheck during the final season seemed like a lot at the time, but factor in agent, publicist and other fees, and he really only walked away with $300,000. That’s still a sizable chunk of change, but for Jeremy, who spent years whittling away his cash, he’s now staring down a mountain of debt.

Yet these were the moments I found myself most interested in Everyone is Doing Great. We’ve all had celebrities we’ve gotten attached to over the years and been disappointed when they faded from the limelight. Sometimes you’re watching a Law & Order rerun and think, “Hey, I recognize them! I wonder what they’re up to now.” Then IMDb reveals… not much.

When watching this show, we get to see the potential perspective from two actors that experienced that for themselves, both in character and out.

However, the series has a real pacing problem. Each episode moves along at a glacial pace despite being less than 40 minutes in length. I think the series would have benefitted from some serious pruning to get it down to a 22-25 minute runtime. Several scenes feel redundant, depicting Jeremy and Seth rehashing conversations and dragging out the comedic beats until they lose their shine.

Fans of One Tree Hill will likely find a lot to like here as Colletti and Lafferty, who co-wrote the show, are given more freedom to do and say whatever they like versus the TV-14 days of The CW. The pair previously voiced concern that their fans might be surprised by the show’s racy nature, but I think most of us who grew up with One Tree Hill are old enough to appreciate seeing these guys in a different light.

I wish the show didn’t feel like such a drag. Those who haven’t formed an attachment to the actors already might struggle to get invested because the writing has a penchant to meander rather aimlessly.

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All eight episodes of Everyone is Doing Great are now available to stream on Hulu.