Characters from "Looking for Alaska"

‘Looking for Alaska’ by John Green Finally Found a Home on Hulu

It's time to go on another angsty adventure with the prolific young adult author.
April 6, 2020
7 mins read

“I go to seek the great perhaps” are the famous words from the novel “Looking for Alaska,” which may or may not have dominated your late middle school years. For a long while, it was unknown if the novel would become a film. Ultimately, it found its home on Hulu as an original series that allows viewers to relive the nostalgic days of teenage angst.

Looking for Alaska” was the first novel published by John Green. Green is known for “The Fault in Our Stars,” “Paper Towns,” “An Abundance of Katherines” and a few others. Besides writing, Green also vlogs on YouTube with his brother, Hank Green.

The Fault In Our Stars” was the first film adaptation of one of Greens novels, followed by Paper Towns”; Its no surprise that there was high anticipation for a film adaptation of Looking for Alaska.” Yet, that never came about. It turns out that Green sold the movie rights for the book to directors who truly wanted to execute his vision, but the adaptation ended up in limbo because it was unknown if it would be profitable or not.

It wasn’t until years later that there was a revival of Looking for Alaska”  — not as a film, but as a series. This began the long hunt for who would play the iconic Alaska Young and Miles Halter, also known as Pudge.

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In October 2018, Green announced on Twitter who would play the leads. As always, its hard to get out of the mindset of the book is better than the movie,” or in this case, series. But upon watching all of the episodes, theres a clear connection to the book. Pudge was still his awkward teen boy self; Alaska, dangerous; and The Colonel still thought he was large and in charge.

The series aired in October 2019, but it didnt pick up until recently. Perhaps it didn’t immediately resonate because of the generation now, in which teens have mobile connection, access to money and an easier time getting ahold of alcohol. Yet, if you were to read the book, all the payphone calls, vintage clothes and pranks make total sense, as the teens were off in boarding school in the middle of nowhere.

And even though the story is set in 2005 — when the novel was published — you have to admit that Alaska Young and her friends are still the real life embodiment of what any young adult could want.

The content of the novel and the show really are relevant to todays culture, maybe more for the generation who grew up with the literature, but it can even impact those who never read the novel. Looking for Alaska” opens more than memories. It opens up the discussion of transition from teen years to adulthood, depression, bad habits and inner circles. All with a hit soundtrack that features The Killers, Bloc Party, Beck and more.

One thing Alaska says in both the series and the book is, Ill have more time for reading when Im old and boring.” Though she has a lifes library” and cares deeply about her books and loves to read, this honestly represents how transparent someone who is struggling with demons can be.

Back in 2015, Greens novel was named the most challenged book. Those who complained found the novel held offensive language” and sexually explicit description.” Though the series had the same content, such as characters constantly drinking alcohol and chain smoking — which is really overdone — and discovering pornography, the series doesnt encourage the type of behavior the characters displayed.

The behavior, if anything, is condemned, and the consequences of their actions drive the point of Greens novel and the character Pudge. If you havent figured out the point, its going to seek the great perhaps,” which isnt a destination or a person. Its the symbolization of what it is to accept yourself and the obstacles thrown at you.

Though there are clever scenes in place to display these huge messages, such as the worst day best day” scene, they aren’t nearly as dramatic or touching as one would have thought. Which is another reminder that words are more powerful, and if you disagree, see how the series mimicked the structure of the novel, which is divided into two halves with the labeling of days before Alaskas death (yes, she dies), bringing to the forefront for the viewer that death is bound to happen. We just dont know when.

Though it kind of forced another famous line,If people were rain, I was drizzle and she was a hurricane,” the series can be appreciated by those who waited far too long for the adaptation. Its true, that we can never get enough of wanting to relive our teenage years, feeling and thinking were on top of the world.

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If youre finding this quite morbid, thats good, because there really isnt any other way to endure a Green novel or visual. The series started off morbid as Pudge remembers people’s last words. Thats what makes him complex; he’s determined to find the Great Perhaps, and its safe to say it haunts him not knowing Alaskas last words.

Besides Looking for Alaska,” Green’s Paper Towns,” which also began in Orlando, is another love story that didnt have a happy ending. The mystery and the hunt of being infatuated with another or with an idea is one that Green conveys beautifully throughout his works.

The series consists of eight episodes, which run about an hour long. Though it doesnt seem like thats enough to fit in the entire novel that was religiously reblogged on Tumblr, it is. Looking for Alaska” hasnt crossed my mind in a long time, so when Hulu displayed the ad for the series, my stomach sank and shivers were sent up my spine knowing an old read has been revived.

Mirella Gonzales, Texas Tech University

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Mirella Gonzales

Texas Tech University
M.A. in Strategic Communication and Innovation

A student, writer, bikini competitor and cookie butter lover trying to find the balance between living and learning.

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