The Summer I Turned Pretty

The Summer I Turned Pretty season 1

Credits

Cast

Network

Reviewer

Marsella Evans

TV Series Review

The summer sun. Splashing around in the ocean. Sparking a new romance. Enjoying a beer or three. What could go wrong?

Plenty, as it turns out.

Belly has always loved spending her summers with the Fishers in Cousins Beach, but everything is changing. She isn’t a little kid anymore, so the dynamic between her, her older brother, and the two Fisher boys is shifting.

For starters, Conrad Fisher has changed. He is constantly brooding and hung over–far from the bright, friendly guy she used to know. Belly has wanted a relationship with him for years, but now she isn’t so sure.

By comparison, Belly’s finding Jeremiah, Conrad’s younger brother, a lot more attractive. He’s friendly and flirty, and he’s started to notice Belly’s good looks. He’s also had relationship with people of both genders. Clearly, relations with the Fisher guys are getting a lot more complex.

But while romance might be in the air, friendship is still the main order for the summer. Belly’s mom and the Fishers’ mom are still the closest of friends, and Belly loves her friend Taylor more than anything. Close female friendships are a major theme of the show, even through conflict and change.

This Outer Banks style romantic comedy is set to a soundtrack full of Taylor Swift, Lizzo, and Olivia Rodrigo’s most popular songs. The friendships, romances, and family relationships are fun and well-written but full of problematic drama. The To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before author seems to have another hit on her hands, but it isn’t exactly family friendly.

The characters are rarely all sober at once, and coarse language abounds. The only senses of morality discussed are loyalty and responsibility, both of which are still executed questionably at best. The show includes several LGBT characters, and the boys are all enjoying themselves quite a bit with their respective partners.

Belly can’t figure herself out, which is relatable for many teen girls. The show is heartwarming at times, funny, and romantic. But it includes needlessly adult content and language that depicts a false world where consequences almost never make an appearance.

Episode Reviews

Jun. 16, 2022—S1, Ep1: “Summer House”

Belly, older brother Steven, and their mom, Laurel, arrive at the beach house in Cousins and start having a great time with the Fishers. The Fisher mom asks Belly to be a part of the debutante ball, and later, chaos ensues at a beach bonfire. Belly meets a new boy, Cam, and they hit it off while the mothers try to figure out how to deal with Conrad. A major focus of the show is peoples’ appearances, constantly comparing attractiveness among the teen characters. Several people mention the ways Belly has grown up and gone through puberty. Laurel is divorced. Laurel is always worried about the financial differences beween her family and the Fishers. Several characters make out with other teenagers. Conrad drinks and smokes marijuana at the same time, and Laurel shares a joint with the Fishers’ mother. The girls wear tight-fitting and otherwise immodest outfits, while the boys are often shirtless. Teens drink and a few are intoxicated, but the moms seem unbothered. Refreshingly, Belly and Cam bond over their shared choice not to drink, but that doesn’t slow the party down. A few comments with sexual implications are made. The s-word is said many times, h— is used as a swear word, and different versions of the word a– are used.

Jun. 16, 2022—S1, Ep2: “Summer Dress”

Belly decides to be a debutante and goes shopping with the moms to get prepared for all the debutante events being held during the summer. She goes to the debutante tea and runs into Cam again, who invites her on a date. Meanwhile, Belly’s brother, Steven, is getting more serious with Shayla, another debutante. Belly is having increasingly serious fights with the Fisher boys and her brother. They all insult each other and their choices. There’s discussion of a lesbian bringing her girlfriend to the debutante tea:Laurel and the Fishers’ mom say that a debutante bringing her girlfriend is progressive, but the girl later confesses that she hoped that her choice of date would be an excuse not to go. She mentions that she thought the country club would suggest conversion therapy. An African-American girl says Cousins pretends to be woke. The debutantes hide drinking during the tea and Conrad continues to drink to excess. The boys are disappointed that a marijuana dealer they know got arrested. Laurel asks Belly if they need to have a talk about consent before she leaves on her date. Belly threatens to expose Steven’s fanfiction story, which includes sexual content involving Draco from Harry Potter. Jeremiah discusses kissing and hooking up with two girls and two boys. Steven is shown in a scene where he is clearly about to sleep with Shayla. The swearing continues and worsens, as the f-word is said a few times alongside s-words and other profanities.

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Marsella Evans 2022 intern
Marsella Evans

Marsella Evans is the Plugged In intern for Summer 2022.

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