Paul Asay

TV Series Review

On the surface, it doesn’t look like Elodie, Moe and Tabitha would have a lot in common. But they do share one thing: a compulsion to steal.

These Portland high schoolers don’t steal big things, of course. Well, not too often, anyway. But sometimes, when they’re waiting at a checkout counter or walking down a grocery aisle, something strikes their fancy, and they just have to take it. It doesn’t matter if they’ve got the money to, y’know, legitimately pay for it. (Rich girl Tabitha is rarely low on cash.) It’s the “principle” of the thing.

Still, their light fingers might still one day bring down the heavy hand of the law.

Two’s Company, Thieves’ a Cloud

These three high schoolers aren’t just defined by their shared kleptomania. All of them deal with the typical, and not-so-typical, trials of high schoolers everywhere. At times, it would seem their penchant for breaking the eighth commandment is the least of their worries.

Tabitha comes from a well-to-do but dysfunctional family. Her dad’s having an affair. Her mom’s obsessed with social media. And her boyfriend—correction, ex-boyfriend—is a big ol’ abusive jerk who’ll still likely find his way into Stanford University. While Tabitha can’t do anything about her dad and mom, she and her pals did steal her beau’s car and push it into a lake. So clearly, crime does pay … in revenge.

Moe’s a great student who, like Tabitha, has issues at home. She’s got a great relationship with her mom, but Dad is in prison, and has been for some time. And given Moe’s habits, his daughter could be joining him any day now.

And then there’s Elodie, a newcomer to Portland’s shoplifting scene. She used to live in Albuquerque with her mother. But when Mom died, she was forced to live with her pops in Portland. And wouldn’t you know it? He wants her to attend Shoplifters Anonymous meetings. What a drag, right? No wonder she ran off with, as Moe says, a “pansexual narcissistic rock goddess” named Sabine.

In Need of Some Klepto-Bismol

Trinkets is Netflix’s latest effort to showcase teens as glamorously tortured and wildly irresponsible miscreants with a yen for booze, misdemeanors and, apparently, venereal disease. Oh, I’m sure there are teens that drink, steal ukuleles and have more sex than the average rabbit. But are they as common as Netflix would have you believe? I’d like to think not.

But until someone writes about high schoolers who obey their curfews, love their parents and still struggle with history class and boyfriends now and then, we’re stuck with this tripe.

This is not to say that Trinkets is completely absent of positives. The show still tells us that stealing is bad, technically speaking—even as it sometimes suggests that those who are robbed somehow deserved it. And in what sometimes feels like a rarity for teens’ shows, we see these girls’ parents as both involved and, sometimes, even caring. Most love their kids. Some want to do what’s best for them, even if their daughters, in the moment, don’t agree.

But that’s about as far as any parental care goes. Teens want to keep their moms and dads as far removed from the decision-making process as possible, as well as keeping their real lives largely secret.

Secret from their parents, that is. In front of us, the strangers voyeuristically watching these teens’ lives on Netflix, there are no secrets.

These underage teens are all sexually active, with folks of both the same and opposite sex. They drink alcohol, and at least one seems to have a pretty serious fledgling dependence issue kicking in, too. They swear frequently, fight occasionally and, of course, steal. In short, Trinkets is nothing remarkable—not in this age of bad-behaving, telegenic teens. Which might explain why its second season (released in the summer of 2020) is reportedly its last. Make your own decision, of course. But if we could offer our own advice, we’d suggest that this trinket isn’t worth stealing.

Episode Reviews

Aug. 25, 2020: “Supernova”

As the Season 2 opener begins, Elodie has run away with Sabine, an up-and-coming female rocker. But it’s not long before the youngster realizes that life on the road isn’t quite as wonderful—or as romantic—as she hoped it would be. Meanwhile, Moe and Tabitha spend some time in bed with their respective boyfriends and worry about someone’s car they pushed into a lake.

Sabine is described as “pansexual,” but in this episode the singer only has eyes for folks of the same gender. She and Elodie kiss and cuddle, much to Elodie’s initial excitement. But Sabine gets pretty flirty with female fans, too (which is how Elodie and Sabine met in the first place). And when an old flame stops by, Sabine plants a long, erotic kiss on the woman’s mouth.

As mentioned, both Tabitha and Moe spend time with their beaus. Tabitha cuddles in bed with her paramour—a jobless ex-con who can’t pay for the dinner the two eventually enjoy. (Tabitha pays the bill, a bit grudgingly.) Meanwhile, Moe and her boyfriend, Noah, make out in a little girl’s room, complete with a narwhale stuffed animal and a Goodnight Moon book. (Noah strips down to his underwear, but Moe actually leaves the room and doesn’t come back—distracted by an alarming text.)

Moe totes around a travel mug of tequila, though she lies and says its coffee. She pours herself a massive vodka drink that even alarms her boyfriend. (At a party, when someone asks if she’s going to beat up a guy named Brandon again, she says, “Well, I came here to get drunk, but I wouldn’t rule anything out.”) Elodie drinks a glass of wine and is encouraged by Sabine to go to a 21-and-over bar. (“They probably won’t even check IDs,” Sabine reassures.) Moe jokes to Elodie’s dad that, while Elodie ran away, “It’s not like she can get pregnant,” a reference to Elodie’s same-sex leanings. Guys go shirtless. A woman wears a cleavage-and-stomach-baring top, covered with a bit of fishnet.

Elodie steals a ukulele from one of Sabine’s band members and swipes a magnet from a convenience store. She eventually promises her father that she’ll return home if he promises not to send her back to shoplifting rehab. (He agrees.) Tabitha’s boyfriend tries to convince Tabitha to “dine and dash.” People reference the need to urinate. Characters say the f-word once, the s-word about eight times and also say “a–,” “b–ch,” “d–k” and “h—.” God’s name is misused five times.

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Paul Asay

Paul Asay has been part of the Plugged In staff since 2007, watching and reviewing roughly 15 quintillion movies and television shows. He’s written for a number of other publications, too, including Time, The Washington Post and Christianity Today. The author of several books, Paul loves to find spirituality in unexpected places, including popular entertainment, and he loves all things superhero. His vices include James Bond films, Mountain Dew and terrible B-grade movies. He’s married, has two children and a neurotic dog, runs marathons on occasion and hopes to someday own his own tuxedo. Feel free to follow him on Twitter @AsayPaul.

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