July 20, 2023

The Summer I Turned Pretty - Season 2 Drops on Amazon Prime (2 minute read)

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By Trish Arab

I've loved teen drama, probably more since my teenage years than during them.  It's been a while, though, since I have been inspired enough to look past some of their more corny and irritating aspects and get hooked.  That was until I finally binged the first season of Amazon Prime's "The Summer I Turned Pretty," based on a series of novels by YA author Jenny Han.

Is it a perfect tv drama?  No, it isn't.  The acting is pretty mediocre, and it gives off a lot of daytime soap opera vibes, but here's the thing, I really used to love daytime soap operas.  The drama is over the top, the circumstances, even stuff like cancer and death, are completely overacted, and the dialogue is like if you took Gilmore Girls and wrote it for HBO (excessive swearing for the sake of it, not because it gives way to anything natural).

All of this to say, though, I absolutely love it.  For starters, the throwback to casting Rachel Blanchard (the original Cher from the TV version of Clueless) from my actual teenage years was perfection.  The location (North Carolina, I believe, but it's meant to be Cape Cod) is absolutely stunning, and the relationships between these kids, simple and complex, are really compelling.  Also, it's refreshing to see the entire The Summer I Turned Pretty cast as relatable and endearing.

Without giving away too much, the second season takes place the summer after season one and shows the characters dealing with the death of a beloved unifying character.  In typical Amazon Prime fashion, only the first three episodes have dropped, with the remaining episodes dropping one at a time every Friday.  As much as I enjoyed watching
season one after the fact, meaning I could binge it properly; something is compelling about returning to the one-episode-per-week format created by network television.

Also, with Hollywood writers and now SAGActra on strike for over two months, the amount of scripted content available to us is soon to be diminished, so I guess we will have to savour whatever it is we get whenever we get it.  

Given the heavy topic of season two, I'm curious to see how this plot gets driven without coming off as too insincere.  So far, the young actors playing our leads have managed to bring depth and maturity to the teenage characters they are playing.  Still, it would be really easy to fall into an over-the-top over-acting, over-dramatic caricature of the person.  I hope it doesn't get to that, and hopefully, I will continue to root for these kids and hope that even though I know teenage years can't be accomplished without heartache, everyone lands on their feet with their happily-ever-afters.

Just as long as Belly ends up with Conrad in the end.