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Netflix’s Pretty Smart is Pretty Bad

Netflix’s new sitcom Pretty Smart released October 8 2021, and it sure made an impression from the get-go. I was first introduced to the sitcom through a TikTok and was intrigued by Chelsea (Emily Osment) and Grant (Gregg Sulkin) embracing in a shirtless hug. Needless to say, Mason from Wizards of Waverly Place grew up, as did Lily from Hannah Montana.

The show begins when Chelsea—a book-smart researcher who went to Harvard —travels to Los Angeles to stay with her sister, Claire (Olivia Macklin) for three days while waiting for her boyfriend to join her. It’s evident from the start that Chelsea isn’t a fan of Claire, while Claire is longing to rekindle her relationship with her sister. 

Within the first few hours Chelsea is in L.A., her boyfriend breaks up with her, leaving Chelsea alone with a sister she can’t stand. 

If you haven’t figured out the basic plot line of the show by now, here’s the quick and dirty: broken sister bond + hot male + a few side characters (that surprisingly earn a decent amount of solo plot) = stereotypical sitcom. 

The side characters are surprisingly interesting. Jayden (Michael Hsu Rosen) is an influencer, Solana (Cinthya Carmona) is an ex-lawyer turned crystal energy guru, and Grant works at a gym but fits the show’s title by providing insightful life advice every once in a while.  

While there are a few aspects about the show that were entertaining, the show doesn’t have much depth. While at first the show seems to satirize the stereotypical sitcom, it quickly becomes one itself. I would’ve been interested to see a satirical sitcom, but that didn’t end up being the outcome. 

If you don’t want spoilers, stop reading here and just know that if you’re looking for a mildly entertaining show that helps you turn your brain off, you’ve come to the right place. If you’re looking for a Gen Z version of FRIENDS, turn around. 

*slight spoilers ahead*

The ending of the show has a major cliffhanger, that it’s almost unworthy of. It doesn’t seem like a show that deserves such a cliffhanger that is crucial to the plot line, especially since it isn’t likely that the show will run for another season. 

Overall, the show is cringe-worthy. It has an average plot line, decent writing (brownie points for the LGBTQ+ humor) and poor execution. It looks like something slopped together for a final project that would be just enough work to keep an A in the class. But once again, if you’re looking for something to help turn your brain off that is mildly entertaining, give it a watch; the 10 quick episodes go by before you know it. 

I'm a senior at the University of Kansas studying English. Outside of school you can find me curled up on the couch with my cat.
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