The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
The Summer I Turned Pretty was by far the most “memeable” show of the summer. Did I watch the whole thing? Yes. Did I also roast it the entire time I watched it? Yes. For those of you who didn’t watch this rollercoaster of a show, here is some background. The show is based on the book series written by Jenny Han. She also authored the infamous To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before series. The show centers around a girl named Belly who is stuck in a classic love triangle between two boys (who are brothers) she’s known her entire life. The show is set in Cape Cod and has a very fun summer aesthetic. The books to many were a fond childhood memory. This show, in my opinion, took the books and ruined what little charm they had.
Let me start with the Debutante Ball. For those of you who never read the books, that wasn’t even a part of them. I think the first red flag was the fact that the climatic event of the first season was something made up by the director and not even part of the original series. While this may not bug the people who never read the series, it bugged me. Sure, plenty of shows and movies in the past have changed plots entirely (let’s not even discuss the Percy Jackson movies), it’s just a red flag for me. The dancing physically hurt to watch and the dress Shayla chose to wear was an insult to her character’s supposed fashion sense.
Next, let’s discuss the shameless alteration to Jeremiah’s character. Please don’t get me wrong, I am all for representation in media, but making his character bisexual felt less about representation and more like an utter failed attempt to seem “of the times”. The best kind of representation is the kind where it doesn’t feel forced or like a cash grab. It also bothered me because it felt like yet again the directors were pulling the show further from the original. The alterations to his character did not add to the plot in any significant way and it felt like an obvious marketing tactic. Queerbaiting is lame. This partnered with the fact that Jeremiah’s character was played by Gavin Caselegno. Now, this is just my personal opinion but he is not at all what I had in mind in terms of what Jeremiah would have looked like (or acted like). This threw me even further from liking the show.
Another shameless marketing tactic was the random, unexpected, and rather graphic sex scenes for a show rated TV-14. Yes, it’s a romance series but writing in sex scenes for Belly’s mom was totally unnecessary. All it did was make me lose respect for her mom’s character, not to mention that was not in the book at all. The show also gives no warning of these scenes, creating a truly jarring experience. I don’t know about you, but I would love to be given a heads up before I watch a middle-aged author and a mom hook up in a car outside a hotel on the Fourth of July (oh, and then they go skinny dipping together).
One of the only good parts of this show were the various Taylor Swift songs sprinkled throughout. Unfortunately, I can’t quite make up my mind whether or not the use of the songs disrespects them or not. They don’t just use one song either. They use five. If you’re going to be repping that much Taylor Swift, you should at least be a well-written show to honor one of the masters of lyricism.
Anyways, if you genuinely enjoyed this show, you do you. I thoroughly enjoyed watching it, just for all the wrong reasons. Either way, I was entertained. I’ll end by saying justice for Cam Cameron. The real ones know.