Title Card - Dare Me

While Dare Me may have all the usual drama you expect from young adults, with the working-class town vibe, it seems less monotonous than its peers.


Created By Megan Abbot, Gina Fattore
Directed By Steph Green
Written By Megan Abbot, Gina Fattore
Aired (On-Demand – USA Network) 12/19/2019
Genre(s) Young Adult, Drama
Introduced This Episode
Addy Herizen F. Guardiola
Michael Antonio J Bell
Beth Marlo Kelly
Bert Rob Heaps
Coach Colette French Willa Fitzgerald
Tacy Alison Thornton
Lana Tammy Blanchard
J.J. Curtis Tamberla Perry
Faith Amanda Brugel
Matt Paul Fitzgerald

This content contains pertinent spoilers.

Plot Overview | Recap

In the town of Sutton Grove, after a tire factory moved or went out of business, the town went to hell. Not to the point it is impoverished with addicts riddled about, but upward mobility has become nill and the kids are all aware of it. Hence why many seek out scholarships or the military to get the hell out of there.

That’s Addy’s plan, one of the top cheerleaders at the high school. She wants to get a scholarship to some university as her ticket out. So does her friend Michael. Between football or the military, that is his way out. For unlike those like Beth, who have parents like Bert, their parents can’t necessarily buy their ticket out.

But, of course, it is never easy. For often, it isn’t the outsiders, be it recruiters, those who control acceptance letters, or those people you have to worry about. Often it is people in your inner circle. This is what Beth learns as Coach Colette French comes to town and disrupts the dynamics of what formerly was Beth’s squad. Leaving her without her crutch Addy, and forced to deal with her father’s affair baby, Tacy, finding a way to rise in the ranks of the cheer squad and her powerless to that.

Other Noteworthy Facts & Moments

  • Warning: If you haven’t watched yet, around 17 minutes in, there is a vomit scene.

Collected Quote(s) or .Gifs

It’s important to have an exit plan that’s more than just an exit.
— Coach French

Someday you’re going to really want something, [and] that’s when you’ll find out who you are. But there’s a price for everything. You have to give up the old things, the things that feel easy, the things that feel safe. This is how you become strong. This is how you become a woman.
— Addy (Quoting Coach French)

Comment Below

  1. Was Addy’s hand where it seemed to be when she and Beth had a sleepover?

Review

Highlights

Addy Is No Sidekick

Addy (Herizen F. Guardiola) and Beth (Marlo Kelly) after school, with Beth flipping off her dad.
Addy (Herizen F. Guardiola) and Beth (Marlo Kelly)

“Dare Me” comes off as one of those shows which knows it couldn’t let the Black chick be the lead, so it put a white girl front and center with a familiar storyline. Because, as much as you get Beth doesn’t have the best life since her mom, Lana, drinks, her dad had an affair with a woman across the street, and now lives there with the child they produced, she has to make you roll your eyes. Just because she seems like so many girls in shows like this – all the way down to her being the one who seems to have the most money. Hence it being compensated with a crappy home life.

But with Addy, things are different. She has the storyline that usually the best friend has whose life is consumed. If not the storyline that Black girls may get in books, or the rare indie movie, but otherwise is rarely explored when they are the minority. And I think the driving force is going to be watching Addy trying to play the game.

That is, watching Addy manage Beth, who may have some feelings for Addy, while trying to impress and forge a relationship with Coach French, so she can have a future. Thus creating this odd dynamic of maintaining her present life with Beth, who holds so much sway on how comfortable Addy’s life in Sutton Grove can be vs. making sure Beth doesn’t screw over Coach French, who could be the key to her future.

The Small Town Vibe

The issue with a lot of young adult productions is they either are in the city or suburbs, and with that comes the vibe you are seeing something you already did, but now focused on a different group. In “Dare Me,” that is the cheerleaders instead of the outcasts or the people who don’t fit into any other group.

But with Addy as co-lead, and then Bert being a developer of sorts, you get to see what it is like to live in a small town that some feel was forgotten. What it is like to be a kid who doesn’t have access to some nearby city to let off some steam and escape. Instead, they go to someplace in the woods to party and let loose.

Yet, despite all the parties and boys, it isn’t enough – all of that is a distraction. And while I hope we get someone who also appreciates what it is like to live in a small town, having these girls and boys who mostly hate it, or have settled for it, isn’t so bad right now.

On The Fence

A Lot Of People To Know & Not Being Sure Who Truly Matters

Faith (Amanda Brugel) watching coach drive away without introducing herself.
Faith (Amanda Brugel)

From a woman named J.J., who thinks Colette is going to be her new buddy, to Colette’s husband Matt, and so many others, it isn’t clear who is going to play a role worth noting. This isn’t to say this show seems bloated, since it is a small town and that means there will be quite a lot of interaction. It’s just, how many will just exist for numbers and who will exist as a catalyst or people who keep things going?

Like Addy’s mom Faith. She is a cop, perhaps one for the town, but will she just exist as Addy’s mom who will, occasionally, talk crap about her dad, or will we see her in action? Perhaps get hurt or put into a situation where she is forced to use her privilege to protect her daughter? It’s hard to tell and for many, they are in that situation where a lot could be done with them, but you know many will just exist.

First Impression: Optimistic

As long as “Dare Me” stays rooted and doesn’t venture to crazy “Pretty Little Liars” level, it should be good. That and it doesn’t drag out these girls being in high school and knows how to handle the possibility of college, among other things. For while I wouldn’t say this is a show that can go 4+ seasons, it seems like it could give two good ones, a very meh third season, and a final one that isn’t as good as the first two but a hell of a lot better than the 3rd.

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Addy Is No Sidekick - 89%
The Small Town Vibe - 85%
A Lot Of People To Know & Not Being Sure Who Truly Matters - 75%
First Impression: Optimistic - 88%

84%


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