“The Summer I Turned Pretty” presents you with everything you’d want and need to swoon, laugh, and engorge.


Aired (Prime Video) 6/16/2022
Created or Developed By Jenny Han
Director(s) Jesse Peretz
Writer(s) Jenny Han
Genre Comedy, Drama, Romance, Young Adult, Family
Introduced This Episode
Isabel “Belly” Lola Tung
Steven Sean Kaufman
Conrad Christopher Briney
Jeremiah Gavin Casalegno
Laurel Jackie Chung
Susannah Rachel Blanchard
Cam David Iacono
Taylor Rain Spencer

This content contains pertinent spoilers and screenshots are from the platform noted in “Aired ().”

Summary

15-year-old Belly, government name Isabel, wants this summer to be different. Usually, her brother Steven, with his friends Conrad and Jeremiah, hang out all summer while Belly sticks with her mom Laurel, and her mom’s best friend Susannah, who is Conrad and Jeremiah’s mom. However, this year Belly will try to explore her feelings with her long-time crush Conrad. Also, rather than focus solely on him, she is going to socialize, as she does with this boy name Cam, and really make this a summer to remember. Hopefully, with so many good stories to tell her best friend Taylor when she gets home.

Things To Note

  • Unexpected Content Advisory: Cursing (Yes), Violence (Some fighting), Sexual Content (Outside of Steven in the shower, but nothing shown, no), Miscellaneous (Drinking, smoking cigarettes, smoking weed)

Question(s) Left Unanswered

  1. Why did Laurel divorce Belly’s dad?
  2. Did Belly get her nickname from being swung into the pool by her brother and Susannah’s sons?

What Could Happen Next

  1. Belly meets Conrad’s ex and learns why they broke up
  2. We meet Belly’s dad and learn he isn’t a bad person
  3. Belly kisses a whole lot of boys and isn’t sure if she wants to be official with any of them, even if for the summer
  4. Laurel starts to date again
  5. We learn there are a lot of secrets Savannah isn’t letting people know about

Review

Highlights

Relationships So Close, You Can’t Tell If They Are Platonic

Chemistry is not as easy to cast. I would submit that some casting directors focus more on general attractiveness and two people having enough compatibility for a scene to work. “The Summer I Turned Pretty” goes far beyond that. Each actor seems to have an established relationship with their scene partner to the point of you questioning whether their characters are supposed to be queer.

With Jeremiah doing something in the mirror as Steven showers, Steven and Jeremiah have this sort of bond which makes you think of a rare, happy, loving gay couple. Then when it comes to Laurel and Sussanah, with how affectionate Susannah is, you can almost see Laurel be the stern one who is the disciplinarian with the kids and the rock of the relationship. With Susannah being the one who coddles, and is the one the kids go to when they need a cry, and softens Laurel after having to be strong all day.

And the fact such notable relationships exist that don’t include the lead is really saying something.

You Want To Follow Belly’s Journey

Isabel aka Belly (Lola Tung) taking in her room for the summer
Isabel aka Belly (Lola Tung)

Belly is more than just our lead. She has the duality of presenting that vibe that she can be any girl, yet this is also a unique journey just for her. She is someone, as Susannah says, in bloom, and after living her life overlooked by boys and seemingly enacting a self-imposed restriction to Susannah’s house, she is putting herself out there. As you can see, this is a bit rough since she has to deal with the people in her life having to adjust to this change. Yet, it is exciting watching her journey and owning that she is more than meets the eye, and she plans to find out what that means.

Quality Soundtrack

While I’m confused why the show has a censored version of Cardi B’s “Up” considering the characters curse, there is no denying there are a lot of bops here. Thanks to Prime Video’s X-Ray feature, I’d even say you may find yourself taking note of quite a few songs to put on a playlist or download later.

The Boys Seem To Be More Than Love Interests

Do we have your stereotypical dark and broody character in Conrad? Yes. Do we also have the golden retriever type in Jeremiah? Again, yes, we do. Then, of course, there is Cam, who seems capable of being something in between, but the trope they fit into doesn’t seem to be the sum of who they are. Conrad just got out of a relationship that has devastated him and seemingly is breaking away from what he thinks would have brought him and his dad closer, so his moodiness is coming from trying to find purpose in his life.

With Jeremiah, usually, there is a happy kid like that either because they were never left wanting for love or because they need to hide what goes on behind closed doors. So considering how often Susannah might be alone with her boys as her husband travels for work, maybe Jeremiah knows something? Maybe his dad is cheating on his mom, or maybe his mom is deeply unhappy but puts on a brave face, and there is no infidelity?

To me, there is more going on than meets the eye, and when it comes to Cam, with his mom working at the country club, he is likely to show us the other side. Not the life Susannah and her boys live, but those who clean and serve people who live that life. Which could easily show a different side to this world Belly so idolizes.

Laurel’s Issues With Potentially Being Seen As An Asian Writer

There aren’t many shows or movies, especially those with a front and center push, that focus on Asian Americans. So with Laurel presenting the idea she doesn’t want her culture to dictate her writing, that should be interesting to explore. What does her discomfort stem from? Is that she doesn’t want to have that prefix of being an Asian writer, and she just wants to be a writer? Is it that she wasn’t raised by Asian parents and was adopted, so she has a hard time figuring out how to own being Asian when she doesn’t know what that personally means beyond the physical? I didn’t read the book, so I’m guessing here, and all I’d like is to see where this is going.

Initial Impression

Picking a show to essentially dedicate a weekend to is tough. There is so much out there, of varying quality, with new movies and shows weekly, whether at home, in theaters, or at film festivals. But “The Summer I Turned Pretty” rises above a lot of the productions put out more so for the sake of quantity than quality and has no need to demand you to watch, for it just naturally attracts you to do so.

The Summer I Turned Pretty Directory

Network(s) Prime Video
Created or Developed By Jenny Han
First Aired 6/16/2022

Character Guide

Not Created

Season Reviews

Not Created

Check Out Shows Premiering Soon

TitleExcerpt
The Summer I Turned Pretty: Season 1/ Episode 6 “Summer Tides" – Recap/ Review (with Spoilers)Alongside Conrad revealing why he has been moody, Belly’s love triangle becomes public and has consequences.
The Summer I Turned Pretty: Season 1/ Episode 5 "Summer Catch" – Recap/ Review (with Spoilers)As Conrad acts hot and cold with both Belly and Nicole, Jeremiah sees this as his chance to make his feelings known.
The Summer I Turned Pretty: Season 1/ Episode 4 “Summer Heat" – Recap/ Review (with Spoilers)It’s July 4th, meaning the fathers roll into Cousins, and John, Laurel’s ex, decides to bring his new girlfriend.
The Summer I Turned Pretty: Season 1/ Episode 3 “Summer Nights” – Recap/ Review (with Spoilers)Alongside Taylor showing up and causing some drama, Laurel pushes Susannah to reveal something shocking to viewers.
The Summer I Turned Pretty: Season 1/ Episode 2 “Summer Dress” – Recap/ Review (with Spoilers)As Belly joins the debutante organization and goes on her first date -ever- Conrad starts to show his hand.
The Summer I Turned Pretty: Season 1/ Episode 1 "Summer House" [Premiere] – Recap/ Review (with Spoilers)"The Summer I Turned Pretty" presents you with everything you'd want and need to swoon, laugh, and engorge.
Title Card - The Summer I Turned Pretty Season 1 Episode 1 Summer House [Premiere]
The Summer I Turned Pretty: Season 1/ Episode 1 “Summer House” [Premiere] – Recap/ Review (with Spoilers)
Overall
"The Summer I Turned Pretty" presents a beautiful coming-of-age story that seems dedicated to giving each of its characters purpose beyond the love triangle advertised to come. Because of this, no one seems expendable, and nearly all stories bring you in, offer you a seat, and set the table for all they are going to give you.
Highlights
Laurel's Issues With Potentially Being Seen As An Asian Writer
The Boys Seem To Be More Than Love Interests
Quality Soundtrack
You Want To Follow Belly's Journey
Relationships So Close, You Can't Tell If They Are Platonic
Disputable
84


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Avatar of Amari

I started Wherever I Look back in 2011 and have aimed to be that friend who loves watching various forms of media and talking about it. So, from bias, strong opinions, and a perspective you may not have thought about, you'll find that in our reviews.

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