As Belly joins the debutante organization and goes on her first date -ever- Conrad starts to show his hand.


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As Belly joins the debutante organization and goes on her first date -ever- Conrad starts to show his hand.


Aired (Prime Video) 6/17/2022
Director(s) Jesse Peretz
Writer(s) Becca Gleason
Introduced This Episode
Shayla Minnie Mills
Nicole Summer Madison
Cleveland Alfredo Narciso
Gigi Lilah Pate

This content contains pertinent spoilers.

“Summer Dress” Summary

For Conrad and Laurel, it’s a difficult adjustment watching Belly blossom into a young woman. Laurel’s issue is that she can see Susannah’s influence all over Belly’s decisions, and with Steven having a life and being divorced, Belly was all Laurel had. Which isn’t to downplay her relationship with Susannah, but while their differences attract them in friendship, Laurel doesn’t always like being pushed out of her comfort zone.

Though that is what Susannah likes to do for everyone, and because she does that with Laurel, Laurel gets a second chance to talk to Cleveland and hit it off. He has read her book, likes it, and he talks about his next one, which includes sailing. With him mentioning that, Laurel calls in Conrad, who placed 2nd in last year’s regatta, so he seemed like the perfect person to teach Cleveland a thing or two. However, what Laurel doesn’t know is Conrad isn’t looking to do much with his life right now, and her making this move seems like something Susannah put him up to, so he isn’t the most receptive.

But, while Conrad sulks and presents himself as a zombie, Steven, Jeremiah, and Belly are having a wonderful time at the country club. Jeremiah is flirting with a girl named Gigi, who will be next in line amongst all the boys and girls he has yet to make out with. As for Steven? On top of making money, a girl named Shayla has caught his eye, and he seems head over heels when it comes to her.

Which brings us to Belly. Being a debutante is a fun new experience but a bit daunting. Nicole, Conrad’s possible girlfriend, is at the table Belly is assigned to. Alongside that is Shayla, Steven’s girlfriend, Gigi, who has a thing for Jeremiah, and others. As you can imagine, this is a bit awkward, especially as everyone knows who Belly is, but she doesn’t know them, and they all seem to want details about the boys in her life.

However, the only boy on Belly’s mind is Cam. She missed the opportunity to go whale watching with him, so when he invites her to a drive-in movie, she leaps at the chance, and it becomes her first official date. Something Susannah learns about before Laurel, which just turns the knife a bit more. Though refusing to be outdone, the person who really tries to sour the night isn’t Laurel talking about consent, but Conrad showing up to block anything from happening. He doesn’t, as Cam and Belly kiss like there is no tomorrow, but his presence gets noted and called out. To which he makes it seem like he was just playing a game.

Things To Note

Question(s) Left Unanswered

  1. So is Steven so playful with Jeremiah since he knows he is bi, which makes him feel comfortable exploring some homo-eroticism? Like smacking Jeremiah’s behind?
  2. How old is Cam and Conrad?

What Could Happen Next

  1. Learning Jeremiah was Steven’s first kiss, maybe vice versa.
  2. Conrad causing drama between Nicole and Belly, who Nicole thinks isn’t a threat to any of the girls’ crushes.
  3. Laurel and Cleveland getting close, and then her ex-husband showing up
  4. Shayla and Belly becoming like sisters

Review

Highlights

No Girl Drama – Thus Far

There is a lot of room for potential drama right now. Gigi definitely feels a bit threatened by Belly having access to Jeremiah and knowing him intimately (in a non-sexual way). Not knowing about Belly’s crush on Conrad, Nicole doesn’t see her as a threat, but it is clear Belly still has feelings and Conrad might be fighting his emotions. For as much as you could submit that he is acting in a big brother capacity and wants to annoy Belly for fun, that isn’t something that can be said with 100% certainty yet.

But, at least as of episode 2, it doesn’t seem any of the girls will be fighting over these boys.

The Show Being Middle Of The Road Between Sweet Summer Romance And Debauchery

“The Summer I Turned Pretty” feels balanced. It has characters cursing, drinking, partying, and sneaking out, but it doesn’t come off over the top. Sneaking out to make out with your girlfriend on the beach, maybe see her breasts, feels normal. Making out with a guy you don’t know well after a nice date, and it being a bit awkward, again, normal.

Even Conrad and his drinking problem, while it is unfortunate to watch, you can tell he is going through something, and while his broodiness makes him come off generic, he isn’t flipping out every other scene. He is unhappy and drinks to numb himself and seeks ways to avoid whatever is plaguing him, but at the same time, he’ll show up for Laurel’s book event and pose for his mom’s painting. As much as he can be seen as an ass, this leaves you to see that he isn’t a 1-to-1 duplicate of many who are written in a similar vein.

Shayla and Steven

Shayla (Minnie Mills) putting makeup on Belly to hide her bruise
Shayla (Minnie Mills) | The Summer I Turned Pretty, season 1, episode 2, “Summer Dress,” directed by Jesse Peretz, 6/18/2022, Prime Video.”

Is there some level of fear that Shayla’s parents may think Steven isn’t good enough for their daughter? Yes. However, there is no denying how cute these two are, even if they don’t speak much. It could even be submitted that they rival Cam and Belly since Belly’s romance, while adorable, seems fated. That isn’t to say they won’t have complications, but something about it seems too ideal and simplistic compared to Shayla and Steven. It could have outside drama, maybe even from unexpected sources, like Jeremiah.

More To Susannah Than Meets The Eye

Alongside being an artist, one of the things which makes Susannah someone to watch is that she seems to have her way with people. She gets Conrad, of all people, to sit and be painted. Susannah gets Laurel to be social and even accept Belly becoming a debutante. Her influence seems like something which shouldn’t be underestimated, but what we haven’t seen is her interact with members of the country club or her husband. When that happens, we’ll probably see a whole new side of her, but what will she be like in the moment is hard to guess.

Laurel and Cleveland

Cleveland (Alfredo Narciso) complimenting Laurel
Cleveland (Alfredo Narciso) | “The Summer I Turned Pretty, season 1, episode 2, “Summer Dress,” directed by Jesse Peretz, 6/18/2022, Prime Video.”

With Laurel being pensive and pessimistic, Cleveland seems like he’ll be a nice change of pace for her. You can see already she is given a sense of butterflies and enjoys their conversation. After all, he sees something in her writing that she doesn’t, and, as Susannah said, what Laurel needs, more than ever, is inspiration. So between hanging out, collaborating, or dating, maybe the two of them can bond over books but discover something deeper?

On The Fence

A Bi Slut

Is Jeremiah being bi-sexual and promiscuous unquestionably wrong? No. However, there is a need for him to live beyond the overtly sexual bi stereotype. Whether it is the way Steven plays with him or how Jeremiah seems like he’ll kiss people like a checklist, he’s looking shallow. Granted, he is also one of Belly’s biggest champions when it comes to her blossoming, besides his mother. However, that doesn’t mean he can’t be held to a higher standard, and there to be a desire for him to be more than a fun time in more ways than one.

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Belly in a dress that was picked for her
The Summer I Turned Pretty: Season 1/ Episode 2 “Summer Dress” – Recap/ Review (with Spoilers)
Overall
With a consistent balance of real-life drama and a few tantalizing moments, “The Summer I Turned Pretty” seems like it might be the talk of the zeitgeist this summer and a show many will long for when it comes to a second season.
Highlights
Laurel and Cleveland
More To Susannah Than Meets The Eye
Shayla and Steven
The Show Being Middle Of The Road Between Sweet Summer Romance And Debauchery
No Girl Drama – Thus Far
Disputable
A Bi Slut
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