The show continues to drive home poor messages about body image, with Belly receiving compliments on her looks nonstop. This teen romance has some seriously skewed morals.
This recap of Amazon’s The Summer I Turned Pretty season 1, episode 2, “Summer Dress,” contains spoilers.
In episode two, “Summer Dress”, Belly goes shopping, meets the other debutantes and has her first date with Cam. It’s a sharp downgrade from the premiere, with Belly’s looks taking center stage once again. This unhealthy obsession with appearances seems to be a strong theme of the show, which I’m hoping the show-runners will address later down the line.
The Summer I Turned Pretty season 1, episode 2 recap
After missing the boat and a date with Cam, Belly heads back to the summer house. It is breakfast time and the gang are all in wildly different moods after last night’s shenanigans. Conrad is nursing a killer hangover, Jeremiah and Steven are excited for their first day of work, Susannah is ecstatic that Belly has accepted her invitation for the debutante ball and Laurel is confused by her ever-changing daughter. The adults have quickly forgotten the dramatics from last night and Susannah wants to take Belly shopping.
A shopping montage follows with Belly trying on an array of cute outfits, ending in an elegant white dress, picked especially for the debutante ball. Susannah is paying and she splashes the cash enthusiastically on all these items. Laurel goes along with the shopping spree, but the whole setup just doesn’t sit right with her, nor me. The debutante angle seems a little archaic, but fits in with the show’s overall themes. Belly gets kitted up for her first debutante meeting at the country club, where she meets a few familiar faces.
Nicole (Conrad’s partner) and Shayla (Steven’s partner) sit either side of Belly in this awkward encounter. The topic quickly turns to that of boys, then Shayla whips out a hip flask and starts passing the alcohol around the table. It’s an odd sequence, with these teen brats dressed up in elaborate dresses, eating French fancies and teasing one another with vulgar comments. Belly spies Cam walking by and capitalizes on the moment. Cam does likewise, asking Belly on a date.
Meanwhile, the boys adjust to their new employment and plans are underway for Laurel’s party. Jeremiah flirts with girls whilst performing his lifeguarding duties and Steven brings in the tips at the snack shack. On their break, the two joke around, discussing who they’ve kissed and Steven’s obsession with Shayla. Conrad sulks back at home, where Susannah paints his portrait.
Belly prepares for her date, with help from Susannah. Again, the women compliment Belly on how she looks. The teen goes downstairs to show off her new outfit in front of the boys and again, Jeremiah compliments Belly on how she looks, even Steven (her brother) has to admit she looks lovely. Belly’s date goes swimmingly until the trio of frat clichés (Jeremiah, Conrad and Steven) turn up to embarrass her, spoiling her first sober kiss with Cam. Belly threatens them and they quickly leave. Cam and Belly finally kiss with Teenage Dirtbag playing in the background. It’s a perfect moment for Belly, although back at the house she berates Conrad, saying he ruined her date.
There’s a hint that the writing staff are working on flipping this warped message on looks, when Conrad tells Belly to ‘go and look in the mirror some more’. Hopefully the show is building up these toxic notions to then trounce them later, but with two episodes already over, it seems like they’re treading a fine line here. It’s a very bold statement from Amazon, in a time where controversial opinions and poorly executed topical issues can destroy those in the entertainment industry.
What did you think of the Amazon original series The Summer I Turned Pretty season 1, episode 2? Comment below.