DISCLAIMER: This post is to introduce readers to the show Cruel Summer only. No other post with the possibility of the final episode, about the show will be made.
Freeform’s new series Cruel Summer (Purple, Willis, Winkler, 2021) tells the story of two high school girls, Jeanette Turner (Chiara Aurelia) and Kate Willis (Olivia Holt). Jeanette is the nerd or the non-popular girl and Kate is the popular girl.
THREE YEARS IN ONE EPISODE
Spanning over three years, starting in 1993 the series follows both girls over the course of those three years in each episode. The opening introduces us to Jeanette who is always waken up by her father on her birthday. In 1993 she’s turning 15. She has two good friends, one female and one male (the male has a secret crush on her) who she gets into mischief with, but nothing serious.
Jeanette admires the popularity of Kate Willis and wants and tries to be her friend. Kate seems like a good person but she has to keep up appearances when around her friend which includes keeping her distance from Jeanette.
In 1994 Kate Willis goes missing. Approximately eight months later she’s rescued and her kidnapper is caught. The identity of the kidnapper shocks everyone in town. But what the town learns next will rip everyone’s lives apart. And what they learn is that Jeannette knew where Kate was and didn’t tell anyone. Instead, she turned herself into the popular girl. In so much as to now be friends with Kate’s friends and dating Kate’s boyfriend.
BRIGHT, TINTED, AND DARK
The one thing that make a movie or TV show exceptional is the final product. What the audience is shown. What makes Cruel Summer great is THAT final product. Not the final episode, for that has to air, but in which the story is told. As mentioned 1993, 1994, and 1995 is told in one episode focusing on each girl with E1 focusing on Jeanette and E2 focusing on Kate.
1993 for both girls is shown in a bright, vibrant color, showing how bright each girl’s future is or can be. 1994 the color is tinted, yet still bright. Although Kate is missing and yet to be found, things are looking up for Jeanette who is now popular and has a new lease on the high school life. She’s not concerned about Kate’s whereabouts or her safety. She has also ditched her old friends for new ones. In 1995 when everything has come to light, episodes focusing on Jeanette is dark, while, Kate, who is now safe and home, is still shown in semi bright colors. Jeannette doesn’t seem to have much of a future whereas Kate does, or it seems that way.
Since E1 focused on Jeanette and E2 focused on Kate it is presumed that each episode will focus on all associated with the two girls and possibly the trail.
The entire cast is producing great acting. The ‘teenagers’ (though some may be older than their characters) are believable as high students. Although set in the mid 90s it will definitely take all those watching back to their high school years. But like all memories, some may be good and some may be bad. For the kids, and adults, in this series it will be all bad.