Deb Ball Symbolism
Another Jenny Han adaptation has officially graced the small screen. “The Summer I Turned Pretty” began streaming Friday on Amazon Prime Video. It tells the story of a love triangle between three teenagers who have known each other practically all their lives.
Belly (Lola Tung) has been in love with Conrad (Christopher Briney) for as long as she can remember. But this year, returning to Cousins Beach feels different, especially when she begins to realize she might have feelings for her brother Jeremiah (Gavin Casalegno). While the summer love that radiates from the series is true to the first book, there are several additions to the series to shake things up – especially the Debutante Ball.
“The Deb Ball was a chance to really bring a rite of passage like a ceremonial rite of passage from growing up to life – to really see that visualized, because I think different cultures have a lot of different ways of marking that moment between , like, childhood and adulthood,” Han told TheWrap. “And that’s what Deb Ball is, you come out and you’re considered an adult.”
Asked which change he liked the most in the book series, Briney admits that the Deb Ball might be the “obvious” answer, but it has a bigger meaning for the characters.
“The way it’s talked about on the show is like a teenager,” he said. “When Conrad says how silly it is, then at the end how important it is and how important it seems – and then it’s just over.”
Casalegno agreed, “I think there’s a lot of symbolism there.”
But selfishly, Briney should say that the Cousins Beach Volleyball Tournament the group participates in near the end of the series might have been the most fun to film. Casalegno’s “competitive spirit” led him to accept.
According to Han, that was exactly the point, and she hopes audiences will feel the same way watching him perform on screen.
“For the volleyball tournament, it was fun to watch — I always think watching a character do something physical and be good at it just makes me excited and rooted for them,” Han said. “Almost like a sports movie where you can, you know, see them excel at something and I think I was thrilled to see Belly take the lead and show a bit of who she is at home, versus who she is in summer at Les cousins.”
“The Summer I Got Pretty” is streaming on Prime Video. Han is co-hosting the series with Gabrielle Stanton, as well as executive producers. Han also wrote the pilot.
In addition to Tung, Brinley and Casalegno, the series also stars Jackie Chung, Rachel Blanchard, Sean Kaufman, Alfredo Narciso and Minnie Mills, along with Colin Ferguson and Tom Everett Scott.