Content platforms, with the exception of Netflix, tend to offer viewing data that is blurry, diluted, always virtuous and, unfortunately, often not very credible. However, Amazon Prime Video has a success on its hands, a phenomenon as feminine as it is silent, and it wanted to communicate it. The Summer I Fell in Love, the adaptation of Jenny Han's novels, is already the second most watched original series in the catalog among young women.
It is hot on the heels of The Rings of Power, the fantasy series whose first season cost approximately ten times as much, and has even surpassed it in one key fact: more women aged 18 to 34 have finished the available episodes of The Summer I Met I fell in love with the universe of J.R.R. Tolkien. This indicates that, while the entertainment world was revolving around Taylor Swift in the summer, attentive to the record-breaking The Eras Tour, this same audience found a refuge for Swifties in this teenage drama.
At the time of its release, we already published it: its relationship with the music of the winner of three Grammy Awards for best album was more than anecdotal. In the first season she had been a constant with the appearance of songs like False God, Cruel summer, Lover or The way I loved you. In the second, the link was strengthened: in the trailer they played August and the re-recording of Back to December that was then pending publication.
“They've been incredibly personable and, believe it or not, they've been very easy to work with,” Vernon Sanders, head of television for Amazon and MGM Studios, explained in an interview. He does not rule out that it is because "they respond very well to the series" with a clear link to understanding Jenny Han's creation process: Swift's music was what she listened to while she wrote the novels. After all, Belly, the protagonist, could sing any of her songs and make them her own.
The first season served to present the metamorphosis of Belly (Lola Tung). For as long as she could remember, she had spent her summers with her family in the idyllic home of the Fishers, the family of her mother's best friend. This had led her to feel Jeremiah (Gavin Casalegno) and Conrad (Christopher Briney) as part of her family but with a drawback: she had always been in love with Conrad who, after seeing her physical change, began to see her as something more than just a little girl. He wasn't the only one. Belly in turn was Jeremiah's platonic love.
After a summer with a sexual awakening and two suitor brothers, which allowed him to move through the field of romantic drama, this aspect has now increased with the episodes broadcast this summer. Susannah (Rachel Blanchard), Jeremiah and Conrad's mother, has died of cancer, the relationship between them all worsened by her inability to channel grief and love. Now they must work together to prevent their aunt (Kyra Sedgwick), with whom they barely had contact and who did not even attend the funeral, from selling the dream house that they feel is part of their existence and Susannah's memories.
The most interesting aspect of the work is that, like Swift's romantic chronicles, it gives importance and space to feelings. There is no need to indulge in drama for drama's sake, that common resource in teens, where love happens between murders, stalkers, addictions, tyrannical parents and any resource that raises the bar at the plot level. Here, Belly, Conrad and Jeremiah must face the circumstances of life, feelings that do not always find the correct way to express themselves or be received, the grudges that take their toll on the inside.
This approach to the story by Han is refreshing: letting the emotions amplify without the need for artifice, apart from musical needle drops. Let the encounters between characters gain strength, the looks of understanding, the incomprehension due to the past duel. In this sense, it can be understood that Amazon has such a success on its hands: like Swift, once the series gets the connection, it has the battle won, even with a cast taken from an Abercrombie catalog or a Tommy Hilfiger advertisement that does not necessarily have the ability to manifest the obvious nuances that the characters must manifest.
But, if someone is looking for a teen product less interested in extreme plots than in intimate feelings, in The Summer I Fallen in Love you have a series made to watch lying down with your head on the pillow, in that vulnerable state so recurrent in the adolescence. She is not extraordinary (and the theme of the first season was male validation) but she knows very well how to occupy a space that is ignored on television, which is possibly why she has become this silent phenomenon for the most adult audience.
After the promotion of The Rings of Power and the popularity of The Lord of the Rings, it is a remarkable feat that young women preferred to end Belly's summer rather than the adventures of the elf Galadriel.