Netflix romances the idea of originals directed at teens


Creative Commons

“To all the Boys I’ved Loved Before,” released Aug. 17, and “Sierra Burgess is a Loser,” released Aug, 20, are both romantic comedy originals that take place in a high school setting.

By Jenna Greenzaid, Editor-in-Chief

Netflix has recently become known for its original movies and television shows, with over 700 programs in existence currently and more than 60 new originals coming during Oct. Throughout the month of Aug., Netflix released multiple romantic comedy movies that have stirred both enthusiasm for more romance movies to come and a disdain for certain films that have already been released.

Two Netflix originals that have been discussed and debated across social media platforms are “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before” and “Sierra Burgess is a Loser,” the first of which is an adaptation of the first novel in a trilogy by Jenny Han.

“Both were interesting takes on high school life and romance,” senior Zoe Joy said. “It was cool to see romance from a new perspective and with a new main character.”

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before chronicles the junior year of Lara Jean Covey (Lara Condor) as she forms a fake relationship with her childhood crush Peter Kavinsky (Noah Centineo) as a way of pretending that she’s not in love with her sister’s ex-boyfriend.

The movie takes the concept of first love and explores it in a comical, endearing way. Instead of shying away from talking about sex and dating, the film is directed toward young adults and teenagers and aimed at creating an open dialogue about these topics.

The movie had minimal cliches and instead forged its own precedents in regards to Rom-Com characteristics. With quirky references to popular fads like the drink kombucha, along with “couple goals” moments exhibited by Lara Jean and Peter, the movie is a must-see for students.

“Sierra Burgess is a Loser” centers around an unpopular high school girl Sierra (Shannon Purser) whose number was given to a popular boy Jamey (Noah Centineo) as a joke, though the two evolve to have a text-relationship.

“I know it’s an unpopular opinion but I like Sierra Burgess [is a Loser] better [than ‘To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before’],” Joy said. “It seemed more realistic and I liked the character development.”

However, there are many issues with the plot of the movie, the first being the fact that Sierra is catfishing Jamey by pretending to be someone completely different than who she really is. The second is the fact that when Sierra does meet Jamey for the first time, she claims that she is deaf, which is unnecessary and seemingly utilized as a joke. Finally, Sierra kisses Jamey without his consent, which should not be portrayed as socially acceptable in a film geared toward teenagers.

“Usually Netflix original movies are good but [Sierra Burgess is a Loser] wasn’t very good,” senior Sydney Wittenberg said. “Also the acting and overall message wasn’t very good because Sierra was a rude person who exposed her friend for her benefit.”

While Sierra Burgess is a Loser tries to stray from the norm and be its own creative movie, the extended character tropes in the movie of the popular cheerleader and football player, along with certain other stereotypes in romantic comedies, are overplayed and forced.

“I didn’t like the ‘leading each other on’ aspects of either movie,” Joy said.

Still, there are likeable qualities to the movie that draw viewers in.

According to Joy, having someone who isn’t conventionally attractive as the main character was really exciting.

Even though Netflix has been coming out with more and more original shows and movies, not all are worth the watch. In the end, it’s up to you and what you decide to try out, but either way, Netflix is on a streak of creating popular original content that does not seem to be coming to an end in the near future.