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Why Are the Adults in the I Know What You Did Last Summer Amazon Series So Terrible?

I know horror genre parents aren't always on the up and up but DAMN!

I Know What You Did Last Summer

Major spoilers for Amazon’s I Know What You Did Last Summer TV series (episodes 1 and 2)

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CW: mentions of self-harm

I know that with the horror genre comes the suspension of disbelief where parents just aren’t around while a killer is wandering the streets, stalking their children until the end credits. That being said, Amazon’s I Know What You Did Last Summer did the opposite and had its parents stick around during the party scene that inevitably leads to someone knowing what the protagonists did last summer.

It also has one of the parents in on the secret, but more on that later.

Since this is a remake of a 90s slasher that’s loosely based on a book from the 70s (the similarly titled I Know What You Did Last Summer by Lois Duncan), you expect the 2021 TV series to have some updates to fit with the times. Apparently, in the case of I Know What You Did Last Summer, this translates to the parents being in the kitchen as their kids, checks notes, pee in their pool, get blackout drunk, do lines of coke, and have ridiculous amounts of sex.

Oh, and the parents invite over the local police chief, who just waltzes in without a care in the world, as cops are prone to do whenever children are getting wasted/high/reenacting that dance club scene from the second Matrix movie, I guess?!

Like I know Dewey did it in the original Scream where everyone was drinking and watching horror movies, but I dunno, wouldn’t cops draw the line at potential teenage orgies and hard narcotics?

Or am I just an old, boring adult person now?

I’m not gonna pretend like I know what teenagers today do, but I dunno, the “extremely explicit party scene” seems very over the top, in this case, made even more mindboggling because all of their parents are there! It’s puzzling that the kids go on to panic about being caught with drugs by the police when the police officer was invited in, BY THE PARENTS, and walked past all the debauchery without batting an eye. What are you worried about, children? Every adult in your town doesn’t care that you’re (censored) and (censored) followed by (CENSORED).

This begs the question: even if your parents claim to be cool with whatever you do, would any teenager be ballsy enough to do hard narcotics while their parents are laughing it up in the next room? What teenage girl would openly grind all over another girl when she knows her parents could wander in at any moment? What teenage girl then proceeds to go and give a boy a blowjob when her dad is still in the vicinity?!

Not that it matters, I guess, because when one of the parents does walk in it’s to grab a kid and take photos to share on Instagram. Guess we got one of those “cool moms” on her hands.

Does the neon-filtered party scene always have to be the default teenager setting after graduation? And if it does (it doesn’t) since when did it reach a level where their parents are at the house the whole time?!

I get the logic of knowing your kid is gonna try some shit so you want them to be safe about it. I grew up with a mom who talked honestly with me about sex instead of trying to deny its existence, so we talked about birth control, condoms, and everything else to normalize what I was feeling.

But this party scene that involves hard narcotics and openly making out in spaces your parents can enter is a bit much, not to mention that the entire point of “it’s safer if they do it with me” is to actually MONITOR WHAT THE KIDS ARE DOING to make sure they don’t go too far and hurt themselves. Not a single parent does this. None of them are watching what these kids are doing, so much so that the protagonists are able to leave the party with no one checking if they’re, at least, sober.

I thought this party scene would be the end of me being bewildered at how the adults were acting in this series, but then we get to know Bruce, the father of the twin leads Allison and Lennon. See, everyone thinks Allison ran away from home because she couldn’t stand the fact that everyone cared about Lennon more than they cared about her (spoiler: this is true, everyone does love Lennon more and I can’t figure out why Allison is treated as some sort of pariah when she’s just a quiet girl).

The truth is, Lennon and her “really shouldn’t be driving right now” friends hit Allison then dumped the body—at least, that’s what the friend group thinks because SURPRISE TWIST it was Lennon who died, Allison hitting her twin sister because she didn’t know how to drive.

The friend group doesn’t realize this, though, having mistaken Allison for Lennon. Unbeknownst to her friends, Allison actually went home and told her father the truth. She was even going to turn herself in. Bruce, instead, decided to keep Allison’s secret because he didn’t want to lose another daughter. All right, sure, I can believe that a grieving dad would wanna hold on to the only child he has left.

But then.

Bruce tells Allison to continue to pretend to be Lennon, as everyone thinks it’s Allison who died. Which, sure? I guess…? But why does Allison need to pretend with YOU? I thought the point of not telling the truth was so you didn’t lose your other daughter, Allison, so why have you gone about completely erasing her to recreate Lennon?

And, um, why are you standing there as she takes a razor blade and cuts into her leg???

It’s here that we learn that Lennon used to cut herself, so Allison is doing it so she can completely emulate her sister’s look. But how is Bruce 1) okay with watching his daughter do this, and 2) not reacting to the news that one of his kids used to do this to themselves? He doesn’t look away, doesn’t protest, doesn’t tell her that this is going too far, he’s just … okay with it.

If the series wants to have a passive, problematic dad due to his grief, fine, but at least have the man REACT to his child’s self-harming because his other child (who he thought was perfect) used to do it.

Oh, and to round out the adult characters, one of the kids is engaged to his old high school football coach.

Why are the adults in this series so terrible?!

I know the focus of the story is on this awful thing this friend group did, but I can’t get over how passive the adults are about, well, EVERYTHING. I made it through two episodes of the series before I called it quits, so I have no idea if it gets any better (reviews say it doesn’t).

I wasn’t expecting much from the series, but I certainly wasn’t expecting to loathe its adults as much as I did. Maybe I really am just an old-school adult whose immediate response to these characters is, “My mama would NEVER!”

I’m just gonna be over here, clinging to the memories of my high school graduation party where we played video games in my dad’s basement all day. No one was killed that summer. Unless you count intense matches of Marvel vs Capcom 2.

(image: Amazon)

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Briana Lawrence
Briana (she/her - bisexual) is trying her best to cosplay as a responsible adult. Her writing tends to focus on the importance of representation, whether it’s through her multiple book series or the pieces she writes. After de-transforming from her magical girl state, she indulges in an ever-growing pile of manga, marathons too much anime, and dedicates an embarrassing amount of time to her Animal Crossing pumpkin patch (it's Halloween forever, deal with it Nook)

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