Pretty Smart ends season 1 with an unearned cliffhanger

Pretty Smart. (L to R) Emily Osment as Chelsea, Gregg Sulkin as Grant in episode 105 of Pretty Smart. Cr. Patrick McElhenney/Netflix © 2021
Pretty Smart. (L to R) Emily Osment as Chelsea, Gregg Sulkin as Grant in episode 105 of Pretty Smart. Cr. Patrick McElhenney/Netflix © 2021 /

In plenty of ways, Netflix’s original seriesPretty Smart, is about Chelsea reconnecting with her sister, Claire, and the friendships and bonds that come from the show’s ensemble living together. Although there are romantic subplots, one problem with the season came from trying to build a substantial love triangle in its finale, “I Mean…Just Watch!”

Pretty Smart prepared Chelsea and Grant to be interested in each other romantically early on. Their friendship only grows through each episode, and with Grant and Chelsea bonding at home and work, it is not surprising that their feelings head in a romantic direction.

Yet, the problem with the cliffhanger has less to do with their romance and more to do with Claire’s declaration of still having feelings for Grant.

Pretty Smart’s decision to tease a love triangle for the future is a way to get viewers excited for what may come next and have built-in drama ready to go. However, there is no build-up to this plot twist.

From Grant’s perspective, it could have made sense considering his crush on Claire for plenty of the season. However, somewhere along the way, those feelings shifted onto Chelsea.

When Claire can get back together with Grant, she turns him down and later says she is relieved he is going on a date with someone else. There were no hints that Claire ever had remaining feelings for Grant, and they only appeared when Claire was narratively needed to have them for the sake of “I Mean…Just Watch!”

It never came across that Claire even subconsciously had feelings for Grant that she was in denial about or had not yet noticed. Instead, Claire had treated Grant no differently than any of her platonic friends.

Instead, Claire’s romantic feelings for Grant seem to be based on the nostalgia of an old t-shirt as the duo barely spend any one on one time together throughout the first season.

However, Pretty Smart does remember to include some significant factors about how a relationship with Grant could affect Chelsea’s growing bond with Claire. One of the main reasons is that Chelsea is hesitant to start a relationship with her sister’s ex-boyfriend. This conflict haunts Chelsea the entire finale as she struggles with how to handle her and Grant’s hopeful romance while wishing to keep a good dynamic with her sister.

The final moment of “I Mean…Just Watch!” is the shocking plot twist of Claire kissing Grant just before Chelsea plans to speak to her. While it is surprising, it may not have been for the right reasons. But, overall, while Pretty Smart manages to set up a dramatic conclusion, the events leading up to it do not quite justify the possibility of a love triangle.

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