TSITP’s Best Love Story Is Belly & Taylor’s Friendship
Forget Team Conrad and Jeremiah.
Spoiler alert: This post contains spoilers from The Summer I Turned Pretty Season 2. From the love triangles to the messy breakups, The Summer I Turned Pretty might seem like a standard teen romance. But it’s a lot more complex than you might expect, especially in Season 2. In the wake of Susannah’s death, as the characters work to hold onto their relationships and home in Cousins Beach, the audience watches nuanced portrayals of grief, family, and belonging — and yes, some not-so-subtle jealousy between brothers. The one thing that holds the entire series together? Female friendship. In the show’s second season, Taylor and Belly’s relationship is the easiest to root for, proving that sometimes the best love stories are completely platonic.
Like Laurel and Susannah’s friendship, which set the framework for the entire series, Belly and Taylor’s is steadfast and loving. While their romantic relationships waver and change, their friendship remains constant — even if Season 2 is full of mini-evolutions for both of them. “[Their relationship is] stronger than it’s ever been. They’re just so there for each other,” Lola Tung, who plays Belly on the show, tells Elite Daily. “It’s great.”
Unlike Belly’s other relationships with both Conrad and Jeremiah, her connection to Taylor is simple. On Twitter, fans have been calling out Jeremiah for being “manipulative” to Belly; others on TikTok have pointed out that Belly and Conrad’s relationship was “so rancid” in the beginning because he “flung Belly around emotionally.” Whether it’s Jeremiah pointing a firework at Belly and Conrad to interrupt their first kiss or Conrad ditching Belly at her prom, these critics have got a point.
Between Taylor and Belly, however, there’s no second-guessing, no miscommunications, and no angst. They’re just consistent sources of support in each other’s lives, whether that involves crying over heartbreak or picking out the perfect party outfit.
Throughout Season 2, Belly and Taylor’s friendship stands out again and again. In Episode 1, Taylor defends Belly when her brother, Steven, yells at her during his graduation party. In Episode 2, she covers for Belly, seamlessly lying so Steven doesn’t realize Belly went to Cousins with Jeremiah. Later, when Steven finds out anyway, she insists on coming with him to the beach — and adds that he needs to bring Belly some more clothes. “I’m going to send you a list of things to pack for Belly, OK? Because I’m sure she’s been in, like, the same big T-shirt this entire time,” she told him over the phone in Episode 3. Not to mention, throughout the season, she’s constantly encouraging Belly to rejoin the volleyball team — something she knows will help bring back her best friend’s confidence.
Fiercely protective, Taylor has been sticking up for Belly since Season 1. When Steven brings up one of his sister’s more embarrassing moments (that time she pooped in the bathtub at 6 years old), Taylor’s quick to remind him of his own (when he peed in the fireplace “and stunk up the entire house for days.”) Not to mention, when Conrad gets mad at Belly, Taylor doesn’t hesitate to remind him of his imperfections. In one now-viral scene, Taylor loudly tells Belly, “Let’s go inside and look at ourselves in the mirror some more,” after Conrad accuses Belly of spending too much time doing just that. One fan reacted to these Taylor moments on Twitter, “taylor kinda eating the house down with defending belly.”
It’s not that their relationship is without disagreements. In Season 1, the duo get into a major fight following Taylor and Steven’s first kiss, which happened to take place on Belly’s birthday. “There’s more than one story happening here, but you seem to only care about the one where you’re the main character,” Taylor calls Belly out in the moment. But their animosity doesn’t last.
Once Taylor gets over her initial jealousy at Belly’s life in Cousins, they’re able to find their way to healthier friendship, one that really starts to shine in Season 2. After Susannah’s death, which is revealed in Episode 1, Belly and Taylor’s friendship becomes the perfect ode to Laurel and Susannah’s. “Best friends are important. They’re the closest thing to a sister you’ll ever have. Don’t squander it,” Laurel tells Belly in book one. Season 2 is proof that Belly was listening.