By: Sadie Dodds
WARNING: There are major spoilers ahead so only read this if you have already watched “Teenage Bounty Hunters” or, for some reason, don’t care about spoilers.
“Teenage Bounty Hunters” centers on naive and ridiculously ditzy twin sisters Sterling (played by Maddie Phillips) and Blair (played by Anjelica Bette Fellini). The audience follows Sterling and Blair through multiple relationships, several school projects, life-changing family drama, and their new jobs as Atlanta-based bounty hunters. The character-driven plot leads both girls into crazy situations involving love and crime. They are joined in their escapades by a myriad of boyfriends, girlfriends, a small group of school friends, their families, and their two fellow bounty hunters, Bowser (played by Kadeem Hardison) and Yolanda (played by Shirley Rumierk).
During these trying times, many of us seek solace in different forms of comforting media, including books, movies, social media, and especially TV shows. Now that we have been dealing with coronavirus for a while, some people are running out of quality content. These people need to go watch “Teenage Bounty Hunters” which was first released on Netflix August 14th. This show is a witty take on a modern-day Christian private school that provides heartwarming and emotional stories as well as a plotline that follows our two main characters’ struggles in their new bounty hunting jobs. Although this show is directed at teens, anyone can enjoy the comedy and drama that seep out of this show’s very core.
Overall, the characters’ development and actions felt totally organic (with two glaring exceptions that I will explain in a moment). Often shows force their characters to make decisions that they aren’t ready for or meant to do, just to drive the plot. This show didn’t do that. It felt incredibly organic and natural. Everyone moved at their own pace, and it worked perfectly with the plot. An example of this is the progression of Bowser and the twins’ relationship from unwilling coworkers to family-like friends who would do anything for each other. The changes in this friendship happened incredibly slowly and only progressed when the other side did something to motivate this change (the girls proved themselves to be good bounty hunters, they helped Bowser with his love life, Bowser agreed with Blair’s politics, etc.).
As I mentioned earlier, there are two parts of this show that I did not feel were executed the way they could have been. These two parts are the breakup between Sterling and April (played by Devon Hales) and Blair and Miles (played by Myles Evans).
Each of these relationships ended abruptly and with almost no warning at all. There was never any mention of April’s dad being homophobic. We had no way of knowing that he was the reason that she was in the closet or that his return would convince her to break up with Sterling. Also, Miles’s being ashamed of Blair was a total shock that came from seemingly nowhere.
Both of these issues could have been addressed quite easily. For April, the writers should have added a line about her dad’s homophobia during her and Sterling’s talk at the arcade. For Miles, the writers should have added a scene early on (something that would’ve seemed throwaway and comical at the time but would make sense later on) in which there would be nowhere for Miles and Blair to hang out except for his house. Instead of inviting her over, Miles would act skittish and say they can hang out another time.
With all that being said, there are still many superb aspects of this show. For example, they didn’t make Christianity into the enemy. Some homophobic and racist characters used religion as justification, but we, as an audience, knew that they were wrong. I feel like too much media portrays Christianity as the enemy of progressive thinking when, in reality, it’s just certain Christian people who are the enemy. This show presented its characters’ faith as just another aspect of who they were as people, and aside from being blind to a few things, this was generally a good thing. Despite the struggles, they each had a genuine and extremely personal relationship with God, that I, as an atheist, found beautiful.
Finally, the show ended with a huge plot twist that originally left a bit of a sour taste in my mouth. In general, plot twists of this nature are only pulled out when the writers have no other ideas. Almost 100% of the time, when these get written into a show, the show automatically “jumps the shark” or becomes so crazy that it is no longer enjoyable.
When “Teenage Bounty Hunters” pulled out the ole’ “there’s a secret evil twin and that explains everything” trope, I was scared. I was worried that the show had already “jumped the shark,” only one season in. However, after watching the show I took a moment to reflect on it’s content as a whole, and there were weird and crazy things as early as the first 8 minutes.
You see, Sterling and Blair can communicate telepathically. This is a power that they continuously use to make collective decisions and warn each other about things. The show plays this off as a “twin thing” but never really explains it. The fact that the show went this far so early on means that I shouldn’t have been nearly as shocked by the ending.
All in all, “Teenage Bounty Hunters” felt like a complete breath of fresh air. When I first found it, I didn’t realize what a gem I had seen, but as soon as I had finished it. I knew that I had stumbled upon something special. This was a TV show that brought me away from the world and into something a little more magical and romantic. Every single person who is feeling disheartened by this pandemic needs to watch this brilliant show.