USA Network’s Newest Series: ‘Dare Me’

Published on January 5, 2020

Step right up to a world of teenage anxiety in Megan Abbott and Gina Fattore’s latest creation, “Dare Me” on USA Network.

Get ready to meet Addy Hanlon (Herizen F. Guardiola), a student at Sutton Grove High School and manipulative childhood best friend and ex-cheerleader captain, Beth Cassidy (Marlo Kelly). Thick as thieves, their friendship is put to the test with the arrival of new cheerleading coach, Colette French (Willa Fitzgerald).

Everybody knows everybody in this small midwestern town, so it only makes sense for tensions to intensify. So, come on in. If you dare.

You Can’t Sit With Us…
Production

The pilot episode of Dare Me aired on December 29th of 2019; a show to get obsessed with is exactly how I needed to end 2019. Some of the production companies include Universal Cable Productions, the same company that gave us the tv series version of The Purge and the anthology crime drama mystery series known as The Sinner.

In other words, they are the guys to go to if you wish to be scarred. You know, temporarily. Filmed in Toronto, the first season began filming on April 22nd, 2019 and concluded on August 6th, 2019.

Rotten Tomatoes explains that “…Dare Me’s slow-burning thriller pairs nicely with its moody atmospherics to create a deft exploration of the interiority of teen life.” And I believe here is why.

C.H.E.E.R.

Family pressure is first seen through Addy. From the moment the first episode starts, we encounter her desire to make a future for herself in cheerleading even after high school. Sounds harmless, except for the part in which her mother (Amanda Brugel) doesn’t support her.

Denying the existence of cheerleading scholarships puts a restraint in between the mother and daughter relationship. As per someone that is a stranger to parental support, I can guarantee you that this relationship is on thin ice. Example? My father wasn’t there when he had to be there. This relationship hits a bit close to home. As of now, I only call him on holidays and birthdays; The talks don’t last long. I am sure it is not a coincidence.

Nevertheless, I digress. On the bright side, Addy finds solace through Coach French when the latter shares the same passion as her through dedication when training the squad. She even volunteers to help Addy when encountering the teenager training by herself. Angst increases whenever we see her interacting with Beth.

Beth is the worst of the two evils. While Addy deals with her pressure and anxiety through training and doing college research, Beth distracts herself a bit differently. She is the Regina George of Sutton Grove, but on steroids. She abuses her teammates, including her half-sister, Tacy (Alison Thornton).

She goes on binges at a time (sexual activity, alcohol, or both); it is her primary tool to coping with boredom and the insipid routine that it’s high school. Her relationship with her divorced parents is almost non-existent, considering they have a public toxic relationship with each other.

Most importantly, she measures Addy’s loyalty through peer pressure and Addy’s willingness of becoming an accomplice.

Just Want To Be Cool, Man.

Addy is at her worst with Beth. Thanks to the very definition of what an enabler is, Addy partakes in all the activities Beth enjoys… only whenever the latter is around, however. If I tell you that not once did I succumb to peer pressure just for the sake of impressing my best friend back in high school, then I would be lying. I may or may not have gone through this.

According to an article on Teen Help, peers are very important to a teen’s identity. Teen age is the period in which more complex relationships form. They are usually dictated by the kind of crowd teenagers want to belong to.

Each crowd follows a set of rules in order to decide which new members may be accepted. My prior crowd’s set of rules included having the same taste in clothing and music and torturing a certain arrogant so-called-genius. And the crowd Addy belongs to obeys only Beth. The latter even asks her “are you still my girl?” after deciding to follow French’s orders and preventing her from doing something stupidly criminal.

The Overall Dynamic

The dynamic between these two characters reinforces the theory, I think, that teenagers’ main priority is to withstand the pressure of proving loyalty to a group of people who may not have their best interest at heart. Addy is shown having other friends, and yet she chooses someone opposite to her.

As teenagers, they haven’t learned the meaning of toxicity and the importance of cutting people off their lives permanently. I certainly didn’t learn those things at that age.

I am interested in seeing how it all turns out. I highly recommend the show. Dare Me airs on USA Network, on Sundays at 10:00PM.

Argenis Ovalles is an Editorial Intern at Grit Daily. He currently writes at Vocal Media and Theater Pizzazz.

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