It might seem that if a Netflix executive wanted to get a grasp on what the kids were up to these days, all they would have to do is log on to Twitter — a pseudo soapbox of what new generations value and want to see change in — and soak it all in. Needless to say, Twitter is not the real world, but it occupies a very strange role in American society. When users start asking if crimes like shoplifting can be normalized, they are (mostly) joking. But apparently no one told Netflix this, because they took gen-Z Twitter quips and ran with it for two seasons.
“Trinkets” is just another addition to Netflix’s diverse catalogue of original coming-of-age stories. The show centers on Elodie (Brianna Hildebrand, “Deadpool”), a socially-awkward lesbian junior in high school and her two girl friends — the stubborn, loud-mouthed Moe (Kiana Madeira, “The Flash”) and the rich, popular Tabitha (Quintessa Swindell, “Euphoria”). Each character has their own semi-separate subplot revolving around love, typical of Netflix teen shows. Season two continues where the first left off: Moe struggles to be the girlfriend her lover Noah (Odiseas Georgiadis, “Sacred Lies”) wants. Tabitha tries to grow from her abusive relationship with her ex. Elodie navigates her feelings and tries to find a fulfilling relationship. Ostensibly, the show is also about shoplifting, which is the thread that ties the characters together. “Shoplifting is about hiding in plain sight, but doesn’t everyone do that anyways?” Elodie narrates at the end of season one. Like any good coming-of-age story, there’s a realization that everyone goes through their own trials, and suffering is not exclusive to oneself.
Yet unlike many of the shows before it, “Trinkets” almost exclusively borrows from “Twitter trends.” The most obvious reference is a now-deleted “normalize shoplifting” tweet, but the show goes far beyond that. Take Brady (Brandon Butler, “13 Reasons Why”), Tabitha’s abusive ex. A perfect Twitter villain, he’s a white, privileged, popular frat boy with a penchant for manipulating administration to get what he wants. The exact same kind of person that Twitter exposes and eviscerates. Even discussions of race are oddly Twitter-based as well. In episode seven, Tabitha, a Black woman, is followed around a store by a white clerk, who accuses her of stealing. This story is a very common shared instance of racism on Twitter. The show is obviously making the point that being Black in America is difficult, but it’s curious that the writers chose to make the point this way. Being followed in a store is not the only way to experience racism, but perhaps the show writers thought it would be the most recognizable?
The show makes extensive reference to Twitter and its trends. “Trinkets” is trying to appeal to an audience that spends 25 out of 24 hours on social media. But if all the lessons from “Trinkets” are just references to Twitter trends, the lessons feel less genuine. If a show is just going to rehash internet references, why does the show need to exist if the audience can just read a few tweets? It also doesn’t help that the dialogue in the show is abysmal. The characters talk as if they’re sending tweets, not how real teens talk. The references are either extremely dated or completely unheard of. The lines are delivered like the actors are being held hostage. Pretty standard Netflix stuff.
All in all, “Trinkets” is a show made for Twitter. From its carbon-copy life lessons, a plethora of references and cringy dialogue, it’s clear the show is trying too hard to appeal to the new generation. If anything, “Trinkets” should be a lesson to any prospective screenwriter. If you want to make a show about teens, get off Twitter and actually go speak to one.