From Twilight to The Vampire Diaries to Emily in Paris, we love a good (and chaotic) love triangle in pop culture. We may not be heading to Hot Topic to get t-shirts of which guy we prefer or arguing over which brother is superior with our friends between class periods (kids these days will never understand how the Salvatore brothers had us in a chokehold), but everyone on TikTok is talking about how they’re either #TeamConrad or #TeamJeremiah after completing the second season of The Summer I Turned Pretty. In case you're not caught up, the show tells the story of Belly, a teenage girl in a love triangle with two brothers, Conrad and Jeremiah.
Most of us can agree that it’s probably best for Belly to be single for a while simply because she can’t make up her mind to save her life (was it The Summer I Turned Pretty or The Summer I Turned Messy?), but it’s fun to have the Conrad vs. Jeremiah debate nonetheless. From what motivates them to how they express their love, here is our breakdown of each and who we believe is best suited for our girl, Belly.
Fair warning: major spoilers for both seasons are ahead.
Why People Are Team Conrad
It’s clear from the very first episode of the first season that Belly has had a crush on Conrad ever since she was a little girl, and it’s easy to see why. He’s handsome and has that mysterious bad-boy edge that’s nearly impossible to resist. When we first meet him when Belly arrives at the summer house, he comes across as cold and reserved, but it’s later revealed that he’s depressed after finding out his mother’s cancer has not only come back, but she wants to keep it a secret from her children.
As the first season progresses, we see how much Conrad cares about Belly and that there’s a softie under the tough persona he puts on for others. He claims he forgot her birthday, but he actually got her a necklace of an infinity symbol, something the two bonded over when they were younger. When Jeremiah is nowhere to be seen after finding out about his mother’s cancer at the debutante ball, Conrad is the one to save the day, stepping up as her escort. This leads Belly to choose him at the end of the first season, leaving Jeremiah heartbroken.
After Jeremiah (reluctantly) gives his blessing, Conrad and Belly begin their relationship. However, he starts to withdraw from the relationship when his mom’s cancer gets worse. This leads the two to break up at prom, and Belly makes a scene at their mother’s funeral when she sees Conrad’s ex comforting him.
Conrad’s biggest con (pun very much intended) is that he can get cold when he gets upset, indicating that he has a hard time processing and expressing difficult emotions. The good news is that he’s young and can overcome this. This is also understandable in the circumstances, as losing a parent is always a traumatic experience, but it’s even worse for a teenager who has a complicated relationship with his dad (his only surviving parent) and who’s trying to figure out who he is and what he wants to do in life.
Why Fans Root for Jeremiah
Jeremiah is a genuinely kind and caring guy. Everyone loves him and loves to be around him, and his sparkling blue eyes are definitely a plus. He’s always been one to make Belly laugh and essentially acts as a second brother to her. He doesn’t realize the potential for a romantic relationship with her until the beginning of the first season, while Conrad has always seen the potential of being something more. Conrad’s moodiness in the first season allows Jeremiah to explore a deeper relationship with Belly and he shows he cares for her by escorting her to the debutante ball and helping her get back home after the mean girls left abandoned her at the dock. Despite his efforts, she still chooses Conrad at the end of the season.
At the start of the second season, Jeremiah calls Belly to tell him that Conrad is missing. The two of them team up to find Conrad, which allows them to rekindle their romance. Jeremiah shows he cares for her by not letting her go on the Tower of Terror ride at the amusement park alone and by listening to her vent about her breakup with Conrad. Despite Conrad’s lingering feelings for Belly, she chooses Jeremiah at the end of the second season.
Jeremiah’s biggest red flag is his amount of jealousy over Conrad’s relationship with Belly. It’s understandable that he’s a little jealous because he cares about Belly, but the actions he takes to express his jealousy are incredibly petty. In the first season, he launches a firework to prevent Belly and Conrad from kissing on the Fourth of July. When he reluctantly gives his blessing for Conrad and Belly to start a relationship, he completely shuts Belly out, even though he values his friendship with her. Plus, she’s one of the few people who understands his grief over his mother’s illness, cheating himself out of comfort during one of the most difficult moments of his life.
You could argue that Conrad was also petty in his jealousy towards Jeremiah’s relationship with Belly, but he handled it differently. The one time Conrad was genuinely mean was after he caught Jeremiah and Belly kissing after they both spent the night helping him study for his biology final. He came around to their relationship in less than 24 hours when he realized that he wanted Belly to be happy, though. Jeremiah comes to a similar conclusion when he notices that Conrad still has feelings for Belly, but it took him nearly a year to come to this conclusion, whereas it took Conrad less than a day.
Who Is the Better Boyfriend for Belly?
Both Conrad and Jeremiah are good guys who genuinely care for Belly. They both have their flaws, but it’s clear that Conrad is the better choice for a long-term boyfriend.
Belly’s brother, Steven, explained it perfectly in the second season’s finale: Conrad challenges Belly to be a better person. He sees that she’s a genuinely good person but recognizes that she has the potential to grow into an even better person. Conrad does this because he’s always seen Belly as more than just a friend and knows her on a more intimate level, possibly even more than she knows herself.
TikTok user @pancitluvr also provides a good insight. She writes, “I’m Team Conrad because there is a significant difference in the way they care about Belly. With Conrad, he’s happy as long as she’s happy. He ultimately wants what’s best for her even if it means pushing her away because he knows she deserves better.”
While Jeremiah genuinely cares for Belly, it’s possible that some of his feelings for her are unconsciously influenced by the rivalry between him and Jeremiah. Conrad had feelings for Belly long before Jeremiah was in the picture, proving that his love for her is purer. This doesn’t mean that Jeremiah’s feelings for her aren’t genuine, but indicates that he’s better off just being her friend and dating someone else.
Like any good show for teens, The Summer I Turned Pretty tells the story of the love triangle between Belly, Conrad, and Jeremiah. Both boys are potential boyfriend-material, but it’s clear that Conrad’s love for Belly is deeper than Jeremiah’s feelings for her, proving that Conrad is the right choice in the end.
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