Is Freeform's Teen Anthology Series 'Cruel Summer' Based on a True Story?

Toni Sutton - Author

Jun. 6 2023, Updated 10:12 a.m. ET

The official poster for Season 2 of 'Crue lSumm
Source: Freeform

After a successful first season, Cruel Summer is back — but the OG characters aren't. The teen drama is an anthology series, meaning future installments will feature a totally different storyline with a new cast, town, and timeline.

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Speaking of, Season 2 is set in an "idyllic waterfront town in the Pacific Northwest" and follows a love triangle and the "rise and fall of an intense teenage friendship" in the Y2K era. Like its acclaimed predecessor, the second season will approach the story from three different years and unravel a mystery that has impacted everyone's lives.

With a chilling tale at its heart, is Cruel Summer based on a true story? Luckily for you, we have all the answers!

Megan (Sadie Stanley) with Sheriff Myer (Sean Blakemore) and Deputy Hal Hardwicke (Elijah Silva) in Season 2 of 'Cruel Summer'
Source: Freeform
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So, is Season 2 of 'Cruel Summer' based on a true story?

Though the events in the series could very well happen in real life (and probably have), Season 2 of Cruel Summer is not based on a true story. The second season takes on the life of a routine murder mystery in the fictional small town of Chatham, Wash.

Of the second season, executive producer Jessica Biel told The Hollywood Reporter that the entire team "wanted to maintain the structure and the skeleton of the show, which is the reason it's so unique because of the timeline and the dual perspective."

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Luke (Griffin Gluck), Megan (Sadie Stanley), and Isabella (Lexi Underwood) in Season 2 of 'Cruel Summer'
Source: Freeform

"But we wanted to change the themes this year. We're talking even more deeply about friendship, betrayal, obsession, loyalty," she added. "How far would you go to protect somebody you love? What will you risk? Those are real-world problems that adults deal with all the time, and so do young adults."

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Season 1 of 'Cruel Summer' is also not based on a true story.

Despite the storyline seeming entirely believable, Season 1 Cruel Summer is also not based on a true story.

The storyline is totally an original concept by the show's creator Bert V. Royal, who is best known for being behind the iconic comedy film Easy A. Even though the show isn't based on anyone's real life, Bert did say that he used real-world experiences when writing the scripts.

Jeanette (Chiara Aurelia) and Jamie (Froy Gutierrez) in Season 1 of 'Cruel Summer'
Source: Freeform
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During an interview with Deadline, he discussed working with executive producer Jessica Biel and former showrunner Tia Napolitano, who's worked on Shondaland dramas Scandal and Grey's Anatomy before Cruel Summer.

"We're really excited to tell this story that we hope will spark some interesting conversations about how our society can upend a person's life and send them to the hell of infamy before — and sometimes even, despite — the facts," he told the outlet. Well, we can all rest easy knowing that this really did not happen to anyone in real life.

New episodes of Cruel Summer air Mondays at 10 p.m. EST on Freeform. Stream on Hulu the next day.

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