Cruel Summer/YouTube

Did You Miss This JonBenet Ramsey Reference In ‘Cruel Summer’?


Wait, there was a JonBenet Ramsey reference in Cruel Summer??

Freeform’s breakout hit, Cruel Summer, had fans guessing until the end. Season 1 involved the kidnapping of Kate Wallis (Olivia Holt) by high school assistant principal Martin Harris (Blake Lee.) As the season goes along, pieces of the puzzle reveal that things aren’t always what they seem. 

Did Kate wrongly accuse Jeanette Turner (Chiara Aurelia) of seeing her in the basement but keeping quiet? How does Jeanette’s former BFF Mallory Higgins (Harley Quinn Smith) fit into it? In a new interview, the showrunner dished on more stories to come and a hidden easter egg that fans may have missed involving JonBenet Ramsey.

Cruel Summer Hit of the Summer

During the early episodes of Cruel Summer, it was clear that Jeanette was a bit obsessed with Kate Wallis prior to Kate’s kidnapping. But how obsessed didn’t become completely clear until the season finale. 

But fans did learn that the once-unpopular Jeanette basically took over Kate’s life when Kate was missing. This included Kate’s boyfriend Jamie (Froy Gutierrez) and Kate’s close friends. In fact, Jeanette dumps her long-time best friend Mallory, but after Kate’s rescue, Mallory strikes up an unlikely friendship with the newly dark Kate. 

After her rescue, Kate was not pleased to learn that her boyfriend and friends had moved on with Jeanette. During a television interview, Kate makes the shocking allegation that Jeanette knew that Kate was being held prisoner by Martin. Kate claimed that Jeanette saw her in the basement. Jeanette strongly denied the allegations, which split the town and her family. 

Little by little, viewers watched as the truth unfolded on Cruel Summer. The finale exposed the truth about everything – did Jeanette see Katie? And if not, who did? Who is the mysterious Annabelle that Kate mentions in therapy? 

While viewers were distracted by those questions, they may have missed an easter egg early on in the season involving JonBenet Ramsey. 

Did You Catch the JonBenet Ramsey Reference in Cruel Summer

JonBenet Ramsey was a child beauty queen famously murdered on Christmas in 1996. Her body was found the next day in the basement of her family’s home in Boulder, Colorado. However, there was no clear indication of who murdered her. Both of her parents and her brother were suspects at one point or another. 

It was a case that dominated the tabloids and remains unsolved 25 years later. Some clues from the police reports stick in people’s minds all these years later. That means that some Cruel Summer viewers immediately picked up on a reference to the murder. 

During a recent interview with Entertainment Tonight, executive producer Tia Napolitano discussed the fan theories. She said that during the second episode, Kate eats “pineapples and milk.” That’s a reference to the last thing JonBenet Ramsey ate before going to bed the night she was murdered. 

The showrunner didn’t reveal the significance, but it was “definitely intentional.” 

With Season 1 behind us, will the show return for another season? 

Will There Be a Season 2 of Teen Thriller? 

Cruel Summer has been a huge success. The network didn’t keep the fate of the show a mystery very long. During the Season 1 finale, the Cruel Summer social media account announced great news for fans. The show has been picked up for Season 2, airing in 2022. 

At this point, virtually nothing is known about the second season. The showrunner is keeping a tight lid on any potential storylines. Will they continue the Kate/Jeanette saga or will they start a new mystery with a new cast? 

The final moment of Season 1 lends itself to a possible continuation. 


At the end, it turns out that Jeanette was lying the whole time. She knew Kate was in Martin’s basement. However, she didn’t lie when she said she didn’t see Kate. Rather, she heard Kate’s cries for help but took her hand off the door handle at the last minute, leaving Kate in the basement. 

However, Kate has no idea of Jeanette’s guilt. It turns out that it was Mallory who saw Kate in Martin’s house, not Jeanette. 

Did you get the JonBenet Ramsey reference? Are you excited for Season 2 of Cruel Summer? Share your thoughts in the comments below. Check back with us for news on all your favorite TV shows. 

Jennifer Havener

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