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'Trinkets' Isn't ~Really~ About Teen Shoplifting

Netflix has a new show about three girls who meet under pretty unconventional circumstances. They're all compelled to attend a Shoplifters Anonymous meeting, but none of the ladies are really trying to correct their bad habit. They meet and bond over their chosen pastime, because breaking the law is easier when someone has your back. The truth is sometimes stranger than fiction so this plot might have you wondering — is Trinkets based on a true story?

Although the best friendships tend to form in the most unlikely places, the answer to this one is no. I found no evidence to suggest that Trinkets is based on anyone's real life. It's inspired by something so much better — a novel. But I think it was destined to come to a screen of some kind. When you read the screenwriting credits of author Kirsten "Kiwi" Smith you are going to flip. Well, you probably will if your dream movie night involves iconic feminist romcoms like mine does.

Smith is responsible for screenplays like Ella Enchanted, 10 Things I Hate About You, and Legally Blonde. Her partner for these and other movies is Karen McCullah. This iconic duo is currently working on Legally Blonde 3 though they are not responsible for Legally Blonde 2 — all good news. Trinkets is a solo project for Smith, who also has experience on the small screen from when she and McCullah adapted 10 Things I Hate About You into an ABC Family show in 2019.

Smith had a very specific agenda in mind when writing Trinkets. "The healing power of friendship is the story that I wanted to tell, the magic of friendship, the romance of friendship," she told Teen Vogue. "Isn't friendship the most important thing in life? Meeting a new person can change your life — making a new friend has saved mine many times."

The novel was published in 2013, so times have changed and the show will reflect that. There will be LGBTQIA representation, and themes like grief will be explored. Quintessa Swindell, who plays Tabitha, is a non-binary actor playing a female, cisgender character in their first major role. This is absolutely groundbreaking — and was quite fun for Swindell.

"One of the more beautiful experiences I had while shooting this season was diving back into past high school experiences and finding strength in many things I had not in the past. I found strength and resilience in fighting for Tabitha, given many of the tribulations she finds herself within this season," they told GLAAD.

Allyson Riggs/Netflix

Shoplifting is just the catalyst for the events of the series and Smith hopes that fans will learn a bigger lesson from Elodie (Brianna Hildebrand), Moe (Kiana Madeira), and Tabitha.

"It's also about looking beyond how someone might seem on the surface and finding that if you get to know them, you can find unexpected connections and value in people," Smith continued in Teen Vogue. "I hope people take away a feeling of openness, that they can walk into any room and meet a person that can change the course of their life," she said.

The show isn't advocating shoplifting of course, but it does make a pretty good point: you can meet pretty magical people in the most unlikely of places.