(Photo from Netflix) Jackie Howard stands in between brothers Alex Walter and Cole Walter as they fight to win her love. The love triangle looks to continue with Netflix’s recent renewal of the teen drama show for a second season.
(Photo from Netflix) Jackie Howard stands in between brothers Alex Walter and Cole Walter as they fight to win her love. The love triangle looks to continue with Netflix’s recent renewal of the teen drama show for a second season.

Like every other teen drama: “My Life With the Walter Boys”

Netflix’s newest teen fascination, “My Life With the Walter Boys,” unfolds a familiar tale of love and tight-knit family drama, weaving a narrative around a predictable yet compelling love triangle. Adapted from Ali Novak’s 2014 Wattpad novel, this young adult series follows the story of 15-year-old orphan Jackie Howard, played by Nikki Rodriguez, as she grapples with the sudden death of her parents and older sister. 

Jackie’s perfect life in New York is flipped upside down due to a fatal car crash that forces her into the care of her Uncle Richard, portrayed by Alex Quijano. Her numerous aspirations and dreams for the future are curtailed as she is forced to move to Colorado to live with her late mother’s best friend, Dr. Katherine Walter, played by Sarah Rafferty. Along with Katherine, however, comes a boisterous family, including her husband George Walter, played by Marc Blucas, and their seven sons, one daughter and two nephews. 

Upon her arrival to the Walter family ranch, Jackie is met with warmth from Katherine — but not all family members share the same sentiment. The eldest of the sons, Will Walter, acted by Johnny Link, is put in charge of assisting Jackie’s arrival, showing her around both the ranch property and the charming town of Silver Falls, Colorado. However, Cole Walter, taken on by Noah LaLonde, the second-oldest Walter boy, adopts a less-than-friendly demeanor towards Jackie, giving her a hard time about her outfits and New York roots. Exuding a captivating yet aggravating charm, Cole represents the archetypal ‘bad boy’ of the Walter family. 

Despite the initial tensions between them, Cole is taken aback by Jackie’s beauty and poise, and the two have an immediate spark. However, their connection faces challenges from Cole’s complicated situationship with Erin, played by Alisha Newton, and Jackie’s budding relationship with Alex Walter, portrayed by Ashby Gentry, the resident ‘nice boy’ of the Walter clan. 

Alex’s character is the polar opposite of Cole’s, yet both boys find themselves irresistibly drawn to Jackie, setting the scene for a complex brotherly feud. Fueled by the jarring experience of catching Cole kissing his former girlfriend, Alex begins to loathe his older brother, fervently hoping that history won’t repeat itself with Jackie. Overcome with jealousy at their initial chemistry, Alex pursues Jackie before Cole has a chance to act. While Jackie eventually starts dating Alex, who oozes self-pity and sensitivity, the audience can’t help but hope that she will find her way to Cole. This prolonged conflict continues on to demonstrate that even though both brothers are backed by a loving family, unbreakable bonds and empathetic values instilled by their parents, their behaviors reflect just the opposite.  

While there is a comforting sense of familiarity within the show, “My Life with the Walter Boys” leans heavily on the overdone tropes of many teen dramas. As a plotline that has become a staple in many young adult movies and TV shows, the cliché of the good girl falling for the older, sophisticated brother can feel overplayed. In fact, as criticized by the public, “My Life With the Walter Boys” might as well be a copy and paste from Amazon Prime Video’s hit series “The Summer I Turned Pretty.”

(Illustrations by Ruthvi Tadakamalla, photos from Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime) Love triangles have been important aspects of television dramas for many years. But, as they get more and more similar, we have to wonder if society has gotten too comfortable in their T.V. choices.

Despite its redundancy, the global audience seems captivated by the enduring appeal of the love triangle dynamic. TikTok, in particular, has become a battleground of enthusiasts, with users declaring their support for either Team Cole or Team Alex. But in the grand scheme, the ‘winning’ team seems predetermined. Almost always, the ‘bad boy’ comes out on top, reinforcing the predictable outcome of such dramas. 

Beyond the worn-out plotline, “My Life With the Walter Boys” features a rather flimsy message and robotic acting. The show lacks substance; there is no notable lesson the audience can take away. The conflict between Alex and Cole feels unrealistic and could have been resolved with simple and honest communication. On the other hand, while grief has no set time frame, Jackie seems to feel little pain following the death of her family, causing the show to lack an essential understanding of the consequences of tragedy and a sense of humanity. 

The show’s pacing is also sluggish, lacking exciting major plot points for the audience to look forward to. While many of the show’s actors are highly applauded, the plot fails to provide a solid foundation for a sophisticated performance. The result is a mundane execution of an engaging romance story, leaving the audience with little more than an underwhelmed feeling. 

Even though the main purpose of the show holds a great deal of flaws, there are interesting subplots that add value to the episodes. While there has been a recent rise in the inclusion of LGBTQ+ characters in teen shows, more work has to be done to increase diversity and inclusion in media. With two openly gay characters, Nathan Walter, played by Corey Fogelmanis, and Skylar Summerhill, portrayed by Jaylan Evans, “My Life With the Walter Boys’ introduces another empowering romance for the LGBTQ+ community. 

Additionally, filmmakers prioritized the setting and picturization of the show. With a barn, animals and vast acres of green land, the Walter’s ranch property is nothing short of visually beautiful. However, the ranch doesn’t come without its problems. The show introduces another subplot involving financial issues within the Walter family, adding an entertaining dimension to the narrative. When George’s crop yield fails to meet expectations, the family has to come up with solutions to keep their household running. Even though a family that large is a demanding pressure to maintain, even for a TV show, this subplot provides an intriguing insight into the parents’ navigation of economic challenges.

Overall, “My Life With the Walter Boys” was simply too overdone to truly enjoy, remaining cohesively uninteresting due to the familiarity of the plot. However, certain subplots proved to be engaging. In the end, the Pathfinder gives this show a 5/10.

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About the Contributor
Ruthvi Tadakamalla
Ruthvi Tadakamalla, Social Media Manager
Pronouns: she/her Grade: 10 Years on staff: 2 What is your favorite piece of literature? "To Kill a Mockingbird." Who is your hero? My mom. If you could only eat one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be? Cheez-its.
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    Lauren HolcombJan 23, 2024 at 8:44 pm

    Good article! I literally thought my life with the walters was some sort of spin-off of the summer I turned pretty lol