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Is Dare Me a True Story? Is the TV Show Based on Real Life?


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Created by Megan Abbott and Gina Fattore, ‘Dare Me’ is an American teen drama surrounding two best friends Addy (Herizen Guardiola) and Beth (Marlo Kelly) who are a part of their high school’s reputed cheerleading squad. With a new coach (Willa Fitzgerald) assigned, the story takes a different turn, also in line with the murder of Sarge Will Mosley (Zach Roerig). 

Beth Cassidy, the physical manifestation of teenage perfection, is the team’s strongest performer. This puts her in an advantageous position if she ever resorts to make ends meet. Hence, she poses a direct challenge to the manipulative coach who wants power and control. Addy Hanlon, on the other hand, is docile and reserved. She is ignorantly vulnerable in front of the coach who only wants to use her and manage affairs through Addy’s assistance. The hype that the show garnered over a short period makes us wonder about its origin. What is the inspiration behind ‘Dare Me’? Is it based on a true story? Let’s find out.

Is Dare Me Based on a True Story?

No, ‘Dare Me’ is not based on a true story. It is, in fact, a television adaption of Megan Abbott’s novel of the same name. It was published in 2012 and is essentially a mystery novel. On being interviewed for the same, Abbott mentioned that she developed a fascination for the history of cheerleading and how it has progressed over the years. In 2010, her fascination transformed into an obsessive streak as she began to dive deeper into it. Cheerleaders today are a breed of passionate creatures who carry their wounds around like badges of honor. This profound edification compelled the writer to create the book.

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Abbott also seemed to have introduced teenage drama into her story to give it a raw edge. As opposed to adulthood, teenagers are more susceptible to react based on their instincts. These instinctive emotions are projected into the story as desire, murder, and power. She stated that adolescence is unforgettable. Even as adults, the impulse to go back and rewrite the experiences had as a teenager is always present. She is credited as the co-creator, co-showrunner, and executive producer of the series.

The project kicked off in 2013 under Fox 2000, and the basic idea was to assemble it into a movie. But the plan was subsequently dropped. Abbott then got involved with HBO for a cable network TV show adaptation of her novel but was trumped by ‘Euphoria.’ After six long years of being stuck in development, the idea was finally acknowledged by USA Network and pushed into production.

Abbott and Fattore were adamant about preserving the intrinsic nature of the human psyche. They did not want to highlight the modern era influence of technology that has complicated the nature of things. Their central motive was to keep the story emotionally simple and raw. In an interview with Variety, Abbott stated, “We were always much more interested in the ‘internalities’ of adolescence, rather than the things that technology or social media change. You date yourself so quickly if you focus too much (on the latter), so we really tried to focus on the elements of being a young woman with feelings of yearning, the desire for more experience, that sense of wanting things that are just beyond your reach, and the feeling that you have power but also being thrown into situations where you’re suddenly aware of your powerlessness.”

Abbott also expressed her interest in writing stories that are visual. There are instances in the show where the girls are painted in glitter, radiating a sort of aggression more characteristic to war situations. She wanted to articulate their emotions through a cinematic canvass. Besides visual aesthetics, her inspirations also included classic Hollywood, film noir, and the archetype of the “fallen” woman who defies cultural expectations.

Read More: Best Teenage Movies of This Decade

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