To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before fans should have a bone to pick with XO, Kitty. The spinoff series is fun and charming, with a storyline and love interests nearly as great as Lara Jean Covey (Lana Condor) and Peter Kavinsky’s (Noah Centineo) whirlwind romance in the original movies. But there’s something missing—and it’s a glaring omission for XO, Kitty to have, considering how smart and enjoyable the rest of the show is.
Where in the world are Kitty’s (Anna Cathcart) older sisters, Lara Jean and Margot (Janel Parrish)?
The easy answer: Margot and Lara Jean are in college, so there’s no reason for them to be in this show following a now high school-aged Kitty. But there’s also no reason for us to see Kitty’s father (John Corbett) and step-mom (Saraya Blue), either, considering the entire series follows Kitty as she transfers to an elite boarding school in South Korea called KISS (Korean Independent School of Seoul). And yet, we see them at the beginning of the series and the end, where they send Kitty off, and FaceTime her while she’s struggling in classes.
No shade to John Corbett—though I was never Team Aidan on Sex and the City—but who in the world wants to see Kitty’s dad? Though the main purpose of Jenny Han’s TATBILB series and this new spinoff has always been the love stories (there are plenty, if not too many, in this show), the heart has always been the close connection between the Covey sisters. Peter wouldn’t even be dating Lara if it weren’t for Kitty’s antics. She was the one who sent the love letters in the first movie, and she always pestered Lara to try things out of her comfort zone.
XO, Kitty loses part of its To All the Boys charm by subtracting Margot and Lara from the equation. Though Margot graduates in the first movie and heads to college in the second, she’s always around to FaceTime Lara Jean and Kitty. Where is that energy in this new spinoff? I’m supposed to believe Kitty would journey to Korea, dabble with four separate romances, and immerse herself in an entirely new culture without any support from her sisters? She’s independent, of course. But Kitty would definitely call her sisters to gossip about boys.
Without her sisters, most of Kitty’s close kinships become with other boys—some, she wants to date, others she trusts platonically. There is only one girl Kitty befriends, the principal’s daughter Yuri (Gia Kim). But Yuri quickly becomes Kitty’s enemy after Kitty finds out her new pal happens to be dating her online-turned-IRL boyfriend Dae (Minyeong Choi). Yikes! (It’s all a ruse, though: Yuri is only dating Dae to hide her sexuality from her parents.) I miss the connections and friendships between women that TATBILB always had.
In an interview with Netflix’s Tudum, Han, who served as a creator of this show and wrote the original TATBILB series, explained why Lara Jean isn’t in the show—though no comments on Margot.
“We all fell so deeply in love with Lara Jean and her story,” Han said. “So it felt like the greatest gift to give to Kitty was to let her as a character kind of set off on her own two feet and not put her in the shadow of either of her sisters. And Lana and Noah are both off and doing big things. The whole To All the Boys family couldn’t be more proud of them and excited for all the things that come next. We’re all excited to see Anna [Cathcart] really pick up the mantle and continue Kitty’s story.”
Okay, so it sounds a little bit like Parrish and Condor were too busy to make an appearance in XO, Kitty. Which is understandable: Both proved their skills in the original Netflix trilogy, so perhaps I should be happy they’re booked and busy rather than protesting their departure from the admittedly younger source material.
But if, by any chance, the XO, Kitty team simply wrote Lara Jean and Margot out of the picture, Netflix will be hearing from me. One FaceTime in Season 2—that’s all I ask!