What happened to teenagers on TV?

It’s 43F here and it is about the same in Florida. At least here the cold seems natural. With the humidity of Florida the chill cuts through you. Oh well, better than heat you can’t escape I guess. Though I do miss being able to jump out of the shower, leave my hair wet and wear flip flops on my feet and be perfectly suited for everyday wear. But the rain and wind here has been up for a couple of days now so I’ve been indoors.

With my new year productivity goals in place I want to make sure I get something written up. Yes, that even includes posts to this blog. I have to do some more reading than I did last year and I want to include books that will make me remember what it was like when I was young.

Today I watched half of the 1970s Freaky Friday with Jodie Foster. In that movie Annabell Andrews, the 13 year old main character looks and dresses like a kid – braces and all.  That’s the way kids on television should look but for some reason teenagers in shows now are way too adult. They all look perfect; they dress in designer outfits and have fabulous parties. There never seems to be any authenticity in teenage characters on TV now. The kids in most popular shows are rich and even if they’re supposed to be slightly less than wealthy they dress the same as their rich friends.

How is this any reflection of what society is today? We’re in the midst of an economic crunch that is predicted to be worse this year yet Paco Raban adverts and Breaking Dawn are all about the wonders of extensive cash. How can anyone connect to images like that these days? Granted being a teenager means you want things and, for girls, cute clothes but geez, cocktail hour and diamond chokers at age sixteen?  Even adult women had the idea of wearing Manolos even if you found them used on Ebay. That’s a first world big girl problem, not a kid who needs to study for her SATs problem.

In the 80s, on Dallas, maybe. In the 90s we had 90210 and Dawson’s Creek but still the have and have-nots were addressed. We had My So Called Life were kids looked and acted real. Now we have Pretty Little Liars, Gossip Girl, Secret Circle, Vampire Diaries and the 90210 remake. Those kids all look as if they had a trip to a spa with a shopping spree with Donatella Versace before the camera starts rolling. It was fine to believe we could buy these things when everyone had jobs and homes were owned. Now we’re lucky to find part-time work and their house repossessed. Kids are so obsessed with having an iPhone or an iPad which most families can’t afford because their parent is unemployed.

Why are we still trying to dangle the obsession with riches in front of kids when it has nothing to do with their real lives? I think the Disney Channel is about the only channel that comes remotely close to making young characters be and act young. I know there always has to be an aspiration for everyone but I’d love to see more young adult television shows based on kids who look like kids.


About Suzanne Schultz Pick

Married to Steve. Mother of Jack. Librarian IT Assistant. Writer, teacher, blogger, podcaster, technological princess.
This entry was posted in All About Me, Movies, Review, Television, Writing and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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