June 21, 2012

Teen Television

I have a confession to make→ I watch way too many CW and ABC Family shows. Why, as a thirty-something gal, am I so hooked on vampires, bunheads, underage fashion interns, and unrealistic-to-the-point-of-ridiculous fashionista Liars? No flipping clue. I guess I just became incredibly bored with forensic dramas, and I've always detested reality TV (we're talking fiery loathing). And any time I really get into anything sci-fi it gets yoinked. I think that's my favourite thing ever.

I guess I watch these television takes on YA because it's a little like research. I don't personally know any teenagers anymore. However, these teenybopper* shows have their fair share of problems, and buttloads of disbelief-suspending.

***A word of warning: Here there be (some) spoilers.***

While I'm embarrassed to admit I watch some of these shows, here's my take on the most ridiculous aspects of them:

Vampire Diaries
Dear, sweet, idiotic Elena: Poop or get off the pot. Pick a Salvatore already (psst...I vote Damon). Thanks. But even more ridiculous than this slightly incestuous love triangle is the whole Gilbert-guardians-dropping-like-flies thing. I have four words for the writers of this show: Wards. Of. The. State. Seriously, I'm expected to believe that an unrelated male history teacher would be permitted to move in with two of his minor-aged students, one of whom is a teenage girl? And now what? Who's looking after them now that Alaric is more Casper than caregiver? Maybe Damon could move in. This show needs more arched eyebrows. Fantastic**.


Pretty Little Liars
Good gosh, where to begin? A sixteen-year-old girl is dating her adult English teacher (now former teacher), and the police haven't been called? And when Mom & Dad grudgingly allow it, Social Services hasn't shown up? What the heck kind of message does that send? Hello, Mary Kay Letourneau, nice to see you again. In real life teachers go to jail for this kind of thing. Just because they met before he was her teacher, and just because he's no longer her teacher does not make it legal. I just googled whether this actually happens in the books, and apparently it does, but Ezra moves away for good when they're caught. That seems more believable to me.

90210
I know you're thinking, "Why do you watch that?" And believe me, I ask myself the same question all the time. It's mindless and that's about it. So, so many beefs here. An eighteen-year-old—not yet legally able to drink in California—owns a beach bar. What? Four of the show's fresh-out-of-high-school characters either get engaged, married, or propose to another teen. Is that what kids are up to these days? Man, I'm out of touch. While the show deals with real issues—teen pregnancy, disease, suicide, death, drugs—they really leave me scratching my head on others. I can only let so many things go before I start wondering if the writers are doing lines off their scripts. I need to pare back my TV, and I think this one is getting the axe.


This is just a small sampling of teen shows that I watch, but they're the ones that spring most readily to mind. I watch plenty of teen television mainly because it's more interesting than a lot of other shows, and because it's the closest thing to watching the equivalent of a YA book. Heck, a good many of these shows are based on YA books (Pretty Little Liars, Vampire Diaries, The Secret Circle and soon to be aired The Selection***, and The Carrie Diaries). But in the end I'm just glad that YA fiction exists and that there's something out there for teens that is both realistic and responsible. YA, irrespective of genre, deals with teen issues in a way that is neither heavy-handed nor overly permissive. Don't we owe that to today's teens? Now, I don't hate these shows (I still watch them) but I think they could use a heaping helping of reality even if the story is fantastical in nature. And maybe, just maybe, they could be a little less unrealistic and ridiculous.

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* And now you know: I'm a visitor from the 1950s. What is this thing I'm typing on?! And where's my poodle skirt?!
** No really, that would be fantastic. I would not complain. Like, at all.
*** Apparently, this has stalled out a little bit and might not show up until next summer. The good news: it's been reported that Friday Night Lights' Aimee Teegarden will star in it (Yay!). I just hope the CW doesn't screw this one up.

40 comments:

  1. I confess: I'm thirty-something, and I watch Gossip Girl. I'm so sad that it's ending after next season. :(

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    1. I watched it for the first couple (few?) seasons, and then stopped. I've been tempted since then to pick it up again, but I have far too many shows already. :)

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  2. Oh my gosh I am like addicted to the Vampire Diaries!!! And PLL (even though I haven't read the books). And Nikita too!
    I'm also super excited for the Carrie Diaries and Beauty and the Beast.
    .... In case you can't tell, I'm a little addicted to CW's shows.

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    1. I love watching these shows, I just have a few beefs with them. I had been watching NIKITA, but it started to bore me after a while. I wonder if it's gotten any better lately. I get WAY too excited every time the CW announces more new shows, so you're not alone there. :D

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  3. I watch some of these, and I'm not embarrassed about it at all. I mostly suspend disbelief and overlook the unrealistic details. At least the storylines can keep my attention, unlike the shows people my age are supposed to watch.

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    1. I guess I should say I'd be embarrassed to admit it anywhere outside this community. Most the people I associate with in real life don't read YA and certainly don't watch shows like this. I know that many of the people on the blogs (especially the YA writers) are into them. :) And I really do like most of these shows, I just have some beefs with them. I have to agree with you: the shows people my age are supposed to watch are just irritating. :)

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  4. "I've always detested reality TV (we're talking fiery loathing)" << me too!
    I don't watch that much TV ... I would, but I try spending that time writing.
    But I love TVD -- though the indecision and the dead guardians is starting to irk me -- and Nikita. I kinda liked Secret Circle, but not that much.
    I liked Nine Lives of Chloe King too. So sad that was canceled ...
    I do get irritated easily with these shows though. They portray teenagers in a way that's not realistic. Anyway, it's good entertainment ;)

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    1. I miss CHLOE KING too! I was pretty bummed when they cancelled that one. Speaking of, I totally think that Benjamin Stone (who played Alek) would make a great Finnick in CATCHING FIRE. He has the right colour of hair, the right build, and the right amount of cockiness mixed with sweetness (Ben Stone Photoshoot).

      Anyway, I agree that these shows are good entertainment, but horribly unrealistic. :)

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  5. Haha! Love this post. I am right there with you in the loving of these terrible yet fantastic teenybopper shows. Somehow The Secret Circle also managed to grab my attention. And that has just as many issues as The Vampire Diaries in terms of eyebrow raising peculiarities.

    Team Damon all the way!!

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    1. I never did start watching THE SECRET CIRCLE for some reason. I'm not really big into the whole witch thing, I guess. Unless it's HARRY POTTER, but that's different. :) And seriously, I'm not sure that there's really any contest between Stefan and Damon. Just sayin'... :D

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  6. Yes! I'm the same way. Both my husband and I watch Gossip Girl, and we've started Bunheads. I've also recently started showing him Dawson's Creek, and I go through all of Gilmore Girls roughly once every two years. I was watching 90210, but I got busy this year and realized I just wasn't that invested anymore. But I really hope The Selection happens!

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    1. I really like Bunheads so far. It feels kind of quirky and I kind of love the MC. :) As for The Selection, I'm really hoping that one happens too!

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  7. I totes watch a ton of YA TV, haha... Gossip Girl and Vampire Diaries are really my go-to shows at the moment, but I'll watch anything about teenagers. That either makes me creepy or dedicated to my craft, so I pick the latter.

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    1. Let's go with the latter. :D I used to watch Gossip Girl but gave up on it a couple seasons in. Too many shows to watch, and I didn't love it. But I'm still hanging on to TVD mostly for Damon. :D

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  8. LOL! I'm very addicted to TV also. I have a major crush on CW, mostly Supernatural and Vampire Diaries though. I'll definitely be watching The Carrie Diaries. I loved the Sex in the City movies, but I never watched the TV show. I can't wait to see who they cast as the teenage Carrie Bradshaw.

    I love Pretty Little Liars too. I was kind of skeptical about how long they could pull off the who's A storyline, but so far season 3 has been off to a great start. Another ABC Family show I also really like is The Lying Game.

    Why does TV have to be so good?

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    1. I haven't checked out The Lying Game. I should do that, though I doubt I need more shows to watch. :D

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  9. I don't watch a lot of teen shows anymore! Mostly because I don't watch a lot of TV period. But I LOVED the original 90210, and I watched the first season of the re-vamp when it started! I just got too busy to keep at it. Is Kelly still a school counselor, or is she gone?

    p.s. LOVE your new blog! It's so pretty!

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    1. I'm gradually starting to offload shows. It's hard because I always feel like I need to see something through to the end. Bones is like that for me. I'm totally sick of it, but I've watched it since the beginning to so I don't really want to quit now.

      Re: my new blog look→Thanks! I like that it's less cluttered. :)

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  10. I'm so behind on the teen TV-watching - all it's been for me recently is Game of Thrones and Sherlock, which haven't exactly inspired me with YA topics. More like, inspired me with material for an incestuous, blood-thirsty murder mystery. Yeah. Not a great idea.

    But usually, TVD has me hooked. Helloooo, Damon.

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    1. We're really big into Game of Thrones too! I'm bummed that it gets such short seasons. I can't imagine how expensive that show is to film, so it's understandable I guess. It sounds like we've got a whole lot of Damon fans around here. Maybe the CW didn't get the memo. :D

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  11. I don´t watch these shows since we left the US (I am sure they play on German TV though).
    I do wish I could watch Bunheads because it just looks very very very good.
    My favorite YA TV shows (blast from the past):
    - Gilmore Girls
    - Dawson´s creek
    - The first 90210 (the first two seasons)
    - Degrassi; Junior High and Degrassi: High (+ the first two seasons of Degrassi the next generation, then it got too much)
    - Heartbreak High (Australian TV show that I watched while in Junior High, my friends and I used to call each other to discuss the episodes :D)
    - My so-called life
    - Buffy (GOSH I loved that show!)
    So yep...lots of shows! :D

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    1. I'm a big Gilmore Girls and Veronica Mars fan. I have all of the seasons of both on DVD. I'm about due for a Gilmore Girls marathon I think. Wish I had my French/German CP partner around to hang out and watch it with. :D That would be fun!

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  12. I'm with you on this--I'm a sucker for these YA shows, too! Just finished the second season of Vampire Diaries, and I'm with you on the whole Damon thing! ;) And I loooooved Pretty Little Liars when it first came out, but I stopped watching after Aria started kissing Ali's brother--confession, I liked Ezra! *hides* But I do want to catch up, I heard they FINALLY revealed who "A" is. And that was killing me too. I was like, JUST TELL US ALREADY. Buffy is another of my all-time faves, along with Gilmore Girls. :D

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    1. I'm a big Gilmore Girls fan and have all of the seasons on DVD. I'm about due to watch them from the beginning again. As for PLL, they finally revealed who "A" is...or maybe not. Still no answer on that score. :)

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  13. I've heard of all of them but don't watch any of them. I watched 90210 when it first came out dinosaur years ago.

    Mainly, I watch "True Blood" and "The Walking Dead" I do like one reality TV show and that is "Hell's Kitchen." The drama aside, I get to check out new dishes and learn by watching.

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    1. We're totally behind on The Walking Dead. We still haven't watched any of Season 2. I guess that's something to watch now that Game of Thrones is done for the year. :)

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  14. I don't watch any of these shows, but then I have three teenagers in the house with one in the wings (she turns 12 next week). It sounds to me like you're in desperate need of a Doctor. You know... The Doctor... as in Doctor Who! Let me know if you want a consultation on where to begin. :)

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    1. I honestly keep forgetting about The Doctor. I really should get on that. :)

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  15. I gave up watching TV ages ago. The last shows I was really into were Gilmore Girls and Grey's Anatomy. This is why most (if not all) of the shows on your list appear foreign to me. They all sound interesting enough though, so who knows, I might just decide to look one of them up one of these days. :D

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    1. I love Gilmore Girls, and that's why Bunheads (new show) appeals to me. It's by the same people and even has a couple of the actors from GG. It could be really good. :) As for giving up watching TV—probably a really great idea. More time to read and write!

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  16. I have turned into a terrible TV watcher, even though I love TV. I blame it on dropping cable 4 years ago and living in a place in which you don't pick up anything without cable (apparently buildings are too tall in NYC for the signals!). So I watch some stuff on Hulu, but I miss being able to just turn on the tube at night. I suppose it's a good thing, though: between the dayjob and my running hobby/addiction, I wouldn't have any time to write otherwise!

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    1. I honestly sometimes wish I didn't have cable. It's such a time suck. I enjoy watching shows, but there is so much more I could be doing with my time. Like reading and writing. I'm finding that I'm slowly letting go of shows that just don't do it for me anymore. That's progress I guess. :)

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  17. I'm thirty-almost and I watch these shows religiously! Well, except 90210, but I watch Gossip Girl instead. Great TV!

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    1. There's something to be said for watching shows purely for enjoyment, right? I think part of why I watch these shows is that they're just fun, and I can totally veg out while I'm watching them. :)

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  18. I find Pretty Little Liars to be good, mindless entertainment, but I legitimately adore Vampire Diaries. There's something about that show. And it's probably Damon. :)

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    1. It's definitely Damon. :D Lot of fans around here it seems. I kind of find that Elena's the weakest character as far as interest factor. I like all of the other characters SO much more...especially Damon.

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  19. I VOTE DAMON, I VOTE DAMON!!! :)
    Oh, how I wish you lived closer, my Jaime. We could sit in our yoga pants and watch YA TV all. day. long. Because yes, it's THAT great!
    On the downward slope of my 30's, I don't think I'll ever be too old for this kind of TV - after all, I totally agree: it's completely *cough* research. Kinda like I'm taking one for the team.
    And if I'm doing that, I might as well take Damon with me.

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    1. Looks like we all vote Damon. :) I'd totally be all over YA TV/yoga pants parties! How fun would that be? As for being in our thirties and watching shows like this→ I don't see us getting sick of them any time soon. Or YA fiction either, for that matter. Way too good to give up. :)

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  20. My guilty pleasure teen show of choice is 'Supernatural'. Oh dear god, that show is so ridiculous. BUT JENSEN ACKLES. Yes, please. I think I really love that 'Supernatural' never takes itself too seriously, either. It's campy, trashy, silly, and gory, and it's perfect that way.

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    1. I watched the first episode of SUPERNATURAL, and it didn't grab me like I feel a pilot should. I'm thinking I might have to give it a second chance, because you're not the first person I've heard raving about this show (despite admitting to its ridiculousness :D). By the way, WELCOME!! Nice to have you. :)

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