The Holy Grail of Teen Shows

Welcome back! Yes, I am still thinking about teen shows. Call it a side effect of getting older I start to look back at a time that I cannot take back. Therefore, I live vicariously through television shows. Speaking of which, as I click through the teen show sections on Netflix and Hulu, I started to think about the holy grail of teen shows that will always make me stop and watch.

So, like everyone else on the internet, here is my top three holy grail teen shows that everyone has to watch. Let us begin!

The O.C.

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The O.C. has a very special place in my heart. It was the first show as a teenager to grab my attention. It was the first show that became ‘must see’ television. It was the first time I had pictures of the cast on my wall (RIP Adam Brody’s Seventeen Magazine picture spread that lived on my wall for four years). It’s story didn’t just concern the teens but the adults as well making it easy to transition from teen drama to adult drama in a single scene.

In case you don’t know The O.C. is about Ryan Atwood, a boy from the poor side of town, being adopted by the Cohens, a rich family, after he is kicked out of his house for being arrested. It starts out with Ryan trying to fit in with this new type of crowd without losing who he is as person. The show only lasted four seasons but all the seasons are entertaining from beginning to end.

This show is necessary to see because it is a great snapshot of what the world was like for teenagers in the early 2000’s. I was coming into age in a time where labels were everything and fitting in was the name of the game. The whole nerd culture that is popular now was not very popular then. You could argue that Seth Cohen helped bring that to the mainstream.  The characters are likable and actually grow. I recently watched the pilot and the last episode of the series and the growth of all the main characters is amazing to see. You may find that an odd thing to say but many teen shows at the time never had characters truly grow up before the ratings fell.

The O.C. has a strong legacy in pop culture. From the Housewives shows, Laguna Beach and Chrismukkah the O.C. introduced a lot to the American public that still has an effect to this day. Some might argue those contributions were the worst but I like that a show that had such an impact on me still exists in pop culture.

Check it out on iTunes and DVD. Worth the watch.

Awkward

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I have Awkward in here (a current MTV show) to show that teen shows do exist. Not in the traditional sense but they do exist. Even better? This one is worth checking out.

Awkward follows Jenna Hamilton, who struggles to be a teenager especially after losing her virginity and accidently almost committing suicide. Her best friends, her young parents, her first love and the classic cheerleader enemies surround her as she navigates her life. It is a terrible summary, but I do not want to ruin the show for you. It is a fun ride.

The reason you should watch this show? It reminds me of the classic teen structure while taking into account the struggles current teens are facing. What I truly like about the show is they do not sugar coat anything. The characters screw up regularly. They swear. They get drunk and do not have to have the obvious consequences every time. The characters remind me of my time as a teenager. It feels authentic and I believe anyone can relate to these characters regardless of age.

This show is still on the air starting the second half of season five this month. All the seasons are on Hulu and MTV. Check it out. It is worth the watch. It will bring you back to what being a teenager feels like.

Dawson’s Creek

1997 The cast of "Dawson's Creek." From left to right: Katie Holmes (Joey Potter), James Van Der Bee

1997 The cast of “Dawson’s Creek.” From left to right: Katie Holmes (Joey Potter), James Van Der Beek (Dawson Leery), Michelle Williams (Jennifer Lindley) and Joshua Jackson (Pacey).

Pacey. Pacey. Pacey. If you were a kid or teenager in the late 90’s early 2000’s, you had a crush on Pacey Witter. By the way, Joey and Pacey forever. Dawson’s Creek is the quintessential teen dramedy. Even now hearing the theme song can bring back so many memories.

Dawson’s Creek, for those who do not know, follows Dawson Leary and his friends in a small town as their world is turned upside down by the arrival of Jen Linley from New York City. Joey loves Dawson but Dawson loves Jen. Pacey loves female attention until he realizes he loves Andie then Joey. You have parents that are a mess, dying kids, confusing emotions and break ups that defined lives.

This show is a classic for me. Even now, it still holds up. The show has no unique twist to it. There are not any vampires. People are not trying to save the world. People are not werewolves. These characters are just teenagers living in a small town dealing with things that every teenager can relate to in their lives. I doubt feeling like a kid when you need to start thinking like an adult is something that goes out of style.

Yes, Dawson’s Creek is somewhat corny and near the end the writers seems to get distracted by shiny objects but it is worth the watch. It doesn’t use gimmicks it just using those teenage emotions we all can relate to at any age.

It’s on DVD and Crackle. Enjoy. Report back to me. Also, Joey and Pacey forever. Just needed to say that in this blog again.

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These three shows have had an effect on my life. It is also a good way to look back at a time where many small issues were big and everything was a new adventure.  We may all grow up and move on but sometimes it is fun to look back and remember. I hope these television shows make you look back fondly and help you remember the good parts of being a teenager.

So, that concludes my time in the teenage land. Do you have any holy grail teen shows that bring you back? Tell me in the comments below!

Until next time, the randomness has ended. I hope you enjoyed!

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Are Teen Dramas Dead?

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Welcome back to the randomness! The holiday season is over. Everyone is trying to follow through those New Year’s Resolutions and get back to the routine. That is what I am doing this month. So, let’s begin!
Over the course of the holiday season, I have become obsessed with watching Beverly Hills 90210. A teen show that was on the air for ten years. It follows the Walsh family as they try to navigate the 90210 world. The show is much more detailed than that, but it is addicting. Even worse? It got me thinking.

What happened to the teen show?

Watching this show that dominated the 90’s television landscape reminded me of the teen shows that I watched as a kid. To start, I was part of The O.C. generation. The label whoring, rich is better, quirky style type of teen dramedy. I remember watching Dawson’s Creek on TBS in reruns, which was more of the folksy, 90’s complaint rock, and warm type of show. Beverley Hills is a mix of the two with some Melrose Place stingers mixed in. I will not lie; One Tree Hill is in there too but much later on. I did not get into that show until college. Regardless, I remember those types of shows fondly. They were a big part of my childhood, teenage and early twenties.

What do teens have to watch now? This question came up when I was talking with my good friend Jamie. My guess was MTV. Teen Wolf, Awkward and Faking It seemed like a typical teen dramedy. Except they are not. They are genre pieces. They include issues teens are facing today but with a slant.

The CW (former WB) is something my friend threw out there. The CW is the new WB. So, they would be teen show central. Umm…no. Yes, the shows tend to be around teenagers and early 20-something, but again they seem to be genre specific. Jane the Virgin is 20-something with a family twist. I-zombie is genre based (zombies…duh), and The Flash is straight up superhero genre.

The shows on the CW do not reflect what I watched on the WB. The WB was the place that teen went to when regular network television (Cable was not that big yet) was too boring. It reflected what we were going through as teenagers growing up in a turbulent era (every teenager has a turbulent time, but I got to live through 9/11 and the stock market crash of 2008). The CW does not have those types of shows anymore. They are targeting specific audiences and selling to them like mad, and it is working.

Which lead me to ask a new question.

Do we even need the traditional teen show anymore?

Each generation has its struggles. Some never change (pimples, mean girls/boys and SATs) while others do (social media bullying, over-sexualization and constant scrutiny at every turn). There could be teen shows written about the new struggles, but they are not. Which leads me to think that teens do not need that type of show anymore. They do not need to be force-fed lessons the way my generation had. Hiding those lessons through superhero shows or shows about accidental artificial inseminations seems to work better than talking about an issue straight out.

Maybe that works better because constant messaging from brands, their friends and their families has made that teen bracket harder to reach. Television shows have to be subtle and hide the lessons in genre specific ways.

Is that a bad thing? No. Not at all. I just long for the days where I could relate to a character’s struggle flat out. Now I notice that I cannot relate as easily since my time worrying about the pimples on the face was secondary to saving the world.

I guess I long for the simple times since things are not so simple anymore.
What do you think? Do you think the teen show still exists or is it dead? Tell me below in the comments!

Stick around because tomorrow I will be listing the top three teen shows everyone should see once in their lifetime.

Until then, the randomness has ended. I hope you enjoyed!

Merry Christmas from the TV!

 

Welcome back! This is just the start of our Holiday/Christmas journey this month. I decided to start out slow. I am talking about television. What a shock. What is different is I am talking about television shows and their holiday episodes. Not the classic type that I watch all year round. That would include the I Love Lucy Christmas special. No, going into that would be too easy. I’m going to be talking about the Christmas episodes I like to watch that aren’t as popular. At least not in a long time. These episodes always make me smile when it’s the holiday season.

The O.C. – Chrismukkah

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Drinking, crying, cops. Well, it must be Christmas! – Ryan

Yes. All the Chrismukkah episodes. The O.C. came on when I was a sophomore in high school. I was their target market, and I ate the show accordingly. I was a Seth fan but over the years I slowly became more interested in Ryan.

Regardless, I love all the Chrismukkah episodes. Before The O.C. I didn’t even know that Chrismukkah even existed! Now that I am older, I have found out that the show came up with that word. From what I gather it has become part of our vernacular at least in America.

The reason why I love these episodes is that no matter how bad things are for the characters on the show something good always happened on these particular episodes. It was the show that had every storyline explode but then always put a happy spin on it in the end. Generally. I enjoy watching them and remembering a time when I had a deep discussion on why Summer and Seth should be together forever.

Good times.

Community – Abed’s Uncontrollable Christmas

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Abed Nadir: If I can find the meaning of Christmas, then things will go back to normal.

Jeff Winger: …asterisk.

Six seasons and a movie! A call for a generation to come together to keep a show that only kept a few million interested. I would like to remind you that it got its six seasons. Now all we need is a movie.

We need the movie dammit!

Anyway, this episode has it all. It is Claymation, has some cute songs and emotional punch that still makes my heart melt. For a show that would rather run with a joke than character development, this episode stands out. Every character is analyzed and emotionally compromised (except for Jeff but lets’s not kid ourselves. Annie got him to come back to save Abed from Duncan). However, they all come back to save Abed from his sadness.

All the usual Community sarcasm and jokes are there, but they do not sacrifice character development for it. It is a very sweet episode of Community.  I like to revisit each year to remind myself that even the worst people know Christmas is a good time to do some good.

Even if you have never seen Community before check it out. It works on its own and maybe you can get into the Six Seasons and Movie fandom!

AND…CHRISTMAS PTERODACTYL!

30 Rock – LudaChristmas

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“The holidays without drinking is rough. Turns out football is boring, my wife’s sister is not as cute as I thought she was, and I can not play the guitar” – Tracy Jordan  

I’m a big fan of 30 Rock. I loved how its character-driven, funny and created the great comedic pair of Liz and Jack. I like to call them the new Mary and Lou. One of my favorite Christmas episodes is the one that shows different families and how they handle being around each other especially during the holidays.

Jack’s relationship with his mother is always funny to watch, but it is even funnier when you compare it to the relationship the Lemons have with each other. I guess it is to show that the grass isn’t always greener on the other side of the fence. Jack is taken by all the positivity and merriment the Lemons have with each other. It is just to his mother to show that even the happiest family has their pressure points. Which is so true. The Lemons are that family you see on the happy picture on the Christmas card. In reality, they are falling apart and are secretly judging each other while doing it.

I love this episode because I can relate. My family is usually stressed out to the max by the time Christmas comes around, and the general merriment we started with is gone. We are just holding on to get to Christmas. You see other families and want to be like them. I promise you. They are just as stressed out as you are.

It is a fun look at how Christmas looks like in New York City (There is nothing better than Christmas in New York City) and how none of us are immune to holiday and general family stress.

Those Christmas classics are not classics for everyone, but I love to watch them each year.  They are sometimes dark, and a very silly but so is the holiday season.

Until next time, the randomness has ended. Hope you enjoyed!