This all started with the wonderful coffee and fast food filled show that is Gilmore Girls. After quickly binging the whole show within a few months, I was desperate for more teen drama, dynamic relationships, and explosive arguments. Googling ‘shows like Gilmore Girls’ led me down a rabbit hole of watching American high schoolers complain about their partners and the latest gossip spreading around the town. Despite not being the most complex of shows out there, teen dramas hold a special place in my heart for many reasons.
Being quite nerdy and socially anxious at school, I was never really the one to go to parties or hang out with the popular kids. By watching these eccentric teen dramas, I get to live vicariously through the characters and their experiences of going to boozy frat parties and messy break ups. I was able to see into the alien world of the students that intimidated me. It helped me to realise that maybe I wasn’t actually missing all that much. One Tree Hill highlighted how the ultra-idolised students lived their lives through basketball and cheerleading. Their priorities were so different to mine that it was fascinating to watch them crumble after the end of a relationship, compared to me, who would have a nervous breakdown over a bad maths score. I just loved being involved in the drama for the first time in my life. But it was also good to see how the characters’ personalities progressed from high school to the real world, highlighting how the hierarchy that is prevalent in so many schools eventually peters out.
Gossip Girl allowed me to see what it would be like to live on the Upper East side of New York, surrounded by money and private schools. Whilst wild problems do arise every so often in their luxurious lives, you can always be comforted by the knowledge that they will eventually be resolved and your favourite characters will have their happy ending. My favourite teen dramas offer an escape from my dull reality. Whether you are escaping your own school dramas or wanting to re-live life as a carefree student, cheesy American shows allow for a little bit of light watching in-between chores.
For me, teen dramas are like a comfort blanket. After a bad day, it is easy to pop on an episode and be reminded that everything will work itself out by the familiar faces that you come to love.
Even now, teen dramas have a cult-like following with young people, who may not have been born when these shows first aired, creating fan accounts and shipping characters together. I also love getting way too emotionally invested in the character’s love lives and debating who should be with who or that this character is way too good for their current love interest. But at the end of the day, teen dramas aren’t there to be taken seriously, they are just a bit of fun.
There are still quite a few dramas that I haven’t seen yet but of course, they are on my watchlist. I just can’t seem to get enough of the perfect white teeth and suburban American lifestyle of the 2000s. I think that my taste in TV shows is extremely diverse and that teen dramas is just one genre that I gravitate towards during tough times. It isn’t always a good idea to watch a heavy and emotional program when we feel low, and therefore teen dramas act as a soft hug to help alleviate some stress.
Image courtesy of Jens Kreuter.