Originally written for eVent! magazine [ep] on October 27th, 2005.
When I was in high school I never watched teen dramas. At the time 90210 had pretty much run its course but Dawson’s Creek was starting to become popular, as was the slightly more edgy My So Called Life, I avoided the shows because they seemed badly written, badly acted and so completely unrealistic that there seemed no point. Having lived through the real “oh no my friend threw a big party with beer while his parents were away and now he’s grounded” situation I didn’t really think I needed Hollywood’s take on it. Besides Star Trek: the Next Generation was still on the air, and I wasn’t going to miss a new adventure with Picard to watch Pacey pine away for Joey.
Call it nostalgia for high school life but it’s only since graduating that I’ve started to get into the evening soap operas called teen drama. The first was Dawson’s Creek, which I used to watch early in the morning on TBS before work or class. While it was all reruns the shows were new to me. Just this month I’ve started in on the newest of the teen dramas The O.C.
It seems like the universe has been trying to make me watch The O.C. for sometime now. As a reader of comic books I’ve noticed a link between the show, as a few O.C. writers have crossed into the world of comics including most recently one of the show’s executive producers and writers Allan Heinberg who is the creator and writer on Marvel’s Young Avengers comic. Secondly the character of Seth Cohen is always referenced when I try to talk about comics to someone who doesn’t read them but is familiar with the O.C.
“Oh, you like comics,” they’ll say, “So you’re like Seth on The O.C. except that he’s funny.”
Finally I broke down and bought the first two seasons of The O.C. on DVD and after having consumed hours and hours worth of teen drama programming in the span of a week, I realized that I may have ended up being a much more well rounded person had I added a little cheesy teen television to my viewing diet of Star Trek. What could I have learned? Well now it’s time for a list, me thinks.
Things that teen drama can teach: or how I learned to stop worrying and Joshua Jackson
- Everyone is beautiful: That’s right my cupcakes, everyone is beautiful and I’m not talking the sort of inner beauty that hippies try to tell you we all have I’m literally saying that everyone is a up and coming super model. The school geek? Beautiful. If it’s a guy maybe they’ll wear t-shirts for indie bands or give a nice little monologue about Brian Michael Bendis and if it’s a girl they’ll wear sexy glasses and lilke science, but you have to realize that everyone in high school is a physically perfect specimen of the human race.
- You can be twenty-seven and still be in high school: Like the remedial class at Rutland Senior Secondary filled with twenty somethings trying to upgrade and get their high school diploma, television teen dramas are filled with people much to old to be in high school.
- Your school sucks: When I think about how time I spent going to classes like math and social studies when I could have been in a movie making class in high school like Dawson Leery or playing on the water polo team like the kids at Harbor, I feel a little bit of my soul die. Not only that why did my school not have a full service coffee bar on par with Starbucks? All we had was Mr. Spilak selling kids slushes and hot dogs. Why won’t your school let you have a $10,000 digital HD camera to go and make a movie about how much you like Katie Holmes? Because school is lame.
- No nipple shots: You never get to see bare female breasts in television teen dramas, even though as mentioned before everyone is totally hot. That’s pretty realistic though, I never saw any bare female breasts in high school either.
- You will not have a movie career: Even if you show your boobs in The Gift. You might have to marry a midget for anyone to pay attention to you in Hollywood.
- You’re very eloquent: If anyone ever has to give a speech in front of the whole school it will be all like meaningful and stuff. Even the guy whose speech for student council consisted of, “I’ll disco for nickels!” followed by a series of pelvic thrusts was like totally deep, ya know.
- You know one gay person: Forget what statistics say you know one homosexual and only one homosexual. Anymore than that and Middle America starts getting uneasy and you don’t want to lose ratings in the red states do you? The gay person you know might be the sensitive brother of the cute blonde girl who you’ve had your eye on, or maybe the father of the evil jock water polo player but they’re there for you to discover. There are only a few exceptions to the you know one such as if the show is trying to go edgier or grab some ratings with a brief lesbian dalliance between two of the Maxim pinups you know.
Don’t tell me that television isn’t educational. Look at all the things I’ve learned from a few short seasons of The O.C. and Dawson’s Creek. As you know my little bowls of potato soup, anything you see on television is true, and it’s doubly true if you then read it in a local arts and entertainment paper. I have to go now though, this week’s O.C. is on and I need to know if Marissa and Ryan ever do find happiness.