By Melica Mahmoudi
Popular TV shows such as “Gossip Girl,” “Riverdale,” and “Pretty Little Liars” are constantly manipulating the teenage experience into something severely unrealistic even in the social media age.
Although there are storylines with bizarre plots in each series, the main purpose is to bring the audience entertainment through unrealistic concepts usually targeted to an older audience than the teens represented in the shows. However, there are always going to be younger viewers and teenagers who watch these shows and find themselves questioning their roles as young adults.
These shows promote unrealistic expectations for real teenagers who watch these serials.
How moral is it to be creating content that is this unrealistic about the teenage experience?
Although we all know underage drinking and drug use exists, these shows glamorize it to a problematic extent. These kinds of mature themes should not be centered around teenagers for obvious reasons. These styles of shows should solely be aimed at mature audiences and should be aimed at highlighting the college lifestyle because of how extreme the content is.
Most recently, HBO’s hit TV show, “Euphoria” is highly criticized for being centered around Gen-Z teenagers. Even though the show does not remotely depict the average high school experience, “Euphoria” is increasingly popular.
The average teenager is not out partying 24/7, having an incredibly toxic love life, and drug addiction all while staying in school and having a good grade point average. The average teenager doesn’t check off one of those list items. It is not only illogical that this kind of person would exist, but problematic.
Now that “Euphoria” is increasingly gaining popularity with teenage viewers due to its dramatic plot, many adults fear teenagers will try to live up to these standards.
This is why it is important to take into consideration that the series was intended for more mature audiences. While teenagers can relate to many of the show’s themes about intimacy and friendship, they should not compare their experiences to those on the screen.
On the other hand, adults watching teenagers undergo these traumatic experiences and performing inappropriate activities is also weird and uncomfortable to think about. So, why did the director of the show, Sam Levinson, decide to revolve the show around teenagers?
Although television shows such as “Euphoria” are highly addicting and binge-worthy, it is important to avoid the comparison of the actual teenage population to those characters in the media that have been acted by 28-year-old adults. It’s clear that Hollywood has a twisted way of portraying Gen-Z. Through the media that they promote, it is obvious that the version of high school we have to live through is not the same as what is idealized in their works.