When I was a very little kid, I used to watch the original Degrassi. When I was a slightly older kid, it was always about the original Beverly Hills 90210 – which, at the time, was seriously innovative, because there weren't any teen dramas in the U.S., really. I feel kind of old and depressed that, in addition to their being tons of teen dramas now, both Degrassi and Beverly Hills 90210 have been remade – but whatever, age is relative, I am young and eternally cool, and here are 7 ways teen dramas have changed.
1. Drama is Pretty
There are no ugly teens on teen dramas anymore. Even the awful teenage villains are pretty. There used to be tons of ugly people. Granted, 90210 started changing that, but there were still some unattractive folks on there. The original Degrassi was full of them. What happened to ugly people? Since when is drama pretty?
2. More Cliques
Today's teen dramas have a lot more cliques. I blame this on Mean Girls. I mean, the honest truth about high school is that while there are cliques, the groups are more fluid. You're at least civil with the people in most other groups, you'll talk to each other in class or the hallways or something. On TV it's like you get your throat cut if you're caught talking to someone less popular than you.
3. Sex Sells
Donna Martin retained her virginity for many, many seasons. At the time, this seemed old fashioned. These days, I think it would actually be innovative. A girl who wants to remain a virgin? And manages to do it, and still stays popular and well liked? What?
4. STD Taboo
Back in the day, on the original Degrassi, one of the school bullies got AIDS. They said it was AIDS because the disease was still pretty new back then, so realistically he probably still only had HIV, but the fact remains the same. That was huge at the time, and when do you see it now? You don't even see a case of herpes on most teen dramas, because it's not sexy or treatable enough.
5. More Social Activism
That being said, I think teen dramas are getting more socially active. What I mean is, they're mimicking problems teens are having today – the important ones. A lot of them are entirely filled with fluff, sure, but many of them are also dealing with bullying, drug use, teen pregnancy, et cetera.
6. More Social Realism
Because they're dealing with the aforementioned things, that also serves to incorporate some realism into some otherwise unrealistic shows. Every drama, whether it's for teens or adults, needs realism. The shows today really need a little more of it, for that matter.
7. Uninvolved Parents Vs. Too Involved Parents
Correct me if I'm wrong – seriously, I hope I am – but there are no sane, normal parents in teen dramas, it seems like. The parents are either completely uninvolved, or way too involved. They may start out normal, but when that doesn't garner interest, they just kind of flake out.
Granted, I'm not up on every single teen drama on air right now, but these are the trends I've seen so far. And I'm not even going to get started on teen reality shows. What do y'all think about teen dramas and their storylines?
Top Photo Credit: §ally