Food for thought: What makes a good (read: bad) teen drama series?

I had a bit of  an OC marathon the other night (partly because my housemate is a massive fan tad obsessed with Ben McKenzie, and partly because we like to ponder the depths of the Universe every now and then). And naturally, this is as philosophical as it gets.

Anyhow, before I delve into the ‘meat’ of this debate, I think it only appropriate to preface the remainder of this blogpost with a disclaimer — there has been some ‘wine-age’, pre-writing.

Now that that’s out the way, which, incidentally, is the reason this post is far sloppier than previous ones, onto business:

What maketh a good teen drama?

Naturally, there is the holy trinity of teen drama series – sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll (sorry, I mean ‘music’ this isn’t the 1960s!) But beyond that I’ve come across a standardised pattern in teen drama series –  for one, there’s the whole love triangle thing.

I mean, whenever a show’s lead couple is doing well, how is it that there is always an ex- from the past who scampers into town out of nowhere?

Or better yet, when it ends up being an accidental kiss with another character on the show, when the couple were on a break (note ‘Friends’ reference!) Like when The OC’s Seth and Summer were on a break and he accidentally ends up kissing a stripper in Las Vegas (they were also on a break at the time). Or the next level ‘let me kiss my friend stunt’, where two characters who have a history end up kissing to make a secondary character jealous. So many examples spring to mind for this one– like when Gossip Girl’s Serena and Nate kiss at the White Party and get busted by Dan, or when The OC’s Seth and Anna  did the same to make Summer sit up and take note.

Then of course, there’s the classic ‘things are too calm, let’s bring in a crazy stalker / creep / overall weirdo’ move. Examples which spring to mind are Oliver on The OC, that guy who stalked Donna on the old Beverly Hills 90210, then Jasper on the new 90210, and that creep of an English teacher, Mr Cannon on the same show.

But lest I forget, the ‘Ultimate-Stalker-on-a-teen-drama’ award has to go to ‘Psycho Derek’ on One Tree Hill. Not that Nannie Cary was bad at being a creep or anything, but Psycho Derek, should you need a refresher, was the eye-candy the show’s casting people introduced in the show’s fourth season. As Peyton’s estranged BROTHER!

Anyway, so as you may or may not know– that ended well. You know, with him delusional thinking that he and Peyton were inevitable, and her stabbing him and all. (Oops, spoilers! He actually ends up being your run of the mill psycho, who isn’t her brother but some rando off the internet named Ian).

So there you have it. Regardless of whether these usual suspects were rounded up to keep things ‘interesting’ (read: keep viewership up), or whether they were really there to raise awareness on teen struggles (eating disorders, drug and alcohol abuse, harassment, and rape, are after all, not a joke), one thing is evident- they make for highly entertaining television.

Oh, and I might be mildly addicted to them.


Author: Akanksha Singh

Twenty-something travel addict || Likes: coffee, sarcasm, the Oxford comma, blue skies, and cobblestone roads. || Dislikes: rudeness, carrots, and pigeons (read: winged-rats with satanic eyes).

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