on teen drama

by clairefagan

I was a teen once. I partook in teenage activities, including trigonometry, hanging out in parking lots, homecoming dance and whatnot. I entered the pandemic as a teen and now I am nearly 22- I guess that’s how two years works! As a teen and now into my twenties I have and continue to consume a lot of media, including television. Teen dramas are a major part of teen TV watching- apart from sitcoms, non-teen dramas, and Antiques Roadshow. Teen dramas attempt to portray the lives of teenagers, to varying degrees of realism. With the recent uptick in teen drama discourse brought back to light by the show Euphoria, I’ve taken a minute to reminisce on teen dramas past. 


Of course, the hottest new teen drama. Like many shows of its genre, the actors in the show are not teens but in their early/mid 20s. I’m not sure if this is so the actors can film nude scenes or so you don’t have to see how deeply depressing a sixteen year old drug addict looks. Euphoria is the subject of a lot of chatter and controversy. I like the show, but going on twitter when an episode drops is like logging onto a Euphoria forum. I don’t need this fictional drama following me to the space I use to keep in touch with pseudo reality. 


The GOAT. I watched 17 seasons of Degrassi my freshman year of college because I had terrible time management skills and limited levels of self control. Degrassi has been around since the 1980s, making it the longest running teen soap. They’ve covered every teen issue, from domestic violence to drug use to pregnancy several times over. And they don’t show signs of stopping! HBO recently announced they are bringing the show back, because Netflix apparently did not run it into the ground enough. 


Yes I was on 2013 tumblr. NEED I SAY MORE!!!! Skins is a pretty fantastic show though. Very funny, and the aesthetic and glorification of poor coping mechanisms undoubtedly influenced many thousands of chronically online and/or British teenagers. I should clarify I am talking about Skins UK, but who ever references the dumpster fire that is Skins US. IMO Skins is to Tumblr as Euphoria is to Tiktok, and I wish I did not know what any of these words meant.


Riverdale is a fucking trip. It’s definitely camp. I was never into the Archie comics because I wasn’t a child of the 1950s but to my understanding the show is loosely based on those characters. I watched a season and just could not continue, but I truly appreciate the show’s writers for the line “You haven’t known the triumphs and defeats, the epic highs and lows of high school football” delivered to a kid who dropped out of high school to sell drugs. 

Twin Peaks

It’s a drama. There are teens. I’m counting it. Not enough teen dramas are trippy and demonic! Where’s Lynchian Euphoria???

Categories: claire fagan, feb 8, review

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