The embarrassingly dangerous ways teenage dramas ruin self esteem

Throughout the entire history of television, every channel had at least one big teenage drama. ABC had

student views instagram
A student admiring celebrity Michael B. Jordan dejectedly as they compare themselves to him. (Savannah Richard)

Full house by Jeff Franklin, the fan favorite character being D.J Tanner played by Candace Cameron Bure, who was a preteen while acting in the show. Bure looked like how most preteens in the 80s and 90s did. With her colorful sweaters and baggy pants, neon jumpers, and blonde blowout, she was able to relate to many girls and kids her age while being on the show. Television today is completely different from what past viewers experienced growing up.

For example, Riverdale by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, was one of the biggest shows that came out when I was a preteen. This show about a bunch of Freshmen in high school, was being run by actors in their mid- twenties. Maybe it’s the show’s more mature themes? Isn’t this a show about high schoolers though? Yes, yes it is. I found myself even enthralled by the show, but one thing that would always cross my mind was ¨wait.. How old are these people?¨ Because it just didn’t make sense. I mean, I do the same things as these characters, but they look like college graduates. 

Eventually you start to wonder, why isn’t my face as structurally defined as Lili Reinhart’s? Probably because she´s twenty six in this episode. Shows directed towards teenagers these days are not safe for teenage minds because they enforce unrealistic standards by having older actors play younger characters.

Anyone can watch shows like Riverdale and argue that the reason for the actors being so much older is because the theme of the show they’re playing is mature, and the targeted demographic isn’t teenagers. On Netflix, one of Riverdale’s main streaming platforms, it’s rated TV-14. This means it is in fact made and catered to young adults and teenagers.

It may be mentioned that if a show like Riverdale isn’t suitable for the targeted demographic, you can just watch another. This is difficult to do because there are little shows now, even teenage sitcoms, that include actors that are anywhere near the age of the characters they’re playing. Wouldn’t it make sense for the people playing ¨relatable¨ characters to actually be relatable?  

When you put people on TV that are supposed to look and act like a certain age, it’s best to ensure there’s no possibility of unachievable beauty standards being put into place. It’s extremely dangerous. When a sixteen year old girl is watching a show about another sixteen year old, it’s unrealistic to expect them to relate to the character when the actor is fully grown into their body.

Glee by Ryan Murphy is about a high school musical theater class. It’s rated PG and again based in a high school. Rachel Berry was one of the most focused on characters in the show. She was also played by Lea Michele, who was twenty-two years old at the debut of the show. Rachel Berry was a Freshman coming into high school in episode one. 

When producing shows that are supposed to be entertaining to a certain audience, it’s important to know who your audience is. Television shows ten to twenty years ago did this by having actors play characters that were their age. They dressed the actors in clothes that were popular at the time, and made the characters they played relatable. Teenage dramas that are coming out now completely disregard this relatability and instead create unrealistic standards for how a person should look and be at a certain age.