Hard to Kick the Habit
I have a weakness for shows like The O.C. (and previously Dawson’s Creek and even more previously My So Called Life) Some might call these shows “teen dramas” but I always thought that a bit degrading and incorrect to boot. I think these shows are more like adult comedies. Most of the writers are twenty/thirtysomething and bring that sense of humor and perspective of the world and pop culture to bear.
Someone at salon agrees:
It’s tough not to suspect that, as fun as these shows actually are to watch, they’re a lot more fun for the viewers in their 30s, whose cult references match those of the writers, than they are for actual teenagers. The Über Teen universe depicted therein is an echo of a certain generation, with all of its irony-masked self-consciousness and identity issues — struggles that aren’t likely to be quite so real for today’s kids, who appear to struggle far less with earnest, honest, straightforward communication than those who are charged with re-creating them for the small screen. Read a few pages of “A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius” or some short stories by Matthew Klam or a few essays by David Foster Wallace before watching one of these shows, and you’ll see the earliest tones of this deeply conflicted voice, this flinchy self with its desperate need to stand for something, but its utter inability to take on any of the risk or the naive taint or the vulnerability that naturally comes with standing for something.
TV teens are a reflection of an older generation’s chosen pose: snide, endlessly referential, self-conscious, and über-cool. Let’s just hope, for their own sakes, real teenagers are far cooler.
…ahem, not cooler than me mind you but at least “cool enough”.