No More Teen Shows
By Rupita Bhattacharya
There was a phase when teen sitcoms were my world. I am soaked up to thinking about these characters, stories, next twists and the main bone of contention was- ships; which ship should end up together. Pretty Little Liars, The Vampire Diaries, Gossip Girl, Screams, Awkward, That 70’s Show, Hannah Montana, Lizzie McGuire you name it and I have seen it all. Presently I am watching The Vampire Diaries, Pretty Little liars and Screams, out of which The Vampire Diaries has ended 3 days ago after the successful stint of 8 years and Pretty Little Liars is about to end soon in April. Earlier whenever any show is on the verge of ending then my first instinct used to be to look for the new sitcoms which usually contains the ingredient of these sugary and spicy teen dramas. But off late things are different as already mentioned that two of my favorite shows are soon going to end but I am not sad anymore neither I am looking for new glamorous stereotype high-school goer characters instead of that I’ve start watching Dexter and Orphan Black. Yes! the choices have changed as I finally understood that I have matured and comprehend the purpose behind various elements of teen dramas.
The first and foremost reason behind the moving away from teen dramas is the obvious fact that I am not a teen anymore who could connect with teenage/grown up turmoil and dilemmas because I have passed that stage with flying colors. There is not any boy drama, peer pressure, fear of conformity from society or career confusion in my life because these issues are passé and new complications are waiting for me ahead. Hence, new stage?-?new shows. After growing up with these shows I’ve understood that these teen dramas follows certain conventions and stereotypes (not that I didn’t enjoy) which are unrealistic and dramatic. You will find the same “pattern” in every youth show. This repetitive patterns make a show very predictable and being an adult now I can clearly see that where can a show proceeds further. There is always a stereotypes for female characters such as bubbly and bimbo cheerleaders, arrogant and popular queen bee, simple, sweet and supportive girl next door (often the female lead), loner (who is different than the rest and breaks the stereotypes) so on and so forth. The list is endless because stereotypes are not confined to female characters but extend towards the male characters, set up and circumstances of given characters. Now whenever I come across any of above-mentioned screenplays, all I can feel is disinterest and a sense of closure thinking that chapter has ended and now its time to move forward in life.
Enough of my emotional rant, let’s understand the technical and writing aspect of these shows. Over the years what I ‘ve observed no matter how emotionally powerful and intriguing a script is if it runs long enough to exceed the basic plot then it become stagnant. Latest example would be Pretty Little Liars and The Vampire Diaries where once the show reaches that targeted point of conclusion then the downfall of these series has started. In Pretty Little Liars,when Big A has revealed in S6A as Cece/ Charlotte/Charles which was ( in my opinion) was neither shocking nor any of past secrets, timelines and acts of various characters has connected with the revelation itself. Not only this, the seasons later followed i.e. 6B and 7A have lost its mystery aspect and show become all about ships mainly Haleb vs Spaleb. Same in the case of The Vampire Diaries, once the love triangle of Stefen-Elena-Damon has almost come to its resolution because that love triangle was at the core of the story, the story since then has gone haywire and all over the places. The story has started messing up from season 4 itself but still, there was consistency but the season followed after that has literally doesn’t make any sense. It was anything but a Vampire show as from season 5 onwards, the audience has witnessed the every supernatural creature making its way into the series without any major build up and soon vanishes into the thin air such as doppelgangers, travelers, siphens, sirens and lastly the master of hell. The villain doesn’t have any real impact what they used to be in the times of Katherine and Klaus ( Season 1-2) because Katherine and Klaus has introduced after a major build up and stayed for whole season but rest of the villains has come in short span of time and their narrative has ended very quickly before serving their real motive. Being the romance at its core, the major ships of The Vampire Diaries after the epic love triangle was Steroline and Bonenzo which failed to create any magic due to inconsistency and out of the blue romance. Hence, none of the narratives and storylines were fascinating or rather luring the audience to watch the show. Therefore, the result was the sloppy, boring and repetitive storyline. The Vampire Diaries has just ended 3 days ago i.e. 10th March 2017. Though I am sad, but happy also as nothing was left to explore in the show but the finale was again a rushed episode but at least they managed to show every important character and their closure in the final episode. Now it’s the turn of Pretty Little Liars to wrap its every plot in the final 10 episodes.
Above descriptions are merely the glimpse of my observance, if I actually start recounting screenplay of each and every series that I saw, then I have to write a thesis which definitely I don’t want to as this goodbye is the last goodbye. Although I am feeling a little bit empty but I know that there is a sea of some actual great shows which are worth watching not only for the entertainment but also to understanding what real good writing is.
Yes! The choices have changed as I finally understood that I have matured and comprehend the purpose behind various elements of teen dramas.