Monday, November 21, 2011

My Favorite Guilty Pleasure

I admit it, I watch horrible TV. I have been caught up in a vampire drama that is really terrible. But can I stop watching? NO! Why? Because as terrible as it is, it's freaking awesome. Today I will explore the complex and homogenous world of the teen drama. The most popular offenders of the teen drama are the CW and ABC Family. These two networks host a vampire ménage series, a series about girls who kill their friends, a show about “real life” American teenagers who get pregnant in high school and bounce through more sexual partners than last month’s Hustler center fold, a new offering about girls switched at birth who, for some strange reason, have to switch back sixteen years later, a show about a girl who’s part cat, a show about a circle of witches who make Dynasty look wholesome, and a series about a girl getting teased on Facebook. Basically take your high school experience, get it addicted to meth, turn the camera on, and watch the fun happen.

Every one of these shows follow a set of preordained rules. I thought about doing hours of research by watching episodes of each one of these stellar examples of why our country is going to hell in a hand basket, but I think if I did that my brain would resemble that of a cockroach, so instead I'm going to use The Vampire Diaries as an example. That's the only teen drama I watch. At least that's the only one I'll admit to watching. 

You're parents don't care about you,
but I do. I'm the only one who
loves you. I'm just gonna stand here
and watch you recuperate.
Rule One: Teen dramas have to take place in small towns completely void of parental supervision. I’m not kidding. Except for the town sheriff, teachers, and a few people they throw in as cannon fodder, these towns are home to a population of horny high school students. During the first half of the first season of Vampire Diaries, the high school super slut is attacked by a vicious vampire and hospitalized. Kids get mortally wounded all the damn time on VD (no, not venereal disease, though that would apply, VD is short for Vampire Diaries for the sake of this post). The friends, police, and teachers all show up at the hospital to offer their support and comfort, but do the parents? No, they’re always off yachting or skiing or something. When the kid recovers, usually by the middle of the next episode, the hospital staff have absolutely no problem releasing a minor into the custody of their minor friends. If a hospital did that in real life there would be a lawsuit, a big one, with cameras, Nancy Grace, and hundreds of Facebook support groups.

Seriously Bonnie, it's not worth stroking out.
They sell laxatives at Wal-Mart.
Rule Two: All the girls have Irritable Bowel Syndrome. The young ladies of Mystic Falls, VA have not had a bowel movement in five years. Every single girl in this town must be living on a diet of red meat and cheese because they all look constipated. They walk around trying to make you think their lives have fallen into some sort of epic tailspin when really they just need a box of Ex-Lax and some private time on the throne with this month’s issue of Cosmo.

Rule Three: Inappropriate love is A-Okay. The sexy super slut is in love with the much younger geeky brother of her best frenemy (HOLY CRAP! I just said frenemy. Please kill me now). The vampire is in love with his vampire brother’s girlfriend who also happens to be the doppelganger of the woman who broke both their hearts a hundred and fifty years ago and is now being hunted by a super vamp because her blood is the only thing that will create vampire werewolf hybrids. The completely clueless aunt is in love with the vampire hunter who is also the ex of the woman he thought was dead but really just turned vampire who secretly gave birth to the aunt's niece. These relationships NEVER would have happened if they’d gone through Eharmony. Eharmony makes sure the vamps stay with the vamps, the rich stay with the rich, and the pathetic are fed on by whichever vampire or werewolf happens to be passing through town.

Rule Four: Small town middle of nowhere is party central. Mystic Falls, VA has more town festivals than Dionysus Month on Olympus. Every freaking week this town has some sort of party. A charity car wash where ALL the kids from school show up to help. A salmon supper. A debutantes ball. A salute to the mayor. A pancake breakfast. A founder’s day celebration. A carnival. A charity auction to benefit those victimized by the horrible infestation of saber toothed crotch crickets. You name it, if it can be slapped on a banner and stretched across Main Street they’ll throw a party for it. I grew up in a small town and they had two parties a year. After watching VD I feel kind of cheated. I never got invited to a memorial dinner honoring the glorious dead of the Boxer Rebellion.

Tyler Lockwood, seventeen, taking his monogrammed
flask his parents sent him for Christmas out for a
test drive.
Rule Five: Underage drinking laws? What’s that? K, so I’m indulging in my guilty pleasure and I see a fifteen year old kid holding a glass of twelve year old scotch talking to the town sheriff!! Naturally, he was at the mayor’s house attending a party because the mayor just got killed or something and there he is all hey-how’re-ya-doin’ with the sheriff and a glass of Chivas. They’re chatting about the troubles the town’s been having with animal attacks and people going missing. Uh, just a thought, maybe if  your town wasn't being “protected” by a group of drunk, horny high school seniors and blood thirsty vampires your crime rate would level out. Just a thought.

Why do I keep watching this ridiculous show? For the same reason 83 million people showed up to find out who shot J. R., people love the extreme. They love to sit down at night and watch a TV program where they can honestly say, “I’m glad my life isn’t that screwed up.” You could be manufacturing meth and selling it to toddlers, but TV will always be there to make you feel normal.


  1. LMFFAO - VD is my guilty pleasure too! This post has me in tears I'm laughing so hard. My tot just said "Mommy, what are you laughing at?" And your formula sure seems tried and true.

  2. I can't watch these shows. and fuck don't get me started on those teen pregnancy shows. I feel like saying "Morons!, I'm surrounded by Morons!"

  3. This was a great post, Katie. Now that you made me stop and think, I never really paid attention to all that is wrong with the show. But I love it! I love to sit down and let my mind go, and maybe think of ways to make things better and include similar stuff to my own writing. Thanks for sharing this with us!

  4. This show could give writers hope....or force them to just give up now. I am not known for my grasp on reality or logic, but dang- I want to meet those whack job writers!!!9

  5. #2 Had me rolling and tears flowin!! OMG. I have not watched VD but now I must tune in!!!

    Cheers, Jenn

  6. I gotta tell ya, I've not seen any of those shows and now, have no desire or even curiosity about them! LOL Great post.