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You know you love ’90s show, xoxo, Gossip Girl

Posted By Diana Burmistrovich On March 25, 2009 @ 12:15 am In Arts and Entertainment | No Comments

Spotted: blonde bombshell Topanga Lawrence having a heart-to-heart with principal of school, Mr. Feeny. Could this relationship be blossoming like the flowers in Mr. Feeny’s garden?
During the ‘Ëœ90s, plot lines like those of Gossip Girl would have been risqué in shows like Boy Meets World and The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, but since then, television shows have progressed from wholesome discussions of taboo topics to over-sexualized and raunchy depictions.

Although drawing from the same age group (approximately 13-18), these new shows have significantly changed what they expose to the public, proving that as society changes, the media changes. Topics like sex, homosexuality, and drug use have become less sheltered within the media and more available in television shows.

The drastic change in what was and wasn’t “okay on television is described perfectly in an ancient episode of Will and Grace. Jack, an openly gay character, protested when a popular soap opera censored a kissing scene between two men, but now, recent shows like A Double Shot at Love with Tila Tequila use the adage “sex sells to promote an interest in LGBT topics.

The quintessential show of the late ‘Ëœ80′s and ‘Ëœ90s, Full House, focused on sugarcoated, light themes that were nowhere near as daring as the family relations portrayed in such shows as today’s Gossip Girl and One Tree Hill.

The most dramatic situation that ever challenged the Turner family on Full House occurred when Stephanie accidentally cut off Uncle Jesse’s mullet, whereas family problems of today’s shows extend all the way to sleeping with your mother’s boyfriend’s son slash stepbrother. Oops.
Recent shows like Gossip Girl have created a cult following among the teenage demographic, with the highest viewed episode, “The Dark Night, reaching up to 3.7 million viewers.
The episode in question puts a skewed view on relationships: former rich boy Nate Archibald must choose between a loaded cougar and a Brooklyn teen.

This scenario seems comparable to Sex and the City, a show rated TV-MA (mature audience) by FCC standards. Gossip Girl, however, is rated TV-14, and is directed to the high school crowd.
Then there’s another motif that so seamlessly weaves into the show it starts to feel like a norm: underage drinking. In reality, this topic is not often discussed in a positive light and is usually shunned entirely.

The fact that the leading stars hang out at bars rather than apply to college (how enticing would an episode of them sweating away at college applications and trying to figure out collegeboard.com be?) makes it seem nonchalant and approachable.

It could be that since we are almost done with high school, we think, “Wow, did I miss the memo about making a guerilla fashion show or getting an invite to a secret society with prostitutes and some of the most influential members of Wall Street? Where was this during my senior year? Today’s teen-targeted shows have altered the ideal image of how to live, where to go, and how to act.

‘ËœTween and teen dramas have been around for literally as long as I can remember (I’m a ‘Ëœ91er and Beverly Hill, 90210 first premiered in 1990) and the drama factor certainly hasn’t wavered much. There will always be the stereotypical characters in each show “living the life for your enjoyment.

Unfortunately, television shows such as these use reverse psychology to raise awareness. Luckily, we have been able to suspend our disbelief temporarily throughout the years to enjoy this variety of questionable television.

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URLs in this post:

[1] Whatever happened to “family friendly?”: http://www.denebolaonline.net/2009/11/25/whatever-happened-to-%e2%80%9cfamily-friendly%e2%80%9d/

[2] TV networks kick off fall season: http://www.denebolaonline.net/2010/09/30/tv-networks-kick-off-fall-season/

[3] Media loses focus in election coverage: http://www.denebolaonline.net/2008/10/29/media-loses-focus-in-election-coverage/

[4] Newspapers are old news: http://www.denebolaonline.net/2008/11/26/newspapers-are-old-news/

[5] Writers return to work: http://www.denebolaonline.net/2008/03/19/writers-return-to-work/

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