Mixed Salad of Thoughts

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Why I don't watch much Television

Yesterday I was supposed to have lunch with one friend visiting from Sweden and one friend visiting from LA...both were essentially canceled. So instead I stayed home and prepared for the 9 house guests I'll be hosting this weekend. I left the TV on while I did laundry, mopped the kitchen floor, swept, vacuumed, etc. This is far more television than I normally watch.

Then, as it began getting late the prime-time shows came on. These are mostly the shows I often hear about in advertisements but never see until they're re-runs. I'm just rarely home when they're on and not interested enough to watch them online or download them.

Last night I watched an episode of the new "Beverly Hills 90210" (same as the old premise but more glam and possibly better acting)and an episode of "Privileged" (Twenty-something Yale graduate turned tutor/nanny for young, naive, and sexually adventurous high school aged trust fund babies). Both shows I found rather disturbing.

The 90210 I remember had a bunch of awkward rather clean cut teens, with Dillon as the one "bad boy" although honestly the "bad-ness" of him seemed to be his broken home and cool sideburns. It was centered on the sweet and idealized Midwestern family of the Walshes who were a loving nuclear family. Poor acting made it a little cheesy and less dramatic (which made it also more fantasy than reality). The new 90210 was full of young adult-acting teens with polished looks, expensive designer clothes, and all-access passes to the world of fashion, sex, and drugs. The one episode I watched dealt with drug addiction, sexual predation, racism, and jealousy. Perhaps it's my imagination, but I don't remember THAT much of the nastiness of the real world exerting it's influence on my generation's 90210.

"Privileged" has an uber-cute character, Megan the tutor, who is the perfect Mary Jane at its core, so how could it go wrong, right? We're going to be teaching good values and bringing these over-privileged children back onto the right track, right? I assumed that was the premise anyhow. This episode dealt with the younger girl (14?) trying to become more sexually capable by buying porn (defiantly saying that she's not a virgin anyhow). The well-meaning Megan feels it's necessary to say something to discourage this girl or say something was wrong with her beliefs but doesn't know what to say, so she does a bunch of research on porn, watches a bit of the girl's DVD and frets about her own sexual history. Meanwhile she contemplates whether or not she should sleep with the guy she's been seeing on their next date (their 4th). She decides she really likes this guy and is going to go through with it and then gets nervous at the last second and freezes up. Meanwhile she says nothing to the 14 year old but instead berates the young boyfriend when he comes over and demands to know if he really cares. (Eventually the girl realizes on her own that the guy doesn't really care and dumps him.)

The young girl solves things on her own while the Tutor waits to see if the guy she didn't sleep with will call back (we are led to assume that the reason he isn't calling is probably because she didn't sleep with him and she struggles to believe this was the right decision). He finally does and she rushes to his house to have sex with him.

I'm confused. Maybe it's just that I was expecting the "adult" to make the wiser choices and be the example for the younger characters?

I'm guessing the moral of this show was that if you're prudent it's okay to sleep with a guy on a FIFTH date? Or that if you don't sleep with a guy by the fourth date and he doesn't dump you, he's a keeper and NOW you should sleep with him (to keep from losing him)? Or that it's okay NOT to teach young girls about self-esteem and the repercussions of comparing your sexual experience with the unrealistic sexual portrayal in porn, because kids are smart these days and they'll figure it out themselves?

The show ended with a Public Service Announcement-type statement that One in Three girls becomes pregnant before the age of twenty.

Wait a minute...


HOLY CRAP! Where have I been living? Is this true?...so I did a little research:
When teens give birth, their future prospects and those of their children decline. Teen mothers are less likely to complete high school and more likely to live in poverty than other teens. Pregnant teens aged 15–19 years are less likely to receive prenatal care and gain appropriate weight and more likely to smoke than pregnant women aged 20 years or older. These factors are also associated with poor birth outcomes.

About one-third of girls in the United States get pregnant before age 20. In 2006, a total of 435,427 infants were born to mothers aged 15–19 years, a birth rate of 41.9 live births per 1,000 women in this age group. More than 80% of these births were unintended, meaning they occurred sooner than desired or were not wanted at any time. Although pregnancy and birth rates among girls aged 15–19 years have declined 34% since 1991, birth rates increased for the first time in 2006 (from 40.5 per 1,000 women in this age group in 2005 to 41.9 in 2006). It is too early to tell whether this increase is a trend or a one-time fluctuation in teen birth rates.

from the US Center for Disease Control




Yeah, I'm apparently naively living in another time.

No more television for me, it's going to give me nightmares.

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Blogger Angela said...

1. Pushing Daisies. Heroes. Lost. The Office. Those are pretty much my television staples (and Gossip Girl is a guilty pleasure).

2. Dude, I'm going to be 24 on Saturday, and I haven't even had SEX yet! WTF on all the pregnancies???

1:42 PM  

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