There are numerous television shows today which are supposed to portray an American teenager's daily life. However, these shows rarely depict a normal teeenager or, for that matter, a normal high school community.
A new show on ABC, My So-Called Life is the story of Angela, a sophomore in high school. On a recent episode, two friends were talking in the hall for almost ten mintues. A typical procedure among high school students is to talk, right? Yes, but not for ten minutes. On a normal day, if I'm not rushing from class to class, I at least have a hall pass so as not to be late. On the same episode, a girl named Shannon was practicing clarinet (alone) in an empty band room. Her boyfriend walked in and the two talk about their relationship, and kiss. The bell rings at least twice during the scene. If this show was truly portraying a typical high school day, then why would the two students be alone in a band room, and why would they just sit there when the bell rings?
Another television show, Beverly Hills, 90210, is now in its fifth season. When the show first began, the characters were in high school. Again, school bells and hall passes meant nothing to these "students." Besides that, the plots were always a little mature for high shool students to handle. On the whole, not very realistic.
Yet another television show which is supposed to characterize a typical high school is Saved by the Bell. On many episodes the students are able to get away with anything they want. Their close mutal friendship with the principal is what really assisits in these antics. Things that would usually depend on budgets and parents' permission are automatically entered into the school's curriculum. This show is definitely NOT the equivalent of an actual high school.
Speaking as a teenaged high school student, I would not want my parents watching these shows and thinking that this was what my school was like. Not only would they probably send me to a private school, but they would probably call every parent they know. True, some of the problems these programs addresss are real problems in today's schools, but they aren't as dramatic as these shows make them seem.
The majority of television shows that are meant to depict today's high schools are not doing the job. These shows are sending future students false ideas about today's high school communitites. ?
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.