Kids on TV

About a week before the new season of Heroes started, I spent an excruciating two days catching up on season two. After 11 episodes of Maya crying while black s**t spilled out of her eyes and Peter training for his fight against Apollo Creed at the Philadelphia Spectrum, I found I also had black s**t spilling out of my eyes, except it was red, and it was blood… anyway…

Heroes fans know that after moving to Costa Verde, Claire was major bummed because her dad was all like, “Hey Claire-Bear, go to school and don’t talk to anyone or join the cheerleading squad and, like, live in a box or something.” Then he sat there looking all weird in his glasses while cleaning another pair of glasses. Claire was having none of it, and joined the squad anyway. That is, she wanted to join, until she met Debbie, who, like most cheerleaders we knew in high school, walks around with a 40 in her hand bossing around all the other cheerleaders.

This got me thinking, why is it that television writers are totally unable to write believable teenage dialogue, or put their characters in believable situations? Join me, won’t you?

1. The actors playing the parts.

I think a lot of it stems from the fact that everybody on TV playing a high school kid is, in fact, 25+. So, when you see the big, black guy say, “Hey man! You don’t want to get a detention, do ‘ya?”, then scratch his five o’clock shadow, you don’t believe it.

2. What they’re doing, i.e., cheerleaders and 40s.

“HA! Get it? 137? Now go draw on HER forehead, and pee on her, skank.”


“I don’t have TIME for this, Claire. Can’t you see how high I am?”

I couldn’t settle on a picture, so I used both. Look, cheerleaders don’t wear their uniforms to school everyday, or go out after dark. Football jocks don’t walk around tossing footballs in the air and talking about their letter-jackets all day. Wiggers don’t wear goggles or look like Seth Green. Real kids sit around talking about how their parents don’t understand them and smoking crystal meth.

3. Porn.

No matter how bad things get on TV or in movies, they’re a million times worse in porn, where any pretense of realism is thrown completely out the window. Take a scene from the movie, Island of Lesbos, where a Greek foreign exchange student gets stuck in detention, alone, with a teacher who can’t stop rubbing her thighs for some reason.

Teacher: What is it about you that the girls love so much?

Adonis: It must be my, “Mount Olympus,” tee-shar.

Teacher: Oooh. (more thigh rubbing) Let’s see it.

Adonis: Oh no, tee-shar. I don’t wan’ to “call down the thunder.” I’ll get in trouble.

Why does he have a Spanish accent? Anyway, it goes from there. To be fair, porn is never held to the same standard as mainstream movies and television for one very obvious reason: foreign exchange student usually get away with a lot more than American kids. Are we going to see an end to this anytime soon? Probably not, unless they bring back My So-Called Life, or Clarissa Explains It All. I DID spend a lot of time as a kid designing video games where I put my brother in a chair tied to balloons so he’d float away.


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