You Can Blame Your Insecurities On The Mega Fail That Is TV’s Casting Of Fake ‘Teens’
For as long as the high school teen TV genre has existed, on-screen ‘teenagers’ have been played by actors in their early to mid-late 20s. Ergo, everything is a lie.
TV ‘teens’ are basically a far more developed and put-together version of what we should all expect to look like in high school. In reality, they’re older, they’re sporting professional hair and makeup and they’re actors soooo…they’re almost unanimously very very ‘good looking’ (according to western stereotypes at least).
Unrealistic expectations can run rife when you’re stuck into binge-watching The O.C. and hoping to meet a Ryan-esque man-child somewhere within your high school bubble.
*Spoiler Alert* he ain’t there. That’s because he’s a 28-year-old who only exists in a fantasy land where age is no matter.
As a pimply awkward teen, we’re especially vulnerable to this. We’re desperately seeking to fit in with what we perceive as the norm. So, it’s no surprise that these shows fuel our unfulfillment in a desperate pursuit of seeking these post-pubescentecent, very-adult, perfectly sculpted and scripted babes. Cue rejection, feelings of not being good enough and all round insecurity. FML we never stood a chance.
Let’s take a stroll down memory lane to remember all of the ‘teen’ shows that are to blame for our unrealistic expectations of what a high schooler should look like. Regardless, we’d binge’em all over again (and probably will over the new year break).
Buffy The Vampire Slayer (1997-2003)
In season one, Buffy Summers (AKA Sarah Michelle Geller) was 20 and Alyson Hannigan (AKA Buffy’s BFF) was 23. Soooo no wukkahs if you felt like, by comparison, puberty was just holding out on you. By the final season, Buffy was 25 and her m8 was 28.
Don’t be too surprised – this is far from the worst attempt. Needless to say that the duo was far from their real teen years.
Dawson’s Creek (1998-2003)
More fake teens! By graduation day, Dawson (James Van der Beek) and Pacey (Joshua Jackson) were 24, Katie Holmes was 23, and Michelle Williams comes out on top at 21.
Freaks n Geeks (1999-2000)
Just a gang of misfit 16-year-olds ammirite! Nah actually quite wrong.
We’ve got Linda Cardellini (Lindsay) at 24, Jason segel at 19, Busy Phillips (Kim Kelly) at 20, James Franco at 21 and little Seth Rogen coming close to home at 17. All post-pubescent and way cooler than your friends. That cast tho.
At least this guy was a 14-year-old playing a 14-year-old:
One Tree Hill (2003-2012)
Most of the teen cast was in their early 20s when the series started so that might explain why you looked nothing like them. Also, they are very hot actors hey.
P.S. Brooke was still the best character.
The O.C. (2003-2007)
Except for Mischa Barton – who would have been 17 when The O.C. kicked off, everyone was pretty much in their mid-20s. Ben McKenzie would have been 25 when he first appeared as bad boy Ryan Atwood so that explains a lot. After 5 years they were mostly hitting their early 30’s and trying to pull off school students. How’s that for casting unrealistic expections.
Blue Water High (2005-2008)
There were actually a few 16-year-olds playing 16-year-olds on good-ol’ Blue Water High. There were also some 22-year-olds as well though so it’s really no exception to the rule.
Although they mostly sported the ‘natural’ look which helped them look young enough at least.
H2O Just Add Water (2006-2010)
Aussies represent! All three mermaids were (late) teens when this show started so three gold stars to this fuckin’ gr8 show.
However, they make our list because they made us very sad that we weren’t super adorable mermaids with special powers. The unfulfillment is too real.
*I’m no ordinary gi-i-irl*
Skins was one of few shows that had teens that actually looked like legitimate teens on the show. Effy (Kaya Scodelario) was 15 when she was first on the show and Nicholas Hoult (Tony) was only 18.
The teens were doing some pretty fucked up things but at least they were teens.
Gossip Girl (2007-2012)
The GG crew wasn’t just setting unrealistic expectations because they were all in their early 20s and ridiculously good-looking, they were also ridiculously made up and overdressed for high school.
Their version of ‘uniforms’ was perhaps the most unreal thing on the show next to the idea that anyone actually ‘liked’ Serena (FYI She’s the worst).
More crazy hot ‘teens’, all starting the show in their late late teens or early 20’s.
If you are ever wondering why you can’t see hotties like Liam (Matt Lanter) hanging about high school it’s probably because he was 25 when he started playing the ‘teen’ and he looks his age.
Also see: Trevor Donovan playing 16-year-old Teddy when he was already 30. No wonder you felt inferior cast against these human adults.
Vampire Diaries (2009-2017)
Alright I know Stefan is a vampire and all but who is buying that he is perennially 17 when he was 27 when the show began. I mean, c’mon. He’s now 35 years old!
At least everyone else is in there early to mid-20’s, which is suddenly looking pretty good in comparison.
Pretty Little Liars (2010-2017)
Honouring the true CW spirit, everyone on PLL looks impeccably made-up and ready for their close-up any time, any place. Aaaaaand the liars were all between 21 and 25 when they started the show. That puts them starting to hit their mid-30’s.
Except for sweet little Alison played by Sasha Pieterse who was 14 when the show started. Bless her.
13 Reasons Why (2017)
While the cast of teens was still played by actors mostly in their early 20’s, 13 Reasons Why defs goes against the norm by showing kids who actually look like they could be in high school. They’re not overly dolled-up, or beefed up, or anything. They’re actually pretty believable as teens.*
*Except for Tony who was a rogue 26-er.
Riverdale definitely has that everybody-is-super-good-looking thing going for it but at least most of the characters are quite believable as high schoolers (even though they’re mostly in their early 20’s).
Even Cole Sprouse at 25 and Ashleigh Murray (AKA Josie of the pussycats) at 29 are somehow getting away with it.
But at the end of the day, these aren’t real teens going to real high schools so take comfort in that.