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The Qualler Family Presents--Teen Drama Point/Counterpoint

Lately, we've been hearing quite a bit about The Secret Life of the American Teenager, and I started to wonder how it held up to other teen dramas. There has been quite a bit of buzz about this show, though it can't compare to two upcoming series--season two of Gossip Girl and the premiere of 90210, the follow-up to Beverly Hills 90210. Will the brand new series about a teenage pregnancy, the followup season to a brilliant "teen" drama, and the remake of an American teenage classic live up to the buzz and become (or, continue to be) viewing staples at the Qualler home? Well, we take our programs (or as I call them, our stories) quite seriously, so we sat down and had ourselves a point/counterpoint discussion.

Secret Life of the American Teenager--worth watching?

I'd kind of rather watch reruns of Gilmore Girls. Secret Life is basically just like 7th Heaven, only instead of being about a bunch of pseudo-interesting teenagers, it's about one teenager who would be totally uninteresting if she weren't preggers. The title is also misleading, since it implies that the series is about the American Teenager, in general, and yet it really only focuses on one teenager. Yes, there are other characters on the show, but they don't really seem all that important. Amy's the one with the secret life. It also looks at teenagers in a really bizarre make-believe town, which is small enough so that everyone knows everyone and local teenagers make the news, yet dangerous enough so that the kids can't go to the carnival unsupervised and high schoolers are sexually assaulted on the streets. And the acting is so wooden that I have a difficult time getting into the over-the-top plot twists which I would typically enjoy quite a bit. It's like I'm watching a high school production...I can't forget that these are actors, reciting lines they barely seem to understand, and so I can't come to care about any of the characters, even in an "I need my trashy television fix" sort of way.

I was all primed to talk about how I'd rather watch a television show shot in high-definition that is brand new on a weekly basis even if the said show is poorly written, highly illogical, and lame (Secret Life) than a rerun of a standard-definition show that is full of witty dialogue and semi-realistic characters (Gilmore Girls). But then I was reminded by this week's newest episode of how truly terrible, awful, and amazingly bad SLAT really is. Sorry, I got no counterpoint for you, Brigitte. (I do, however, love watching Steven Schrippa, last seen on television unsuccessfully buying a toy Blue Coment train on The Sopranos as the teenage Danny Tanner's father. And I do love how the characters throw in "or something" to the end of much of their dialogue...very J.D. Salinger-esque!) Now, why are we watching this instead of Mad Men or one of the many superb HBO documentaries from this summer? Remember when we both cried at the end of this week's We Are Together: The Children of Agape Choir? Yeah...me neither...

Gossip Girl--will the upcoming season be as good as the first?

Brigitte: Oh man, am I excited for this second season to get started! OMFG you guys! Will season two of Gossip Girl live up to the hype? This blogger certainly thinks that it will. Unlike SLAT, these are characters I care about, and the last season really went out with a pretty good set up for lots of drama. I can't wait to see how/when Blair will find out that Chuck is still Chuck, or if maybe Chuck will mend his ways for realz. I want to know what the future holds for Jenny, who is now the most terrific bitch on television since Julie Cooper. Mostly, I'm excited to see what Serena will wear this season. And, of couse, I hope she falls off the wagon again. Because I'm a terrible person--and Gossip Girl allows me to wallow in that terribleness and feel not only OK about it, but hip and just a little bit more fashionable. Blake Lively seems to be everywhere these days, and personally, I can't get enough. In fact, thanks to season one of Gossip Girl, I have the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants all ready to go on my DVR. I really feel that GG took that extra, trashy meets lots of money step that I so wanted other teen shows to take (The O.C. came close, but, at the end of the day, those were still just high schoolers).

Qualler: Yawn. Deep down, I never got too excited about season one of Gossip Girl and at this point I'm not terribly excited about the second season. What second season of a hip teen drama in the past five years has ever been as good as the first? The O.C. was tremendously worse in season two than season one (although still good on a guilty pleasure level). But if I wanted to watch a bunch of prima donnas run around in fancy, overpriced clothes, I'd watch my new favorite reality show, Hard Knocks: Training Camp with the Dallas Cowboys! Seriously, though, I don't care about any of the characters as people (Blake Liveley's Serena is a total snoozefest), the dialogue is totally forgettable, and despite Chuck being cool, one cool, sorta-evil, androgynous fashionster (it's a word because I say it is!) does not save a series. While you gals watch Gossip Girl, I'll be probably practicing my Men's Gymnastics skills, showing off my brute strength to beat up weenies like that Dan guy from GG.

Tori Spelling left off the cast of the new 90210--good or bad?

Brigitte: Good riddance to bad rubbish, I say! Who cares about Donna Martin? Honestly, she shouldn't have even lasted the entire series the first time around. She was really a boring character. Even when her side-plot lines got dicey, she was still boring. Of all the characters who came and went, I was never really all that thrilled that Donna stuck around. And in the last episode of the original series, she marries David, which basically demonstrates how, in the ten year run of the show, her character didn't really develop at all. And what would she be up to today? Who cares. She's probably living as a housewife in Beverly Hills, minus the affairs and the drinking. Who wants to watch that?

Qualler: ...Only the many regular viewers of The Real Houswives of Orange County, Brigitte! Leaving Tori Spelling out is BAD! First off, all of this "Wah wah everyone hates Tori Spelling she's a horse face no talent blah blah blah" business has just gots to stop. Everyone knows Tori's, erm, "developing" acting skills in the first few seasons of the original 90210 were wicked great counterpoints to Shannon Doherty's pouty looks and Jason Priestley's holier-than-thou monologues. Second of all, hearing that she will not be on the show due to "pay" reasons completely destroys my illusions of an all-encompassing 90210 universe. If I want to watch a new 90210, I need to see what the original characters are doing -- is Donna still around to support her friends? Will Donna, Brenda, and Kelly still be BFFFs (yeah, I saw Pineapple Express)? Is Jim Walsh still a sensible dad and likely a sensible grandpa now? -- and learning that why certain characters will or will not appear on the show due to money in this world is crushing to my illusion of a living, breathing, alternate universe of 90210. Like Jennie Garth, I am "bummed."

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  1. Blogger Brigitte | 10:32 AM |  

    It's sort of too bad that neither of us could find a pro about SLAT...has anyone else been watching this? anyone have anything good to say about it?

  2. Blogger chris | 1:26 PM |  

    Haha it's quite impressive that you guys keep watching that. I really have zero desire to see any more of that show than the 2.5 episodes I stayed awake for. It was a prime guilty pleasure at first, but it just got soooo dull.

    I'm on the fence about GG -- a part of me still loves it but so much of the drama was anticlimactic in the first season. I was so excited for things to go incredibly insane, but nothing really did, and really the devilish smirks and vacant catfight scowls are the only thing I've remembered about the show. (Still gonna watch it.)

    90210 could take or leave Donna Martin. As long as Brenda has an arc, they go to Nat's new coffee shop, and Kelly's a mainstay, it has mucho potential. No Steve is too bad though! Those boys are going to need someone besides Nat to look up to!

  3. Blogger Brigitte | 1:30 PM |  

    i agree, chris--i'd much rather see steve in this new 90210 series than donna. steve was great! what a scamp. he's probably getting pretty old though...

  4. Blogger Lady Amy | 2:21 PM |  

    I want to see Dylan in the new series. Not Brandon though. He was a jerk - and have you SEEN Jason Presley lately??! Yuck! No one wants that on TV.

  5. Blogger qualler | 2:22 PM |  

    Good point, Chris -- who is Michael going to look up to when there's inevitably going to be some drinking and driving? Seems like Nat is just a little creepy old to do that at this point. A 35-40 year old Steve would have just the sage advice for a high schooler in that situation!

  6. Blogger Lady Amy | 2:22 PM |  

    Also, I lost interest in SLAT after the first episode. It doesn't have enough drama to actually sustain it.

  7. Anonymous Dan | 4:07 PM |  

    But it's not SLAT, it's TSLOTAT. Come on, that's way more fun to say!

  8. Blogger Brigitte | 4:37 PM |  

    i like calling it slat, because that sounds like slut, and that's what she is! a little slut!

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