I have a problem with adults playing teens on TV

I really take issue with the fact that adults so often play teenagers in television and film. The fact that many adult actors are playing high school students is really a secret, but it's concerning to me.
I'm going to use the first season of Friday Night Lights for my examples (just warning you), and although I seriously love this show, I am concerned about the age of the actors portraying such young teens.

My issue: When adults in their 20's play teenagers (sometimes 10 or more years their junior) I feel that the impact of the topics covered is greatly lessened. Furthermore, I think that some of these topics are not realistic for real teens, and when young people see these topics covered, they will feel that they too can handle these adult circumstances.

My examples:
1) High School Senior Lyla and her handicapped boyfriend Jason (also Gr. 12) get engaged
2) Tim Riggins (Gr. 12) lives alone with his older brother, and they both drink constantly (in my opinion, they're both alcoholics)
3) All the high school students are shown drinking at parties, with seemingly little consequence, even the "good kids".

4) Sophmore (Gr. 10) Matt lives alone with his elderly Grandmother, and takes on the responsibility of household chores, cooking, care of his G-ma, along with being Quaterback and student (with seemingly little assistance from anyone else).
5) Tyra picks her sister up from a strip club (she's never carded) and is always picking up the pieces at home with her self-destructive mother. Authorities are never involved to ensure that Tyra is in a safe home.
6) Finally, to me the most disturbing, Tim Riggins, a 17-year-old minor, has a sexual relationship with a woman who is in her 30's. He also plays a father figure to her 9-year-old son. Not once does the show imply that this woman is seducing or raping (having sex with a minor is statutory rape) this young boy.
Again, I'm not saying that we shouldn't watch these shows, because I watched FNL and want to watch Season 2 now. All I'm saying is that we should think about what we watch. Why does TV have teenagers deal with such adult issues? Obviously, it makes a good story and appeals to a wider audience. But, it concerns me when I see a young boy having sex with a middle-aged woman, and I wonder why nobody gets riled up about it.

Maybe because the young boy looks like this:
Have you ever thought about this before?


  1. so true! we always laugh at how old the people in tv and film look. in highschool me and my girlfriends were like "um, how come our guys have pimples are are scrawny and the tv guys are babes? oh yeah, because they're 30!".
    It does set a hard act for follow for teens, who are already trying to be older than they are.
    One thing though - the parties where everyone is drinking is completely legitimate for my highschool experience. from grade 9 onward, every.single.classmate of mine drank. the "good kids" the nerdy kids, the "bad kids", the Christians, etc. It's very realistic. Bad, but absolutely realistic.

  2. Very true! I think the young male - female teacher thing is really a double standard. If a high school girl was portrayed as having an affair with a male teacher, people would be more likely to see it as abusive.

    I didn't drink in high school (not because of values, but because I had no interest) and neither did most of my friends. I honestly didn't know how to get booze as an underage person. While we weren't the coolest kids in school, we also weren't ostracized. I'm sure people did drink, but it wasn't over-arching like it is on TV, with raging parties, etc. I don't recall ever hearing about an out-of-control house party like in the movies. Maybe because we lived in the kind of area where neighbours are really nosy and sure to call the cops??

  3. It is so true. I have never seen the show Glee but, it probably is the same. In my High School years I watched Beverly Hills 90210. Yes, it wasn't the best show and almost everyone was "easy on the eyes" but, it did have topics that I dealt with or people I knew dealt with in school. I think now tv has gotten SO out of control. I have young kids and you should see what they try to pawn off as "viewing for kids". It is awful! Thank you for the insightful post!



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