Soaps of yester year
I can remember watching Soap Operas with my mother. Want to talk about trash then that's what you should watch. These shows were on when children and teens were at school because these shows were not deemed suitable for this group. Enter the night time soaps. Again these were put on at a time when kids and teens may be home but should either be in bed or mom and dad are watching these out of view. Yes I watched them. I was raised on them because I got addicted, and not to the characters, but to the injustice and stupidity of them, get you hooked and boy did they. However I was and outdoorsy kid and I spent the majority of my freedom from school and chores outside with my friends. Then middle school and high school sent me and my outdoor junkies to the couch. Homework, later arrivals at home, book reports (which meant reading), and soon it was too dark to be allowed outside to play, maybe not always for me but you try and schedule around not only your homework but your buddies.
Enter video games, the internet was becoming a new addiction, hell I fell in love with meeting strangers, people who had the time to spend conversing with when friends couldn't and family didn't understand. I made many friends, I was smart about it, I always used a fake name, never gave out the phone number or address, didn't send pictures, no virtual sex nadda, just conversation. These were even more media explosions that took me indoors instead of out.
I use to come home and ask my mom what the skinny was on the soaps, she'd tell me about the stories I asked and the stories she knew I actually cared to follow because they aired while I was school and Soapnet didn't exist yet... well at least we didn't have the channel yet if it did so if you missed it you missed it. I remember at some point the times changed, they were on later in the day, late enough for any elementary school child to catch them when mom and dad or the babysitter weren't paying attention. New Soaps started airing, night time soaps, mid afternoon soaps, all geared at... you guessed it my generation. The older staple soaps brought in Highschoolers, not just seniors but freshmen, they always had the token teen or child on these things but now they were given actual story lines, that spanned months and years even. Cue the entrance of skewed views on life.
Image. All were skinny, prissy, and of course still smart though they do really STUPID things, the guys were always tough and just enough bad boy for everyones fantasy, think the stereotypical perfect guy and girl. Then you add in the token nerd, the token bitch, the token ass, and of course the token push over. Everyone knows the token nerd has to morph into lil miss/mister perfect, always glasses, always dull hair, bad fashion sense, remove the glasses, play with the hair and makeup, and of course new wardrobe and bam the nerd goes from being made fun of to dating Mr./Mrs. Perfect. The nerd, we'll call them the Swan from now on since we all know the ugly duckling, is no one of the perfects, they sink to the same lows as the bullies did and now their brains take the back seat as they begin to do things they have always known better about before they became swans.
Message: Become popular and you can have it all. However, being a soap opera they have now reeled in the younger crowd. Now it is boring. They think our crowd is growing up, but sadly in the past year we have covered maybe 2 weeks of these characters lives. Naturally you age them. Now we have a world where they refrain from saying the characters age, why? Because then no one will get caught up on the technicalities. This has made soap operas, things you can watch your whole life and still go wtf? Didn't he/she die? Isn't he/she older/younger than her/him? And of course, but she slept with him last year how is she just now finding out she's pregnant with his kid and not showing? She's been pregnant a long time? She just found out last month and now she's in labor?
When you lose your time line, you rewrite history and lose your viewers. Or at least the ones who have followed for years upon years.
This was where it started. Soaps began making it cool to sleep around, bully, black mail, and judge. Then enter 90210.
An established show (the ORIGINAL) for many years, I watch it now and don't understand why I continued. Again SOAPNET reruns the old stuff. The occasional moral, rape is bad, alcohol is bad, drugs are bad, smoking is bad, unprotected sex is bad, teen pregnancy is bad... and so on. The messages were there but glossed over and of course spun.
Teen Pregnancy: List the shows where the nerdy/unpopular/loner whatever that is the token brains or morality of the group of main characters, lets use Andrea, because she was that in 90210. While the rest of West Beverly is sleeping around, doing drugs, drinking, lying to mom and dad, Andrea is making the grade, but of course, she sleeps with a guy, an older one, and she is knocked up. Not the rest of the slutty cast but the goody goody who lived a little., gossip ensues and suddenly she's a slut... even though everyone else has slept with at least 3x the amount of people.
Rape: It's always the slutty/immoral character who gets raped. This is done so fans can feel bad for these characters, essentially it gives them a clean slate. Rape is bad no matter who the victim is but these shows use this girl so gossip can start and she can feel bad about her past slutty/immoral ways.
Abstinence: Donna and David. As people said about Britney Spears, no virgin would dress and move and tease like that but when in the situation with a boyfriend or someone with a crush that they may or may not know about, suddenly they are shy and demure... All virgins are not cold fish. All virgins don't dress like they are fashionably challenged. MAJORITY: of high school virgins and by virgins I mean true virgins don't flash their body that way. Yes there are those who do so but they aren't just virgins, they are known as teases, usually the virgins who dress like Donna, lie about being a virgin, and they tease. But again on these shows the virgin loses it, the virgin sluts around and again it is still the goody goody/brainiac the token more real than Hollywood character only has to have sex once.
STD: I'm going back to Soaps. Robin. General Hospital. Stone. For some reason they gave Robin HIV. Another good girl who fell for a once upon a time screw up and her whole life is messed up. Groundbreaking, I remember it was said she was one of the first characters given HIV and still a main character, usually this person was a newbie, not a star of a show, their story was all about this and then they are gone. Robin played it out, and then they sent her away because they realized with HIV (at the time) they couldn't have her slutting around and she brought a sense of fear about sex, why would your friends keep sleeping around after what happened to you? Years later she's back. Now she still has HIV. She's a doctor of course, she lets people know, lets her man/men know, has unprotected sex numerous times, gets pregnant and low and behold, neither her child nor her husband contracted it? This is where realism goes out the window. The message has now been sent that HIV isn't that contagious. HIV isn't death, it isn't death right away, but it also isn't something you should downplay when it comes to bodily fluid exchange. This message of the dangers and precautions is downplayed so this character can still have a life like the rest of the characters, it's there for the random reminder but I'm pretty sure even a swapping of blood to open wound wouldn't spread HIV on that show unless it was a throw away character.
MESSAGE: If you are slutty, you will not get an STD or pregnant but will have many partners and will likely get raped on a TV show because the sluts have to send a message to.
The police: When doing something illegal we all fear and dislike the po-po.
In the world of Soaps this is only a problem if you are innocent or you did something to the bad guy. The same bad guy who obviously does things, illegal things, murder, kidnapping, black mailing, whatever... but even though it's plain as day the bad guys are guilty, they go to jail for a second, and then they are out and onto the next bad thing. The good guys, or as good as a soap character can be since they are all essentially far from moral/straight laced will go to jail, go on trial, be found guilty and 90% of the time they were innocent. When they are guilty they go to jail because going on trial and possibly being sent to prison is going a little to far since its obvious they weren't guilty.
MESSAGE: Do bad things, you can get away with it so long as you are consistently immoral. if you are a good person, you will likely take a stand and be raked through the coals.
EXAMPLE: Sami Brady, drugged someone, essentially raped them, shot someone, kidnapped someone, black mailed, lied, lied, lied. A good actress plays this character, a bad message does she send because through it all the only time she really got in trouble and was almost killed for it was when she was innocent, if she is guilty she gets let off the hook to do more bad.
Anyone named Dimera. See above, but this family is practically always guilty but never go to jail for more than a second because the po po are keystone cops (cops who are supposed to be great,boast about it and yet when it comes to the most obvious criminals they can't find their way out a paper bag, with holes)
So look at today's programing.
Dress like sluts
Drinking underage is cool
Drugs are cool
Black mail is cool
Being poor makes you a loser
Befriend the bitch/bastard cause then you're cool by association
Act like you are holier than thou
All the shows of today, the new 90210 (even the original). Gossip Girl, REALITY SHOWS. Now One Tree Hill, Melrose place, Soap operas... I could go on for quite some time but the first 3 seem to sum up the youth of America when it comes to TV.
It's amazing what people will do for their 15 minutes of fame, media is teaching the youth of our world to be just as shallow and easy as their teen characters. 90210, Gossip Girl, and One Tree Hill started out as high school, freshman usually so they can have 4 years if not there is at least the token freshman. Again sex, drugs, alcohol, parents who just appear at random and are as immoral as their kids.