I swear there was a point to this post, but I have no idea what it was!

I do not often watch Gossip Girl, because I don't have the time to add new shows to my TV line-up (Glee, Desperate Housewives, The Office, Grey's Anatomy and sometimes Modern Family and CSI Miami), but I recently watched an episode. And it left me confused. Are these people supposed to be in high school? Why is Serena waiting in a big house for some married dude? Shouldn't she be dating guys closer in age to her? How is she so perfect looking all the time? Can I please have her wardrobe? And Blair? Can I have her headbands? She is so cute, even though she is sometimes evil. The guys, however? They all look like girls.


I wonder if teenagers today are more crazy than we were back in the day (I graduated from high school in 1995... yes... it is now starting to sound like a very long time ago!) Was 90210 as dark as Gossip Girl? Was 90210 a more relatable show for teens? Were we all that thin? What else did we watch, back then? Were movies like The Breakfast Club and Pretty In pink - movies we all love - relatable?

I think yes. Yes for 90210, yes for The Breakfast Club, yes even for Gossip Girl - on some level. And now why are we - adults, parents, thirtysomething's - part of the fan club of all things aimed at teens today? From music to movies, to television shows and books - what is it that we're attracted to here?

Why are we watching Glee and Gossip Girl, reading Twilight and New Moon, and listening to Lady Gaga and Britney Spears? Are we not over our teenage years? What are we yearning for?

For me, it's pretty simple: I still feel young. I'm young at heart. I look in the mirror, and although I don't look exactly the same I did when I was 18, I don't look old. Older, sure, but not old. I still love listening to fun music in the car, reading trashy magazines, and watching useless shows on television. It's just a nice way to unwind after my busy day... and it can also be a trip down memory lane.

I read an article in Chatelaine by Katrina Onstad called "Watching the Kids", talking about why we're so interested in TV shows about people years younger than we are, and the article made me really think about this issue. She mentioned writer Kate Crawford stated in her book Adult Themes: "Maturity should be measured by the substance of our lives, not the stuff we consume".

And my life is full of substance - the real things that matter the most to me. My family, my friends. My job, the work I do. My house, my community. I watch adult movies, I read real literature, (I read Madame Bovary, The Decameron, and Dante's Inferno when I was still a teenager) and I stay on top of the latest news from around the world. I'm a University graduate and a mother but I can still enjoy the fluff, too.

So, basically - it's okay for us, as adults, to sink our teeth into Twilight, (which you all know how much I love!) watch Gossip Girl, and listen to Gaga, because we are responsible adults - we have jobs, we provide for our families, we care for, love, and educate our children and we give back to our communities. We are able to enjoy pop culture aimed at teens because we are mature, capable citizens. We can leave the fantasy at the door when the time comes.(Or put Twilight down when the baby starts to cry!) We've already been there... now we sit back and watch, and enjoy the show.

I can watch The Hills and shake my head in amazement at all the fakeness and 'drama', knowing what 'drama' really means now. The difference between me (an adult) and a teenager watching The Hills is that they believe it. Oftentimes, that 'drama' is all they know, too. Compared to parenthood, teenagers have it good! I remember my high school years being some of the best of my life... when the biggest problem of the day was what to wear, if 'he' would be at school that day, and where we'd be hanging out that weekend. Ah, the simple life...

I sometimes miss the days when things were more simple. Even Twilight is simple. The only person Bella really has to think about is herself and her love for her vampire boyfriend. She doesn't have any responsibilities, like children or bills to pay. She can choose to become a vampire because, well, there's not much holding her back (except for her parents). Reading books aimed at teenagers, watching shows about high school students - it's a great way to escape, and I think it's important to have some fun in our lives. Like Onstad said in her article: "Just because one consumes pop culture about youth doesn't mean one is stuck in youth."

We can read our 'good' books, but still enjoy books aimed at teens; we can listen to any music we desire, we can even watch and love Gossip Girl - because our feet are firmly planted on the ground, because we know the difference between reality and fantasy, and because we know what life is really about. We all need a break for harsh reality sometimes!
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Anonymous said...

Yeah. Buffy.

I hadn't seen an episode of Buffy until I was 29 years old, after it had been off the air for years. I'm not sure I could have watched it until I was mature enough to recognize it's value instead of just saying "ooh, vampires! Pretty girls!" It would have been boring and shallow because I was boring and shallow.

Pres. Kathy said...

I really enjoyed reading this post. I feel the same way. I look in the mirror and I know I look older, but I feel young. I love all the "cool" music. Sometimes I look at movie stars and they say that are 25, and I think I don't look like that. I forever will feel young no matter what! Go Britney Spears and Lady Gaga! :-)

Sue said...

I just watched my DVR episode of Gossip Girl before Hoarders! I love this show, but you are right.
They are fresh out of highschool, yet are in bars and such. They have MONEY so I guess that means they can do anything. I love it though. I was a huge 90210 fan and this is way better for this time frame. Would I let my kids watch it?

Nenette AM said...

Oh, I completely agree with everything you wrote here, Loukia!

I also think that the stuff that's considered "teen" these days are a lot more mature. So the gap between teen and adult has closed a little more. Envying the wardrobe of some of these girls isn't odd because much of it is stuff that women in their 30s and 40s would wear.

I grew up in the 80s, and back then, seeing 30-40yo women dressed up in early-Madonna, neon clothes a la Wham!, and crimped hair that all the teens were sporting was totally laughable!

Angela said...

Hi! Thank you for coming by my blog earlier and for the comment :)

I enjoyed reading your post, and I agree with you! I graduated in 1996 and I still feel "young." And it is funny bc I often times wonder "okay I've graduated HS, greaduated college, had a job (before I had my girls), been married almost eight years, have three kids, a house, a mtg and plenty of bills, yet, when am I going to feel all grown-up?" And I hope never, lol! I don't want to leave Twilight, great music and drama filled TV behind, yet! :)

amotherworld said...

Age is just a number.

I'm a responsible adult with children but I consider myself to be a free spirit.

I'll always be young at heart :)

CaraBee said...

I think we like to watch shows/read books/listen to songs about younger people because it is identifiable for us. We may not have been in that exact situation, I mean, obviously I never had a vampire boyfriend, sigh, but we know what it's like to be 13 or 17 or whatever.

lz @ My Messy Paradise said...

Well said!
I feel like I may regress back to youth a bit more than I should with the shows and books in my repertoire, but you know what? Like you, I feel very happy with my place in life - I'm not searching for the fountain of youth and not pretending to be 18. It's ok. I can act my act, but just don't always feel like it!

Anonymous said...

As a mom of a daughter-who is about to be 10(!!)-I hope to hell she can't relate to Gossip Girl. Which I believe I was close to 10 when I started watching 90210.

blueviolet said...

Sometimes I feel guilty about watching teenage stuff as if I shouldn't be. But it's fun to watch! I've always watched it, and I too feel like I'm young at heart!

Mad Mom said...

Love, love, LOVE this post! It's so true! I think maturity and age are all about the way we feel and act.

As far as TV shows and pop culture, I think it just depends on where you are in life. When I was a teenager, I would watch shows and movies and find the charachter that I wanted to identify with, or the one that I could relate to. Now that I'm older, I think I can relate to most charachters because I have so many more life experiences involving so many different people. It all makes more sense to me now I guess.

But I will add that I've just totally written off MTV. I really am too old for all that. That's the channel that makes me think- Was I EVER like that? And if so, Why didn't someone smack me out of it! :)


Krystyn said...

I'm with you. It's all about reminiscing and feeling young.

What about Doogie Howser? I remember not being able to watch it once he has S-E-X!

And, I'm pretty sure 90210 was just as dark, we were just too young to know any differently.

Lady Mama said...

I think you hit the nail on the head when you mentioned simplicity. I think maybe that's what we get from these things - something that's more straight-forward, easier to digest than other stuff going on in our lives. Like an escape.

I haven't read a book for ages and ages, and then a friend sent me one for my birthday - it's a very light read and exactly what I need right now. Just something to lose myself in for a few days without having to really think about it. Great post!

Alecia said...

This is a very timely post. I was driving to work this morning thinking about how I need to tap into my network to look for college graduates for a job I have posted and it suddenly struck me..."Oh my goodness, that thought was SO adult." (I was also born in 1995.) I still fight the urge to be what my preconceived notion of a full-blown adult is, but the truth is that I am there.

I will, however, always believe that age is a state of mind not a number. I much prefer to hang out with a 50 year old who believes and acts like they are young than a 25 year old who seems to think the good days have come and gone.

Thanks for your post!

Kate Coveny Hood said...

So true L (my GG nod). I used to gravitate to far heavier movies and literature when I was younger. Now life is heavier and I need to escape. So I'll happily watch Gossip Girl and never feel one scrap of guilt for the hours of time I wasted devouring those terrible Twilight books. Loved every minute.

I'm much older than you (okay - five years) and my best friend and I always talk about how we don't feel old yet. We have one really fabulous picture of us as bridesmaids at a wedding (like great bridesmaid dress bridesmaids) about 10 years ago - that's when we always point to. We still feel like that. I wonder when we won't anymore.

Kristin said...

I still watch 90210 episodes daily. Sad? Maybe. It keeps me young. Ah ha ha

Anonymous said...

Nice post & nice blog. I love both.