The Weekend Five: Lessons Learned From Teen Soap Operas

As my not-so-crazy teen years progressed, so too did my love for crazy teen soap operas. Although a few of my friends categorized our favorite TV shows as dramas, deep down we all knew what we were watching: watered down, modernized versions of the stereotypical soap operas that we made fun of the older generation for watching.

Nowadays, these shows provide more for me than mere nostalgic entertainment; rather, each far-fetched plotline has something new to teach us. This week, we will uncover the deeper meanings behind some of these shows, and learn more about the true lessons that teen soap operas have to offer.

The Weekend Five: Lessons Learned From Teen Soap Operas

1. When you go to a benefit dinner, school dance or any other event that requires formal attire, you are asking for trouble.
Forget the fact that these fancy events seem to take place every week in your town, or the fact that your classmates all own enough evening wear to avoid repeating an outfit. In teen soap operas, whether you’ve gone to cotillion or a save-the-dodo-birds dinner, something bad is bound to happen. Maybe Tori Spelling will get totally sloshed at the prom, or perhaps two grown men will get into a fistfight over a financial dispute. Either way, it is best to avoid these events — it seems all drama will come to a head here.


2. It is important for every combination of two people in your group of friends to date.
Remember that time when you were in high school and you thought that you and a certain lacrosse star boyfriend would get married? Meanwhile, your best friend dated a loner from the wrong side of town. One day, you fell in love with the lacrosse star’s completely immoral best friend, until he sold you for a hotel, and then you decided to date the aforementioned loner. Your best friend tried a relationship with the lacrosse star when things with the loner didn’t work out, but now her half-sister has gotten to him. Sound familiar? It happened on Gossip Girl, of course, but these dating patterns don’t end here! By this logic, you should take a page out of Blair and Serena’s handbook and date everyone you know.


3. Every school assignment you ever receive will have something to do with a major theme in your life.
Whether your teacher pairs you up with someone you wouldn’t normally work with, or the book you’ve been reading for class utilizes some kind of symbolism that unlocks a clue to the murder you’re trying to solve, school is important. After all, it wouldn’t get so much airtime if it wasn’t!


4. There are a lot of awkward ways to respond to an “I love you,” and chances are, you will use at least one of them.
The most common offender is a simple “Thank you,” to which your friends will later laugh and quip, “At least you were polite.” You can also opt not to say anything at all, or you could find an equally awkward way to reply. Teen soap operas teach us that we are all very likely to stick our feet in our mouth when it matters the most, but that we will also fix our situations with a grand gesture within a few days, and all will be right in the world again.


5. The most meaningful moments of your life should be scored with a delicate balance of indie and pop music.
One would think that the songs on the radio are the most important songs to play on a teen soap opera, but that isn’t always the case. Teens love listening to obscure bands they can brag about later on, so inserting songs by more mainstream-indie groups such as Death Cab for Cutie and Keane allows for a much better transition to ultimate hipsterdom. The next time you’re about to experience a first kiss, I dare you to turn on Somewhere Only We Know. The moment will instantly become more meaningful, and you will become slightly edgier.


What have you learned from your favorite teen soaps?

6 thoughts on “The Weekend Five: Lessons Learned From Teen Soap Operas

    • Valerie says:

      So true! Makes me have very mixed feelings about formalwear — on the one hand, the clothes are gorgeous, but on the other hand, I love having relatively little drama in my life!

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