Why kids shows are better than teen shows

Why kids shows are better than teen shows

Photo Credits: Kiyomi Watson / Aggie

What teen shows lack, children’s shows provide

While I admit there are some good teen TV shows out there that are worth watching (“Never Have I Ever,” “One Day at a Time”), kids and tween shows are getting better than shows aimed for a teen audience because they’re trying to teach kids something. Kids are at such an impressionable age that it’s important for them to see characters that have well-rounded qualities. Although, I don’t understand why that stops when it comes to teen shows. They may be young and naive, but teen shows are given the short end of the stick. Most have to deal with bad actors, terrible outfit choices and a string of one-dimensional characters attempting to carry an awful storyline. 

The following kids shows exceeded expectations. It’s reassuring to know that the younger generation still has some quality programs left to watch. 

Ashley Garcia: Genius in Love

Fifteen-year-old Ashley Garcia, a robotics engineer and rocket scientist, moves in with her carefree uncle across the country for her dream job at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). But with the new move comes a transition she’s never truly focused on: high school boys. 

I can recall the amount of TV shows and movies I watched as a child that represented a Latina in a positive spotlight: “Spy Kids,” “Dora the Explorer,” “Maya and Miguel,” “Wizards of Waverly Place” (kind of) and “Big Hero 6.” Latina girls don’t get to see that very often on their screen; what they usually see is a hypersexualized Latina, a maid or a feisty woman. 

It’s so refreshing to see a happy Mexican family where the uncle isn’t an alcoholic but instead a football coach who loves his niece unconditionally. This is the type of show I would have loved as a kid. I could not be happier to know that my younger cousins are watching it and that they can see Ashley, the main character, as a smart young woman who is a three-dimensional character. She’s funny, energetic and competitive; she has personality traits that Latinas don’t always get in shows. 

No Good Nick

“No Good Nick” follows Nick as she sets up her newest con job to be part of the Thomspon family. Nick creates a fake identity, and with the help of her sleazy foster parents, fakes being part of the Thompson family, playing a foster kid whose parents just died. Nick’s true intentions were to sabotage the Thomspon family as revenge because they “ruined her life.”

I love a moral dilemma that deals with revenge. Kids shows usually have to go a little simpler in terms of ethical dilemmas, but “No Good Nick” does an amazing job at portraying the butterfly effect and the damage it can do to others. It gives children a new perspective that could help them weigh out difficult situations.

The audience doesn’t learn exactly what the Thompson family did to ruin Nick’s life. They don’t see that side of the story until part two of the show. For all of part one you get to see the Thompson family—what kind of people they are and what kind of person Nick is. You start to love them and they grow on you. When the audience sees both sides of the situation, however, they’re stuck in a disagreement with themselves about who did more wrong to whom. My opinion immediately flipped once the other circumstances were factored in: I was on Nick’s side wholeheartedly. 

The Babysitter’s Club

It might just be seeing my childhood books on TV, but I thought “The Babysitter’s Club” was an adorable show that I didn’t mind spending my time on when I was cleaning or needed something quick to watch while eating a small snack. My favorite thing about the show was that they brought in girls from different backgrounds and who had different personalities. They weren’t just a group of the same girls; they had their own quirks, goals, fears and they knew who they were and who they wanted to be.

Compared to the quality of the shows above, these teen shows were terrible—some that lacked direction, some that just kept going for ratings and others that just wanted to waste money on a disappointing series. 

Riverdale 

Much to fellow arts writer Livvy Mullen’s dismay, I hated “Riverdale.” After watching the first season, I quit it. Actually, I don’t think I even finished the first season. The first season of “Riverdale” revolved around a group of best friends going through casual teenage drama while uncovering a murder mystery. Midway into the season, there was a scene in which the new girl, Veronica, gets into the shower with Archie after he just had a breakdown, and I thought to myself, “What am I watching?” 

“Riverdale” is notorious for having their grown actors play “weirdo” teenagers (ahem, Cole Sprouse). I am very aware that because of child labor laws, hiring a teenager makes everyone’s life more difficult, but it is always unsettling to pass off a 30-year-old for a high schooler, knowing well that it could set unrealistic expectations for kids watching the show. 

13 Reasons Why 

While I love Alisha Boe and her performance is stellar in everything she does, after season one of “13 Reasons Why,” the show fell toward a downward spiral. What was most upsetting about the show is that it ignored everything that experts told them not to do—they were extremely explicit. 

Hannah Baker’s suicide was changed for the worse; I read “13 Reasons Why” (the book that the show was based off) when I was younger. It was well thought-out and Hannah’s death was left without much details, leaving the reader to piece together exactly how she commits suicide. The book brought awareness to topics that are usually taboo, and for the most part, the show did too, but it brought up the topics in the wrong way. 

While Hannah’s death scene was ultimately changed by Netflix, the initial showing was too gruesome to look at. I recognize that they portrayed it this way to make sure the audience did not view suicide in a romanticized way, but it was still much too graphic. Adding on to the death scene, they left an intense scene about sexual assault.

I wanted the show to work out well, but after the first season I didn’t feel like they were sticking to the original plan of telling an important story. “13 Reasons Why” is the type of show that is supposed to be important. It’s supposed to bring attention to an issue and that’s why I was looking forward to it when the trailer first came out. But once it did well, instead of seeing it as an opportunity to bring awareness, it was used to stretch out a story to gain ratings. I believe that there are better teen shows that express sensitive issues (see: The Fosters). 

Emily in Paris

My latest review of “Emily in Paris” pretty much sums up everything I hated about the show other than its obvious appeal to the romanticism that we are all craving. But it was still something I wasted my time on. Is it something that I would consider watching another season of? Probably. Will I hate myself for it when I’m done? Most definitely. 

“Emily in Paris” didn’t have any real value; it was just a mindless TV show. There wasn’t a strong plot, all of the characters were irritating and the only notable element of the show was the scenery. But again, my time would have been better spent doing the work I had been avoiding—or watching a children’s show.

As Netflix rolls out new shows by the week, it’s disappointing to see the quality diminish in teen shows. Teens are at a point in their lives when they are still trying to figure themselves out. They are searching for who they want to be and the media makes an immense impression on them. I can’t think of any valid reason as to why they have stopped incorporating valuable themes in shows as we get older. I know plenty of adults that could use a little lesson on empathy.
Written by: Itzelth Gamboa — arts@theaggie.org