Thursday, April 2, 2009

Archetypes of Teen Soap Operas: Part 1

The Most Annoying one of all-

The Pretty Blonde with Lots of Baggage

Kelly Taylor. The poster girl of late 90’s California glamour. She has long blonde hair, gorgeous doe eyes, a perfect figure, and she always wears the latest fashions. She looks just like an all-American girl, but there’s much more to her and it lurks under the surface.
She’s got baggage. And not just the kind of baggage that results from a messy break-up with a boyfriend, I mean, she’s got baggage from being addicted to drugs/being shot/having a miscarriage/being raped/battling anorexia. Not to mention the long-lasting effects of her horrible, self-centered parents: an absentee father, who only returns to dramatically leave again and a mother who was addicted to cocaine and alcohol.

In the pilot episode, we find out that she has recently ended a relationship with Steve Sanders, the richer and better-than-thou guy who think he’s God’s gift to women (and the world). Although Sanders eventually develops into a loveable goofball, when we first meet him he’s pretty shallow.

She is a model(literally) but she never seems to realize how gorgeous she is, which makes her look pretty dumb since every guy she comes across wants nothing more than to be noticed by her.

I don’t begrudge Kelly her popularity or her beauty; without either one, she might not have gotten all the good storylines. Although Kelly Taylor set the standard for this archetype, it’s easily replicated in the teen soap operas that followed the example of Beverly Hills, 90210.

Another example? Easy- Marissa Cooper. (The OC)

This girl, also a poster girl for laid-back California beauty, also got some of the most dramatic storylines on her own show, The OC. When the series begins, her father, who’s not intrinsically malevolent, is in the middle of a scam that he pulled on his clients and the family’s economic future is in crisis. Her mother, who is extremely self-important and sociopathic, always seems to clash with her over every even that occurs. Marissa was dating Luke in the beginning but she dumped him quickly for the bad-boy Ryan Atwood who definitely added a lot more drama to her life. Once again, Luke eventually develops into a pretty good guy, but when we first meet him he is a spoiled rotten water polo player who can get any girl he wants (and he does, too).Although Marissa was only on the show for 3 out of the 4 seasons, she had so much baggage by the end that there was “nothing else that could have happened”. She almost died from a drug overdose in Mexico, she befriends an unstable boy named Oliver that holds her hostage, she is almost raped by Ryan’s big brother, whom she ends up shooting (but not fatally so it’s all good). She also becomes a pseudo-lesbian at one point when a punk girl named Alex falls hard for her. (by the way, Kelly Taylor also had a girl fall in love with her, and they did kiss although they never had a relationship.) Even the way she left the show was incredibly dramatic; a high speed chase by an ex-lover, a fiery crash, and her last breath of life leaving her body as Ryan holds her in the street. And this all happened right after she graduated from high-school, which makes it extra tragic.

Still not convinced? OK. I’ve got another one for you. Peyton Sawyer.( One Tree Hill)

The wide eyes. The mass of blonde ringlets. The killer figure. Even though she’s not from the sunny land of California, she still matches the description. Again- when the series starts, she’s dating a jerk named Nathan Scott (who, like Steve Sanders and Luke, evolves into a good guy). She is nearly raped at a party after a date-rape drug is put into her drink.

Kelly and Marissa battled drugs, and Peyton flirted with cocaine as well. Kelly had a lesbian kiss her, Marissa engaged in a lesbian relationship with Alex, and Peyton also joins the club when a lesbian kisses her and then she is harassed by said lesbian’s brother.

Just like Kelly and Dylan had an affair behind Brenda’s back on BH 90210, Peyton drags Lucas and Brooke into a similar love triangle. Even though Lucas and Brooke begin dating, Peyton and Lucas share stolen kisses behind Brooke’s back. Brenda got hurt, Brooke gets hurt, same story everywhere.

Why do the blondes always have more fun?????

Next Installment: The Brunette With a Beauty Mark

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