Friday, April 3, 2009

Archetypes of Teen Soap Operas: Part 4

The Tragic Friend

Scott Scanlon was a nerdy freshman and best friends with David Silver. In the first season of the show, he was a strong supporting role in all the David-related stories. However, as David became increasingly close with Kelly, Steve and the rest of the gang, the Scott-David friendship suffered. In the second season, poor Scott was no longer a full-time character and was reduced to appearing sporadically. When Scott resurfaces and asks David to attend his birthday party, he accidentally shoots himself as he is twirling a gun around.

Scott Scanlon set the precedent for the tragic friend (aka the character that was slated to be a major role and eventually gets written out due to lack of interest) and this dramatic way to reduce a cast is seen again in the land of One Tree Hill, but the story there is much more tragic- perhaps because it strikes a nerve with its audience.

Jimmy Edwards, like Scott Scanlon, is in the pilot episode of his show. He is best friends with “Mouth” Marvin McFadden and Lucas Scott. As Mouth buddies up to Rachel, Brooke, Lucas and the rest of the gang, we see less and less of Jimmy.

He leaves a dark and disturbing message in the school’s video time capsule, which gets released early so that everyone sees how troubled he is.

He eventually becomes so angry and alienated that he brings a gun to school, which results in Peyton being shot (she’s starting to step on Kelly’s toes, don’t you think?) and a hostage situation. He ends up committing suicide, and is posthumously blamed for the death of Lucas’ uncle Keith Scott.

Note to readers: this series is intended as light-hearted observations of the trends in teen television that Beverly Hills 90210 inspired. This segment is only meant to poke fun at the parallel between BH 90210 and One Tree Hill, and is not making light of any gun-related deaths.

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