Ever flipped through channels lately and seen pictures of a couple of scrawny looking white kids and a couple of older, heavily botoxed people hanging around them? Ever gone through profiles on the Internet of any block of Indian teens and seen The OC making a whooping 90 per cent appearance in the ‘favourite TV show’ slot? I’m no member of the moral police but my dislike for The OC stems from the show’s definition of reality, morality and everyday life.For those of you fortunate folks who don’t know what The OC a.k.a. The Orange County is, allow me to give you a quick lowdown. It is a television show that is being advertised as ‘America’s favourite teen drama’, and as we must live up to our ‘copycat/ trash bin’ title, we obviously follow the show avidly. It is about poor little rich kids who live in the high-end Newport Beach and who seemingly have everything but, if you look closer you will realize that, hold your breath, their lives aren’t as perfect as they seem. They go through plenty of ‘everyday’ problems, such as teenage pregnancy, parents getting divorced, low self esteem, ex-girlfriends popping out of nowhere, drugs – both hard and soft, gambling, taking sleeping pills, having psychiatric problems and all the other mundane things we bunch of fascinating people i.e. teenagers go through. However, their parents and their plentiful affairs, give the kids a run for their money as they both compete to be more promiscuous than the other.
As for the protagonist, he is this bloke from the ‘wrong side’ of town, which shows that the producers have a conscience and are well aware that there exist other worlds. So Ryan is a typical teen with a twist, speaking as little as possible and when he does, he speaks in short terse sentences which makes you wish he would stop talking (which is saying a lot). He has had a rough, rough life, he has seen everything, and he is a toughie this one and brings the ‘street’ right into California’s most posh address. His ladylove is, who else, but the girl next door, Marissa, a beautiful, anorexic little thing who has unbelievably bad hair and horrifyingly poor acting skills. This character whimpers through her life, as she clucks around Ryan, talking or crying about all her problems.
Then there is Summer and Seth. Nope, this is the name of a pair of clowns’ part of a traveling circus. They are just the other, ‘cuter’ couple. Seth is the remarkably unremarkable guy, he’s Jewish, curly – haired, fast talking, wit spewing and redefines the desirable nerd. Summer is his dream girl, and of all the others who watch the show I bet, she is sufficiently dumb and proportionately well endowed to constitute the ‘hot’ category. Shudder, shudder.
This show is 100 per cent trash and though it might manage to squeeze in a good ‘moment’ or two here and there, its context is so exceedingly unrealistic that my resistance to it and all other things American rises tenfold. Media is supposed to be steeped in reality; voice people’s aspirations and show things that essentially remain unattainable to us, so we in effect can live out our fantasies through the characters. Hedonism, escapism, pursuit of perfection, you name it – this show cashes in on everything, and to think it is only a teen drama. Whatever happened to worrying about homework and getting into college? Whatever happened to ambition and self-respect? The bottom line is that there should be no need for all this excessive drama in one’s life. Self absorbed people with self-inflicted problems just do not have my sympathy and far from being entertaining, make me cringe. There are grander things to focus on in life apart from our concern and efforts and ourselves should be diverted elsewhere. Tables turned, you might say – Lighten up, it is just a TV show. I couldn’t agree with you more, so why not change the channel?
[Image courtesy: http://www.flickr.com/photos/agi_t_prop/310567494/]