Teen movies overemphasize high school relationships


High school relationships are fun, but contrary to what Hollywood says, they rarely last.

Elyse Perry, editor

In our culture today, we teenagers are constantly surrounded by scripted and produced relationships in TV shows and movies. These relationships are often toxic, unrealistic, and unreasonable; however, because we are teenagers, we take them as gospel. We look at them as role models for our relationships, and that can be severely damaging to us and our future. 

When I think of shows and movies aimed towards teens, I immediately think of CW and Netflix. The shows on these platforms typically include a lot of drama, and therefore a lot of relationships. While these elements make the story interesting and capture viewers’ attention, they create many unrealistic expectations. One example of this is in Riverdale. Riverdale is in general not a great show (sorry, but it’s true), and this is partially due to the relationships. The characters are meant to be high schoolers and they are already being described as “endgame.” When shows meant for teens write relationships this way, it causes teens to believe that they will find the one for them in high school, and that could cause them to settle.

This brings me to my next point. In teen shows and movies, characters always settle for their high school relationships. They base their lives around relationships that on average last about six months. One example of this is in the To All the Boys series on Netflix. In the last movie, Peter gets angry at Lara Jean for wanting to go to NYU, a college on the other side of the country, instead of going to college in California so they could keep their relationship close distance. Here’s a quick statistic for you: only two percent of high school relationships end in marriage. Therefore, this movie was advocating for putting your education and future behind a two percent chance of staying together. Are you seeing the unreasonable yet?

Another problem that is found so often in these teen shows is the complete support they tend to show toward toxic relationships. Most people watch TV shows and movies for the drama, so what better way to get it than to have characters that are obviously toxic but stay in a relationship anyway? An example of this is Elle and Noah in The Kissing Booth. That relationship is so toxic even before it starts! Noah is so overprotective and Elle is so naive. This relationship never allows for the characters to grow as people because they, especially Elle, are way too worried about the other person. 

In all reality, teen media places way too much importance on high school relationships. They have the tendency to push the idea that there is only one person for everyone and they stress the idea that this person is found in high school. High school is about finding yourself, not coddling someone else. So, before you go planning out your life around your high school boyfriend or girlfriend, remember your life is not a Hollywood movie. Take care of yourself first and remember that this part of your life is for finding yourself, not tying yourself down.