Top 10 Teen Show Moments That Wouldn't Work Today

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Top 10 Teen Show Moments That Wouldn't Work Today

VOICE OVER: Kirsten Ria Squibb WRITTEN BY: Emily Blair
These teen show moments would so not work today. For this list, we'll be looking at controversial and problematic moments from teen shows that would have never aired today. Our countdown includes "One Tree Hill," "Glee," "Gossip Girl," and more!
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Top 10 Teen Show Moments That Wouldn't Work Today


Welcome to MsMojo, and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 Teen Show Moments That Wouldn’t Work Today

For this list, we’ll be looking at controversial and problematic moments from teen shows that would have never aired today.

Any of these shock you? Make you cringe? Share with us in the comments!

#10: Brooke Dates Mr. Chavez
“One Tree Hill” (2003-12)


When Brooke Davis tries her hand at online dating, she meets former model Nick Chavez, and tells him she’s a 23-year-old fashion designer. Following their date, Brooke runs into Nick again, this time as Mr. Chavez, her new English teacher. It was already bad that Brooke lied to Nick about her age, but the two agreed to continue the relationship even after her lie was uncovered. They keep their relationship a secret until Brooke discovers Nick cheating on her and breaks up with him. Teacher-student relationships in teen shows are always creepy, but it’s frustrating to watch Mr. Chavez get away with his behavior with just a suspension and a few slaps.

#9: Glee's “Shooting Star”
“Glee” (2009-15)


The fourth season episode “Shooting Star” attempted to address a sensitive topic, but it was handled about as tactfully as the pun in the episode title. When gunshots are heard at McKinley High, the terrified students hide while attempting to contact loved ones. It’s later revealed that Becky, a fan favorite character, brought her father’s gun to school because she was scared of life after graduation, and fired it accidentally. In the end, the episode said nothing substantial about the topic, and felt like it was exploiting tragic real life events for shock value.

#8: Solving an Eating Disorder in an Evening
“Beverly Hills, 90210” (1990-2000)


Amanda Peyser appears in only one episode of this series, but nonetheless undergoes a miraculous life transformation throughout her time on the show. Amanda is dealing with a very serious eating disorder and takes diet pills, causing her to be constantly angry and irritable. She lashes out towards the other girls and treats them horribly until she tells them about her problem. Somehow Amanda is cured by the end of the episode through miraculous means, as her attitude changes completely and she is happily asking for huge helpings of junk food. This is completely insensitive and unrealistic, and it’s not clear why this storyline was included at all, especially since Amanda was never seen again.

#7: Anna's Storyline
“One Tree Hill” (2003-12)


The writers of “One Tree Hill'' really fumbled this attempt at LBGTQ+ representation. After recurring character Anna misreads some signals from Peyton and kisses her, Anna’s brother Felix writes a slur on Peyton’s locker. This ultimately leads to Anna returning to her old school, cutting her time on the show short. The way her sexuality was discussed also confused viewers. Show creator Mark Schwahn had Anna come out to her brother as “gay”, because he felt the word was more “taboo” and therefore “stronger for her”. Instead, it obscured a distrinct identity. Having a bisexual character like Anna on a major teen series could have been revolutionary at the time, but the series shied away from her character instead of delving deeper.

#6: Marley's Eating Disorder
“Glee” (2009-15)


Glee’s treatment of Marley’s eating disorder wasn’t just disappointing, it was downright shocking. Kitty gave Marley serious self-esteem issues by taunting her, secretly altering her costume, and encouraging her to throw up, but faced absolutely no consequences. If anything, Marley was the most punished when she passed out due to malnourishment during sectionals and was made to feel guilty for it by the rest of the glee club. The cherry on top though was Ryder’s attempt at helping her by saying that he doesn’t want to kiss someone with puke breath. Yikes. It’s insane this storyline ever made it to a final draft, and it certainly wouldn’t happen today.

#5: Spike’s Controversial Scene & Redemption
“Buffy the Vampire Slayer” (1997-2003)


In likely the most controversial episode of this supernatural teen series, a disturbing and difficult-to-watch scene features Spike attempting to force himself onto Buffy. This event became the catalyst for Spike to reconsider his life choices and set out onto a path of becoming a better person. The scene was especially terrifying because it lacked most of the supernatural elements the series usually showcased. Spike demonstrated a real human evil, and Buffy seemed more vulnerable than she ever had before. This moment is controversial for good reason, and has only become more problematic since it first aired, especially since many viewers had a problem with how Spike was redeemed in the end, despite his truly evil actions.

#4: Chuck's Violent Tendencies
“Gossip Girl” (2007-12)


Although Chuck’s time as Gossip Girl’s first antagonist was short lived, in the age of streaming and binge watching it’s hard to separate his first impression from his later appearances - especially when some violent patterns continued to emerge. In season four, Chuck’s temper got the best of him when he jealously smashed a window above Blair’s head, causing the glass to break and cut her face. Even though he technically didn’t hit Blair, this is still obviously abusive behavior, and it’s appalling that they both reconcile just a few episodes after this shocking moment.

#3: Almost Everything Mr. Schuester Said & Did
“Glee” (2009-15)


There are very few teen show characters as controversial as Glee’s Mr. Schue, and it’s amazing the writers got away with some of this stuff. Straight off the bat, he blackmailed Finn into joining the Glee club by planting drugs in his locker, and was a completely incompetent Spanish teacher and promoted racial stereotypes. He also encouraged his students to perform songs like “Blurred Lines” and to put on a production of “The Rocky Horror Picture Show”, both of which were completely inappropriate for high school students, no matter how old the actors playing them looked. We could go on forever, but there’s just way too many shocking Mr. Schue moments to list in this video.

#2: "The Girls of Bayside Calendar
“Saved by the Bell” (1989-93)


Even though growing up, many of us idolized Zack Morris, looking back he was really a total creep. One of his most disturbing moments came when he convinced Screech to take photos of the girls swim team so he could make a “Girls of Bayside” calendar to sell in the student store. The outraged girls report Zack’s behavior to the principal, who reprimands Zack. Interestingly, streaming platforms with “Saved By the Bell” cut out an even more shocking moment from this scene, in which Principal Belding initially commends Zack for his clever business idea. This cut dialogue definitely indicates that the events of this episode would not and absolutely should not work today.

#1: Aria & Ezra's Relationship
“Pretty Little Liars” (2010-17)


One of the most overly romanticized and truly disturbing examples of an inappropriate teacher-student relationship is between “Pretty Little Liars” characters Aria and Ezra. Much like Mr. Chavez and Brooke on “One Tree Hill”, Ezra meets Aria in a bar, only to discover the next day that she is one of his high school English students. The two begin a secretive relationship that lasts on-and-off for the duration of the series, eventually ending with the couple marrying. Their relationship was definitely not portrayed as the illegal and uncomfortable situation that it would be in reality. This is especially problematic considering the audience of this series was mostly teens and tweens who should not be seeing this kind of dangerous misrepresentation.
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