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Teen Drama

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Devi: No, man. We're watching Riverdale. Buckle up for some steamy teen romance.
Kamala: These are high schoolers? And their parents are okay with them taking showers together in their homes?
Devi: Yeah, Kamala. Welcome to American teen soaps. The actors are also older than Mom.

Any show where the central focus is on teenagers, their angst, pimples, and/or clothes. Best describes shows like Beverly Hills, 90210 and Dawson's Creek (or anything else on The WB or The CW, really). Most likely place to find the Very Special Episode.

The kind of show where everyone looks too old and too short to be teenagers, they have to bring new people in, the men keep taking their shirts off, there are no more than two non-white main characters, the teens talk much more like adults than teenagers, and anyone over a specific age is bad news.

See also Kid Com which also features teenage protagonists and many of the same tropes, but generally in a far more light hearted manner. Young Adult fiction is the rough literary equivalent of the teen drama. Compare Soap Opera and Prime Time Soap.

When the lens is reversed to focus on the flaws of the kids' entire families, it's Stepford Suburbia.

See Tween Drama for the child-friendly equivalent to the Teen Drama.



  • Brilliantly spoofed in an episode of Stargate SG-1, "200", with a scene showing SG-1 recasted with "younger, edgier actors" — one of whom is a young Cory Monteith, who went on to star in an actual teen show. A lot of fans took it as a light-hearted crack at Battlestar Galactica (2003), given the similarities between the parody and the new BSG. Nowadays, this parody is often used as a Take That! towards Stargate Universe in certain sections of the fandom, as much of that stuff was actually present in SGU.
  • Moody's Point, the hilariously over-the top Dawson's Creek parody on The Amanda Show.
  • Teen Canyon is another Show Within a Show Dawson's Creek-like parody, this time on Disney's animated series The Weekenders.
  • The O.C. had a Show Within a Show called "The Valley". The characters frequently made remarks about it that lampshaded some of the cliches teen dramas (including The O.C. itself) exhibited.
  • Constantly the subject of spoof on sketch shows.
  • Heavily spoofed, along with teen movie cliches, by Not Another Teen Movie.
  • Penny Arcade gave us this gem: what would Star Wars be like if it was a WB TV show?
  • Clone High is entirely about spoofing the genre and its cliches (especially the Very Special Episodes.) in the most over-the-top manner possible.
  • Strangers with Candy was a parody of both this and after-school specials. Most of the usual high school problems ("Am I cool? Should I rat out my friend?") belonged to the forty-six-year-old freshman main character and her teachers, while the teenage students were usually the only sane ones. There's also at least one horrible Spoof Aesop per episode.
  • A Penny and Aggie strip parodied social networking sites and online media mergers by imagining them as teen drama characters.
  • Sonny with a Chance had Mackenzie Falls.
  • In the book Schooled by Gordon Korman, the main character Capricorn gets addicted to a show called Trigonometry and Tears, in which, from the descriptions provided, is a very over-the-top relationship show. However, since Capricorn has no TV at his real house, he thinks it's the best thing ever (and tries to talk to the character).
  • Total Drama parodies both teen dramas and Reality TV. Most of the contestants are deliberately exaggerated takes on the stock characters found in teen dramas and other works about high school.
  • Parodied in the first episode of Sym-Bionic Titan with "High School Heights", an over-the-top drama where teens are making out in every shot and a character's dark secret is his inability to read, airing on "The WC".
  • Family Guy did it.
    Teen: Now I'm going to go to a lake and stare meaningfully at the sunset.
    Voice Over: [singing] High school is such a serious thing. These problems really matter.
  • Homestuck suddenly shifts from a Genre-Busting series with a mix of sci-fi, horror and comedy to a mostly slow Teen Drama-filled (though still filled with humor and horror elements) Act 6. Knowing Andrew Hussie, this was likely intentional.
  • During the 1990s run of The All-New Mickey Mouse Club; there was a recurring serial that served as a teen drama spoof called "Emerald Cove".
  • One of The Lonely Island's early projects for Channel 101 was a teen drama parody called The 'Bu. (Young, sexy people that live in Malibu call it The 'Bu, because when you say the entire word, it takes time, and then you wouldn't be young anymore.)
  • Skippy Dies gives the genre the Lit Fic treatment. The book's plot is basically about a group of teens' relationship and friendship dramas, which have life-or-death consequences, and the book makes use of a number of School Tropes, but this is mixed up with social commentary and a stream-of-consciousness writing style.
  • Animaniacs (2020): The segment "Teeniacs" is a parody of supernatural teen dramas like Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Teen Wolf.
    Wakko: But we're only three weeks into the school year and so much as changed already. We moved to a small town, we found a treasure map, our dad was blackmailed by the guy who owns the marina, our best friend was possessed, we proved the existence of alternate haunted timelines...
    Yakko: (drives a car through the wall) And I finally got my learner's permit!
  • Parodied in the Family Guy episode "Disney's The Reboot," where one of the ways Disney executives propose to reboot the show is as the more supernatural variant of this trope. "The Q" features Chris and his high school friends investigate the death of Meg by a werewolf who turns out to be Brian.