Skip To Content
  • Viral badge

People Still Can't Believe Teen Dramas Got Away With These 22 Inexcusably Problematic Plotlines

There's a difference between presenting something as problematic and sensationalizing or glossing over it.

Recently we asked the BuzzFeed Community to tell us about teen drama moments that are inexcusably problematic. Here are some of the worst:


WARNING: Many of these submissions contain mentions of sexual assault and suicide.

1. When Annie hit and killed a homeless man on 90210 while drunken driving and had very few repercussions.

The CW

"And then his nephew found out and used it to blackmail her into dating him. Eventually, Annie confessed to the crime and got a slap on the wrist for it (a short-lived house arrest that happened between seasons). Yeah, that would never happen in real life."


2. When Tyler was graphically assaulted on 13 Reasons Why.


The way 13 Reasons Why continued to show sexual assault so graphically was intensely triggering and felt like it was used for shock value, especially considering that this scene happened in Season 2 after there was a massive public outcry about the sexual assault scenes in Season 1. They ended the season with Tyler attempting to commit a school shooting so that they could have a strong cliffhanger, then the next season made it seem like Tyler's intense PTSD and desire to kill his classmates was something that could be handled by a couple teenage friends. The ideas they perpetuated in the show were honestly harmful to anyone who watched.


3. When Aria married her TEACHER on Pretty Little Liars.


"Ezra and Aria were always disgusting to me. Just because the teacher was young and hot it was okay? Then they ended up married?!"


4. When Chuck traded Blair for a hotel on Gossip Girl, and they still ended up together.

The CW

"But some reason Blair and Dan were the worst couple on the show? Oh please, give me a break."


Even in the episode after, Blair breaking up with Chuck was instead focused on the fact that she loved him too much and would do anything for him, and they got back together by the end of the season. Chuck and Blair were presented as arguably the most romantic couple on the show, despite the intensely problematic things Chuck did to Blair (including punching glass over her head, causing her to get hurt.)

5. And every time Chuck attempted to sexually assault his classmates on Gossip Girl.

The CW

"Chuck Bass gave no shits about consent. First he tried to assault Jenny in the pilot, and then when they did sleep together in Season 3, Jenny 'gave her consent' but actually could not, since she was a minor. She was at literal rock bottom, trying to go to Nate for help, completely alone and intending to 'save' her virginity for someone she trusted. In comes Chuck and he asks her to have sex with him and she agrees. And the first time he and Blair had sex is scarily similar. WOW IT'S ALMOST LIKE THERE'S A PATTERN."


6. When Pacey slept with his teacher on Dawson’s Creek.

The CW

"She was what, in her thirties? And he was 15. That was disturbing and they tried to make to seem like it was this epic love story. Please..."


7. When Betty did a strip tease to get into the Serpents on Riverdale.

The CW

"It was so inappropriate because not only was it in front of her mom, but also a ton of other random strangers who were all staring at an almost naked TEENAGER. It was also a very sexist tradition."


8. When Lizzie made this offensive joke about eating disorders in Season 1 of Legacies.

The CW

"The amount of fat shaming/eating disorder jokes that the writers slid in there for the first season of Legacies was ridiculous. Both Lizzie Saltzman and Penelope made personal attacks on each other as well as on the other girls and their appearances. Season 2 has gotten a lot better."


9. When Will suspended Marley for refusing to dress in a revealing, provocative outfit on stage in Glee.

10. In The O.C. when Marissa’s mom slept with her daughter's ex-boyfriend when he was literally a junior in high school.


11. When Polo watched Carla and Christian have sex on Elite.


"That was obviously non-consensual since Christian had no idea. He should've been able to decide for himself if that was okay or not."


12. In 13 Reasons Why, when they had a graphic suicide scene and multiple scenes depicting sexual assault.


"They glamorized suicide and showed it in graphic detail in Season 1. In Season 2 they didn’t learn and showed another graphic assault scene. I’m sure there’s more but I gave up on this dumpster fire of a show long ago."


13. When Ryder told the class that his babysitter sexually abused him and Sam and Artie acted like it was the coolest thing they'd ever heard on Glee.


14. On Gossip Girl, when Lily found a sex tape of an underage Serena and threatened to send her to reform school rather than checking in on her daughter.

The CW

"Her daughter was being filmed without her consent in a threesome with a man much, much older, and instead of feeling concerned she was just disgusted with her. Gossip Girl just really didn't care to explore all of the exploitation of its female characters. Literally at all."


15. When Elite glossed over Nadia's racist remarks toward Lu and made them friends.


"Given that Lu never even apologized for her racist treatment of Nadia I think it’s really fucked up that her disgusting behavior was ignored like it never happened."


16. In Glee, when Will planted drugs in Finn’s locker so he would join the glee club.


"This was something that he totally should have been fired for that they didn't even make a big deal about in the show."


17. When Jo and Alaric's twins were transferred to Caroline's womb and it was automatically assumed she'd keep and deliver the babies on The Vampire Diaries.

The CW

"No one asked her what she was gonna do after finding out it happened against her will, because no one even considered that she could have chosen to not go through with it even though it was her body."


Editor's Note: I also want to point out that Alaric was Caroline's TEACHER and they end up getting engaged.

18. When Sikowitz invited his students to SLEEP OVER at his house for an assignment on Victorious??


"Anybody else think it was weird that the students had to go to the teacher's house, potentially for the night, with no supervision? I don't even think there was a permission slip or that the parents knew. Like, that couldn't have been done at the school or something?"


19. When Dan and Serena got married on Gossip Girl after Dan basically stalked her (oh, and they also had a sibling together).

The CW

"He stalked her and all their 'friends' and reported the most private details of their lives for the whole world to see because he wanted attention."


20. When Kelly had multiple relationships with adults as a minor on Saved by the Bell.


"First there was her boss, Jeff, whose lust for Kelly was inappropriate based on two things: age and workplace authority. Then there was her grandfather’s attorney, who was at least creeping into his mid-twenties as he was creeping on a 17-year-old Miss Kapowski. And finally there was Kelly’s cultural anthropology professor."


21. When Nate dated 16-year-old Sage, Dan dated his teacher, Nate had an affair with an older woman as a minor, and Chuck slept with an underage Jenny on Gossip Girl.

The CW

"Up until a certain point, all the main characters hooked up with adults and it was literally never acknowledged as illegal/wrong. Then Dan slept with his teacher and they made a really concerted point of stating that since Dan was 18 it was okay. It was just so painfully hypocritical; it just seemed like the show runners remembered that statutory rape was a thing and jumped on it real quick to cover their asses. That is, until Chuck slept with an underage Jenny and Nate dated 16-year-old Sage."


22. And finally, when Lexie was forced to change in front of Jason and Clark, and Allie told her to get over it on The Society.


"I know that she was trying to keep the peace and she needed the Guard to do that or whatever, but you can’t just do nothing if two dudes who hold quite a lot of power go around sexually harassing people."


Submissions have been edited for length and/or clarity.