22 Times Teen Shows Romanticized, Glossed Over, Or Just Irresponsibly Handled Serious Topics

    Please cool it with the student-teacher relationships.

    Teenagers make dumb choices. This is nothing new, and it's not surprising when it happens on teen shows.

    But some storylines take this way too far, to the point where it feels really damaging and irresponsible to present to kids. It's totally fine to portray real, sometimes upsetting issues that teenagers face — we should talk about difficult topics! However, it's also important to handle these stories with care and consideration.

    Here are 21 teen show storylines that just totally missed the mark:


    Content Warning: Some of the following contain mentions of sexual assault, suicide, and disordered eating.

    1. First, Marley’s eating disorder being glossed over on Glee:

    Ryder tells Marley he "doesn't want to kiss a girl with puke on her breath"

    2. Everyone thinking it was "cool" that Ryder was molested by his babysitter as a kid on Glee:

    Artie: "As in a teenage girl? Why are you ashamed of this?"

    3. CeCe/Charlotte turning out to be trans as a “twist” and it being used to explain her evil actions on Pretty Little Liars:

    CeCe is revealed as the villain

    4. Bryce's "redemption" arc in Season 3 of 13 Reasons Why:

    Ani defends Bryce and says he was a "human being who was actually trying to change"

    5. Tristan consistently making anti-bi remarks that were never called out or framed as wrong on Degrassi: Next Class:

    Tristan calls Miles a "manwhore" and says "Is there another name for someone who humps anything that moves?"

    6. Nathan’s suicide attempt being glossed over on One Tree Hill:

    Peyton asks Nathan if his accident was really an accident, Nathan says he doesn't know

    7. And the same happening with Cheryl in Riverdale:

    everyone screaming as a crying Cheryl falls through the ice

    8. Age-gap romances being portrayed as romantic on One Tree Hill:

    Peyton and Pete Wentz

    9. The eating disorder jokes on Legacies:

    girl: "I'm gonna eat you alive," Lizzie: "Why? So you can throw me up later?"

    10. Landon kissing Hope in her sleep only an episode after Hope mentioned that “a non-consensual kiss is never an answer” when it came to her and Josie on Legacies:

    Landon kisses Hope in her sleep

    11. Spike's attempted rape of Buffy being used for character development on Buffy the Vampire Slayer:

    Buffy: "You tried to rape me, I don't have the words," Spike says he doesn't either but he's changed

    12. Chuck trying to assault Jenny and Serena in the pilot and it just kind of never being brought up again on Gossip Girl:

    Chuck assaults Serena and Jenny

    13. Audrey's comments on Aki's potential bisexuality on the new Gossip Girl:

    Aki says he can go to both parties, but Audrey says he has to choose, and later taunts him about "choosing"

    14. Using a scene where police and protesters clash as the backdrop for a sexy/exciting scene on the new Gossip Girl:

    Julien and Obie run from a protest-turned-riot and kiss

    15. Annie committing a hit-and-run and then being blackmailed into an abusive relationship because of it on 90210:

    Annie crying in her car after she hits a man and later kissing Jasper unwillingly

    16. The way domestic violence was portrayed between Jamie and Jeanette on Cruel Summer:

    Jamie and Jeanette

    17. Sue committing “sue-icide” as a joke on Glee:

    Sue fakes a suicide attempt with gummy vitamins

    18. The way Tyler's attempted school shooting was handled on 13 Reasons Why:

    Clay jumps in front of Tyler's gun and begs him not to shoot up the dance

    19. Chuck trading Blair for a hotel on Gossip Girl:

    Jack: "I told Chuck I'd take either you or the hotel, he chose to give me you"

    20. Polo watching Carla and Christian have sex without Christian's consent on Elite:

    Carla and Christian having sex

    21. Jackson treating Lydia abusively on Teen Wolf:

    Jackon physically intimidates Lydia and says she ruins everything

    22. And finally, basically every instance of a student-teacher relationship:

    Aria and Ezra on Pretty Little Liars

    What teen show storylines did you find irresponsible? Tell us in the comments!