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I Still Can't Believe Teen Shows Handled These 17 Moments So Irresponsibly

Some issues just shouldn't be wrapped up in 30-minute episodes.

We recently asked the BuzzFeed Community to tell us examples of teen shows handling serious topics badly. Here are some of the eye-opening responses:

🚨 Warning: Spoilers ahead!! 🚨

Note: The following contain mentions of sexual assault, eating disorders, suicide, and other sensitive topics.

1. First, when Blair had a miscarriage and it was basically just never mentioned again on Gossip Girl:

Blair's doctor tells her she lost the baby
The CW

"It was as if every character forgot that she was ever pregnant. It just affected her for a day and then everyone magically moved on."


2. When Hannah and Mona's eating disorders were never properly addressed on Pretty Little Liars:

Alison tells Hanna she knows a way to help her feel better, leading to her becoming bulimic

"They had all these little throwaway lines about how they starved themselves to look the way they did and it was never addressed."


3. When Becky brought a gun to school on Glee:

Becky pulls a gun out in Sue's office, "I was scared and wanted to protect myself"

"They just used Becky to do PSA against gun violence and school shootings. If they had really wanted to make an impact then they should have used a random character, not Becky. It still leaves a sour feeling in my stomach."


4. When Brick's statutory rape was used just for laughs on Insatiable:

Brick and another character's mom hook up

"What a mess!"


5. When Cheryl attempted suicide and never received any help afterward on Riverdale:

Cheryl plunges into the icy river on "Riverdale"
The CW

"Nobody goes to an adult and Cheryl never gets therapy for her serious trauma."


6. When the severity of Marley's eating disorder was never properly addressed on Glee:

Ryder to Marley: "I don't want to kiss a girl who's got puke on her breath"

"They skipped over it so quickly."


7. When Aria and Ezra's student-teacher relationship was completely romanticized on Pretty Little Liars:

Aria and Ezra tell her parents they're in love

"It's so irresponsible for adult writers to romanticize student-teacher relationships on teen shows like this. You can’t suggest to teenagers that it’s romantic if a teacher makes advances toward them."


8. When Spike attempted to rape Buffy and it was used for his character development on Buffy the Vampire Slayer:

Buffy and Spike talk about the assault, Spike says he's changed
The WB

"Buffy did a really good job of portraying depression and numbness in Season 6, but one thing I’ve never agreed with is using Spike’s attempted rape as a way of advancing his own plot. There were a few instances of her flinching when he was around afterward, but it was ultimately discarded in favor of Spike getting a soul. She even left her younger sister in his care after the attack."


9. When Kelly's friend Amanda's eating disorder was resolved in one episode on Beverly Hills, 90210:

Kelly says her mom used to pop diet pills and that they "murder your personality"

"Kelly's friend was explained as being so mean because she was taking diet pills and had an eating disorder. Both problems were immediately solved by the girls being her friend and bringing her some cookies. Her character was never seen on the show again."


10. When Betty's mental health issues were explained by her having the "serial killer gene" on Riverdale:

Alice and Polly tell Betty she has the serial killer genes
The CW

"Betty obviously has some sort of mental health issue, but they explained it as her having the MAOA gene, or the "serial killer gene," as they called it."


11. When Sabrina blackmailed the jocks with photos of them making out after the witches tricked them into believing they were kissing girls instead of each other on The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina:

Sabrina and her friends with camera

"Consent is really not handled well on this show."


12. When Emma's OCD was portrayed stereotypically and treated like a joke on Glee:

Emma scrubbing individual grapes before she eats them

"It was highly inaccurate and harmful. Emma’s mental health was treated as a joke most of the time and I personally felt like she was always being mocked or her OCD was the punchline. Mental health representation is important, but I think Glee did more harm than good here because it served to further the stereotype that all people with OCD are just health-obsessed and that OCD is just constant handwashing, when it is so much more than this."


13. When Maya was framed as being in the wrong for protecting Tristan from a predatory teacher on Degrassi: The Next Generation:

Tristan says Maya shouldn't have "blabbed" about his relationship with Mr. Yates

I actually thought this was the best the show had handled a student-teacher relationship so far, but I still felt like they dropped the ball in the end. Tristan's initial anger and hurt was portrayed realistically, but I think the writers needed to make a clearer point of emphasizing that Maya ultimately did the right thing protecting him. Having her apologize to Tristan for reporting Mr. Yates just left a bad taste in my mouth and sent a weird message.

14. When Landon woke Hope up from her sleeping beauty curse by kissing her in her sleep, even though they had just stated the importance of consent in the previous episode on Legacies:

Hope says a non-consensual kiss is never the answer, Landon kisses her in her sleep the next episode
The CW

This wouldn't have bothered me as much if they hadn't made such a big point of emphasizing how a "non-consensual kiss is never the answer" in literally the previous episode with Josie and Hope.

15. When Nathan was implied to have purposefully crashed the race car, and then never received any serious help in the aftermath on One Tree Hill:

Nathan crashes race car and almost dies
The WB

"They were like 'he did this on purpose' and 'he didn’t brake when he crashed' and then Nathan tells Peyton he’s not sure if he aimed for the wall, but that 'he feels differently now' and it was never addressed again. He went through other bouts of depression too and never went to therapy except couple's therapy with Haley. Boy needed serious counseling."


16. When Chuck punched the glass and left a cut on Blair's face on Gossip Girl:

Chuck grabs Blair and punches glass window behind her
The CW

"It was basically domestic violence, but they were just like, 'Oh, he didn’t mean to hurt her' and then two episodes later they had this dramatic reconciliation."


17. And finally, the entirety of 13 Reasons Why:

Hannah before her graphic suicide scene

"I don't think there's a serious topic they haven't tried working into the show and they've basically mishandled every single one."


Do you know of another poorly handled teen TV show moment that wasn't included on this list? Tell us about it in the comments below.

Note: Submissions have been edited for length and/or clarity. Not all submissions were from Community users.

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