Scott Grimes, host of ‘Totally Ranked’ and ‘People Don’t Forget’ came by to break down why he’s been in love with teen TV since he was old enough to have control of the remote. We even shared a few favorites within the genre like ‘The OC’ and ‘Life As We Know It’ (IYKYK). His favorite era of them all was the 2000s, and I have to agree as a lot of my personal favorites came about during that time. However, not all of them did. There were a couple of ‘90s classics that rounded out my top picks. So let’s find out what they are!
If ‘South Park’ was responsible for the number of f-bombs kids said in the ‘90s, then ‘Daria’ was as responsible for the amount of sarcasm in which we delivered them. The monotone, no fucks given ways of the titular character made her an instant icon to those who broke out with hives whenever they were required to attend a pep rally.
Despite leaving fans forever wondering WTF happened with that season finale that turned out to be a series finale, ‘Moesha’ was very much a solid serving of teen television up until that point. Even when the characters went from high school to college and we lost a friend to a spinoff series, it still worked. At least for me.
Boy Meets World
Speaking of going off to college, ‘Boy Meets World’ followed Cory, Shawn, and Topanga from middle school through their college graduation. That’s not easy and I’m not sure a show would get away with that today seeing as our attention spans are now designed to handle nothing longer than a TikTok video. Nevertheless, ‘Boy Meets World’ was made in a way that will never cease to connect with audiences because as much as costumes, sets, and references could date it – all of those elements come in second to the way the writers beautifully constructed a series that deliver timeless stories of adolescence, friendship, family, growth, and more.
Where was ‘Sex Education‘ when I was younger? It’s not like I was sexually active in high school (or college…) but it would’ve been nice to be a hell of a lot more prepared. That aside, what I love most about this show is the vast variety of characters. There is not just one type of person on this show. Unlike a show like ‘Pretty Little Liars’ where they’re all basically modern-day Disney characters, where the only thing that changes are the skin tone and hair color.
Growing up I watched enough of ‘Lizzie McGuire’ to know the jist, but it actually wasn’t until the pandemic that I sat down and fully took in the wonders of this show. It had its sillier moments but man, did it capture the essence of middle school from the jealousy we face when the popular girl never fails to get what she wants to the embarrassment of shopping for a bra for the first time.
I came of age in the 2000s in a small town in the middle of the desert. So an era and a world away from when and where ‘Derry Girls’ is, but that’s why I, Scott Grimes, and Dustin Holden all love this genre of television. You can swap out the time and place, and the core elements of the teenage experience are still very much the same. Whether you’re a fat kid in the US in 2002, or an Irish teen in the middle of The Troubles.
Never Have I Ever
Devi may just be one of the most frustrating characters I’ve ever seen, but that made me love her more for some reason on ‘Never Have I Ever.’ Perhaps because she’s a constant reminder that when you’re in high school, you think you know everything but you really don’t. However, you also learn as you get older – you never really know, do you?
Maya Erskine, Anna Konkle, and Sam Zvibleman created ‘Pen15,’ a show I think is the purest love letter to the 2000s, female friendship, and the teenage experience that ever was and ever will be. Many view it as the cringiest thing they ever tried to watch, but I just see it as a reminder of a chapter in all of our lives in which we were all awkward and confused about who we were while also trying desperately to figure it all out.
Like Scott Grimes said, if it wasn’t for some certain aspects of its content – ‘Big Mouth’ would be the ideal series to show in health classes across the world. I was 30 when it premiered and after six seasons and counting, I’m still learning about the chaaaaaaanges in my life.
When it comes to teen television, no one will ever be able to change my mind that ‘Degrassi’ is the GOAT. You can read more about my love of the series right here.
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