Teen programming: isolation, alienation and emerging manhood

Rebecca Feasey

in Masculinity and Popular Television

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print October 2008 | ISBN: 9780748627974
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748651184 | DOI:
Teen programming: isolation, alienation and emerging manhood

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Television has routinely featured teenagers and the teen experience in a range of talent shows, variety programmes, soap operas and sitcoms, with such programming culminating in the teen television drama of the early to mid-1990s. However, even though the small screen appears to be saturated by the trials and tribulations of teen life and adolescent concerns, the youth demographic has little or no control over such representations. Instead, these depictions of teen life are produced and planned by the dominant adult society, hence these images are deemed appropriate by, and of use to, the wider adult agenda. This chapter offers an introduction to the representation of the teenager and the teen experience on television from the 1950s up until today, focusing on the ways in which such depictions are controlled by the interests of and investment in dominant adult society. It pays particular attention to the ways in which American programmes such as Roswell and Smallville highlight the problems and confusions that are associated with teenage masculinity, using the teen alien as a motif through which to explore those issues of difference and otherness that are encountered by the average teen.

Keywords: teenagers; teen experience; teen television drama; Roswell; Smallville; teenage masculinity

Chapter.  5595 words. 

Subjects: Television

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