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Teen shows in the 2000s vs. now

Paramount Pictures
“Mean Girls” (2004) is a classic 2000s film, loved by many.

Many people feel indifferent about teen shows nowadays, yet, whenever a classic 2000s teen screenplay is shown, it always receives positive reviews and comments about nostalgia. What differentiates teen movies and series from the 2000s versus now? How have they changed throughout the years? 


Rue in “Euphoria” (2019 – present) deals with several mental health disorders such as OCD, anxiety, ADHD and more. (The Reasonable Bunch, A24)

A shift to more serious themes

During the 2000s, most teen shows focused on aspects of love, friendship, and family; they usually followed a main character seeking love, involving a classic love interest who could provide a more dramatic air and added romantic humour. 2000s teen shows developed friendships, sometimes also focusing on familial relationships, by forcing the characters to work through a variety of conflicts. These shows focusing on themes of love create an innocent and lighthearted atmosphere quite unlike teen shows now. Teen shows nowadays have moved away from developing relationships between characters, instead focusing on solving the internal conflicts of each character. This usually creates a more serious mood and darker tone since they may focus more on aspects of mental health and identity. 


Cinematic changes

Another reason that widens the gap between teen movies and series in the 2000s versus now is the visual style of how they were displayed. Teen shows in the 2000s were usually bright, popped with colour and bold fashion choices for the characters. It created a unique style and made the show feel more humorous and happy. Now, teen shows typically use filters that subdue the colour and brightness of scenes. While this does create more realism in the show, it also creates a more serious and less bright tone. Filmmakers now also usually choose more dramatic shots and cinematography, adding to the more serious tone.


Technology plays a large role in “Do Revenge” (2022), causing conflicts between characters while also providing them solutions. (Netflix)

The prominence of technology

One last reason that differentiates the two is how technology is portrayed. In the 2000s, the representation of technology was extremely minimal; if technology was shown, it usually involved characters using landline phones, pagers, etc. Due to social media not being as popular yet in the 2000s, references to social media rarely occurred or were insignificant to the plot. Currently, characters using technology in shows is extremely common. Depictions of social media, smartphones, and more are constantly shown in shows today; it is probably harder to find a movie or series nowadays that does not display technology often. While this does create a better connection with the audience, it also lowers the value of these shows in the future when these forms of technology are seen as “outdated”. 


Although there are many differences between the past and present for teen shows, many agree that teen movies and series are still almost always fun to watch. Whether they were released 10 years ago or even just yesterday, they are a nice way to pass the time!

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About the Contributor
Joanna Joseph, Contributor
Joanna Joseph is a contributor for the Kingsley Voice. She has been a part of the team since 2023.

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