Television shows the “pretty” of ugly realities

Shows such as Gossip Girl and Euphoria shed light on negative behaviors.

Evie Smith

Shows such as Gossip Girl and Euphoria shed light on negative behaviors.

Evie Smith, Reporter

Teenagers are used to seeing drug use and abuse in a manner that normalizes it. They seek the experiences characters have. The problem is that television shows and movies glorify these issues and make it seem like the acceptable, ordinary situation. 


Shows and movies will make characters seem relatable. This generates issues because they will use conventionally attractive people to portray these abusers, or add flare to make drug use seem like an aesthetic. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, over 67,300 people in 2018 died of a drug overdose. Teenagers are put under extreme pressure from society to do what is normal. If these shows and movies are showing that these situations are normal, then that is what viewers will adapt to. Teenagers will get addicted and abuse drugs, but since the shows and movies portray that as the normal, then they don’t think anything of it. 


Shows and movies will also use conventionally attractive people to showcase abusive relationships, and teenagers watching will find the abuser attractive and desire the relationship. If the characters teens are influenced by are reluctant to leave abusive relationships, viewers will also be reluctant to leave an abusive relationship, and find it okay to stay. People in abusive relationships should feel no obligation to stay. Shows do not capture the victim leaving though, so it seems wrong to get out of these toxic situations. 


There are many different television shows and movies out there that showcase different situations for the characters. Most seem to glorify these bad situations, making them desirable. There are a few shows and movies that show the reality of these situations, but not enough. Teenagers need to see the consequences of these situations and that they are not preferable. The shows can influence young people and make them think all these situations are idealistic, or people fall back into unhealthy habits because they get triggered by all of the situations characters are in that are glorified and made pretty. 


Producers and directors of these shows should be more conscious of their project creation. They are causing teenagers to think unhealthy, dangerous situations are exemplary examples of what is good. These situations may be triggering to recovering addicts or people that were abused in some way. Shows need to include more of the consequences of these situations, and characters getting the help needed. The glorification and beautification in television shows and movies needs to end. The damage brought to teenagers is too great to continue only highlighting the pretty aspects, and not the ugly reality.