Product placement is being taken to an entirely new level, and I'm not talking about the obvious shot of the updated VW Beetle in the new Bond trailer. Now, in addition to the plethora of product placement that the TV slams down our unsuspecting/suspecting throats, there is a recent move towards "Safe Sex Product Placement," as reported by NPR recently.
Television teens have been acting naughty for long enough and the group The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy wants to put an end to plot lines about babies making babies, or at least help depict some reality in the situation. As the story reports, The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy is a not-for-profit organization on a mission to make television teens get real about safe sex. They have contributed to storylines for television programs such as Raising Hope, a sitcom about a one-night stand that ended in pregnancy, as well as Glee and Parenthood.
The organization is not so much writing the stories for the shows but submitting qualified data to assist in the writing process. Such data gives television writers more of an insight into the life of a teen and the need to wear a jimmy hat.
"These teenagers specifically said: Well, no one on TV uses condoms. And I remember thinking: Wow. We really need to do a better job of representing life" -- TV executive Gina Girolamo
As someone who has been religiously watching teen dramas since the genre was invented (don't judge), I both love and hate this idea. Obviously, on a socially conscious level, inserting pro-safe sex messaging into a television show viewed by impressionable high schoolers is a worthy cause. On the other hand, who doesn't love a hot-mess teen pregnancy plot line?
On the third hand, what took them so long? Television teens have been screwing around unsafely for years and it's caused a lot of ruckus in their lives.
Christine "Spike" Nelson, Degrassi Junior High
Despite Spike's friends trying to persuade her that you can't get pregnant the first time you have sex, her one night of co-ed fun turns into bun-in-oven fever. That's what they get for trying to take sex education out of public schools. It is nice to see how supportive her friends are of her condition; however, what is curious is that no one tells her how ridiculous her hair is. Also, I know this show is more than two decades old, but did pregnancy tests in the '80s really take two hours?
Andrea Zuckerman, Beverly Hills 90210
Andrea Zuckerman was destined for greatness. Voted the "Most Likely To Succeed" at the end of high school, she was Yale bound and moving on up to the east side. But that didn't work out so well for her. Instead of an Ivy League life, she wound up a frosh at the same California state school as the rest of her dumb friends, and within one season she was knocked up by a Mexican. The actress who played Zuckerman (Gabrielle Carteris) was pregnant in real life and 33 at the time, so it was a necessary turn of events. Sadly, for Zuckerman, her love child would only bring her divorce, menial labor and a ticket off the show.
Joey Potter, Dawson's Creek
In Season Four, Joey totally gives her big-V to high school sweetheart Pacey, but then totally lies about it to her best friend Dawson, which makes Pacey, like, totally pissed. And then Joey totally thinks she's pregnant, but, like, thank God she's not. But then she totally doesn't tell Pacey about it and so he dumps her. What is going on here?
Those Capeside kids were about one step away from being Mensa members; did they really not wear protection? Richie Cunningham, Happy Days
Forget gonorrhea, syphilis, HPV, hepatitis, crabs, chlamydia, herpes and any other STD you can name, poor Richie Cunningham tries to get some action and he winds up getting mono. Will addressing how teens can avoid this dreaded disease be included in The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy's initiative?
Lorelai Gilmore, Gilmore Girls
Lorelai Gilmore, the matriarch on the long-running dramedyGilmore Girls
, got pregnant at 16, kept the baby and that baby grew up to be snappy, Yale-attending Rory Gilmore. Lorelai, despite being a high-school drop-out, goes on to co-own a successful inn in hoity-toity Connecticut and winds up with the guy of her dreams. Plus, since Lorelai had her daughter at such a young age, they share clothes and pop culture references. This is a bad example of what not to do. In fact, this story makes me wish I had a baby at 16 because now that baby might be supporting me in an early retirement.
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This is not fiction -- these girls really did have babies at 16. Please, someone, teach these girls and their babies' daddies about rubbers. They are still very fertile.
Buffy, Buffy the Vampire Slayer
You think that when you lose your virginity to your boyfriend the worst thing that can happen to you is some STD or a little whippersnapper? You are so wrong. When Buffy finally gives it up to boyfriend Angel, he turns into a sadistic, blood-sucking, evil, ancient vampire named Angelis. I'll take the clap over that any day of the week.