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Friday, January 14, 2005


Is it just the shows I watch, or have shows about teenagers gotten rather prudish? Last night's ep of The OC had the parents upset because (a) Seth snuck out to spend a night with a girl and (b) Ryan is dating -- just dating -- Lindsay, who's Kirsten's illegitimate half-sister. Since the Cohens are treating Ryan as their son (have they legally adopted him?), they're mad at Ryan and Lindsay for being in love with each other. Now they feel they can't leave the boys alone for the weekend.

Now, these kids are 17. Ryan spent the summer working a construction job to support the mother of his child, until she tricked him into leaving. Is it so shocking that 17 year old might spend the night at a girl's house? I guess it is.

Oh, and Summer, who's been dating Zach for months, is only now thinking that maybe they should have sex. Apparently she and Seth never did.

When I was 17, my parents had a proper Victorian attitude towards sex: if we don't see it, we don't have to notice it. And that's good for everybody. If my girlfriend was staying over, they let us know when they were going to bed, which meant they didn't come out of their bedroom till the next morning. In return, everyone was supposed to be in different beds in the morning. And we were.

Now granted, Orange County is pretty right wing. But it's still California. I don't believe kids in Manhattan Beach are waiting until they're married.

What's so terrible about 17-year-old kids having sex? They do in real life, y'know. They're having it way younger than they ever did, according to surveys. (And the actors are well over 18!) I'd be worried about my kid having unsafe sex, sure. Or taking rides from kids who've been drinking. But I don't think you can be a responsable parent by trying to forbid your kids from pursuing sex and romance. You're just setting up an expectation you know your kid will flout, probably secretly. In other words you're making your kid lie to you.

Frankly I thought that Sandy and Kirsten behaved like jackasses all episode long.

The other funny thing about the show is how clearly it's written by a 28 year old, one who clearly has never been in a long term relationship. Sandy and Kirsten have a great marriage. And Kirsten's upset because he forgot it was their 20th anniversary? That's something an 18 year old would get upset about. Or people with a bad marriage. If you've been married for 20 years, you don't get bent out of shape over an anniversary. By then you know whether your spouse is good at remembering things. And you know that what's important is the relationship, not the date.


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