Fake Tan, a Mean Girl Personality, and a TV Lifestyle: Who do you think you are? Snooki.

Fake Tan, a Mean Girl Personality, and a TV Lifestyle: Who do you think you are? Snooki.

I think it is safe to say we like the celebrities who play the roles in our favorite shows. In a recent episode of Glee when Quinn cheated on Sam, we felt angry. In Pretty Little Liars, some breathed a sigh of relief that when Toby Cavanaugh wasn’t guilty for murdering Allison after all. Viewers tend to have a personal attachment to celebrity. If they mess up though, viewers lose their faith. For example, Two and a Half Men star Charlie Sheen is in a little bit of a hole with his career. Checking himself into rehab after committing some “nefarious deeds”, viewer’s really start to question the actor’s show they have been tuning into for the past week nights for a good laugh. In Sheen’s case, his show isn’t exactly the cleanest, but he took it to the next level by bringing some of those behaviors, and maybe even some worse ones, into his personal life. Recently, Two and a Half Men has been cancelled due to Sheen’s continuous display of bad behavior. This personal attachment that we feel with these kinds of characters, especially seeing them in their personal lives, make us believe we can act like them without consequences.

Whether you are watching Pretty Little Liars for an answer to the episode-to-episode intriguing mystery or for the cute outfits the girls wear, we, as viewers, are observing these character’s behaviors. With the focus on shows Greek or the Secret Life of the American Teenager especially targeting certain age groups, these celebrities are looked at as role models in these shows we love. But, should we be?

“Did you see that crazy party on Jersey Shore last night? Sammi is leaving for sure!” I log onto Facebook Thursday nights and see at least half of the social networking world posting status’ about the most recent episode of Jersey Shore followed up by lunch table talk about what happened on Friday, and then pictures posted to Facebook from parties following the weekend. As teenagers, we sometimes get wrapped up in the drama of ten intensely tanned people, going out and partying every night in clubs. Although we, as viewers, wouldn’t want to be trailed with cameras going to a club, shows like this show every character with a drink in their hand. After a weekend like this, with a follow-up of photos appearing on Facebook, I feel like our own school has its own episode going on. If you don’t feel like this is true, State police are currently investigating the Facebook scandal in Beaver County.  An anonymous user, created the page posting inappropriate photos of girls ages fourteen thru eighteen from in the county. This cyberbullying incident is being noted as “vicious high school gossip gone digital.”

One thing television and the movies are good at is making situations in life appear easier than it seems. In 2008, ABC Family aired Secret Life of the American Teenager. The show began by portraying the life of fifteen-year-old Amy Juergens finding out she is pregnant after a mishap at band camp. It started out as representing teenagers lack or experience and maturity with sex, but as the seasons continued, more people were intrigued. Prior to the airing of the show, teen pregnancy ratings had been decreasing since 1991. Between 2005 and 2006, right before the shows airing, teen pregnancy rates increased by three percent and said to have climbed to six percent due to the influence of The Secret Life of the American Teenager. Sex eventually became so casual and nonchalant in the show and it helped support the increase of those that would imitate the show’s behaviors.

Popular shows display bad messages, and model bullying and unneeded drama. A similar scenario comes to life in the 2004 movie, Mean Girls; in which a clique of girls influence other people in their school to ‘obey’ them and bully everyone else they don’t care for. This kind of behavior in movies with our favorite actors, like Rachel McAdams or Lindsay Lohan, makes it look easy to bully with little consequence, yet we as viewers don’t think like that. In recent years, been teenage girls have killed themselves over instances of cyberbullying and numerous types of drama.  I don’t think we realize as students how much our actions can really hurt someone. No matter if something starts out small or as a joke, it can easily get carried away and be emotionally damaging.

Remember to first think, and don’t get caught up in the fantasies of TV.