Saturday, 4 March 2017

14 Archetypes of Teen TV Dramas

Hello again, my lovely readers. Have you been watching Riverdale? I just started and I feel like I've been transported back to the 90s, when every other show was a juicy teen show. I couldn't be more excited, and it got me thinking about my favorite teen dramas. I thought about the types of characters I tend to like, tend to hate, and tend to want to bone. It was at precisely that moment that a light bulb went off. All of these characters from our beloved teen shows fall into one of fourteen archetypes, and just because I love you, I have compiled this epic list.

1. Katniss Everdeen

Our Katniss Everdeen is the butt-kicking babe. That could mean literally or it could just mean that she don't take no lip from no popular bitches. Katniss Everdeen stands against vampires, cheerleaders, and the forces of darkness.

Katniss Everdeens are usually part of the uncool kids' group and proud of it. Typically class is what separates them from the popular elitists, but on occasion it can just be because Katniss Everdeen is above the golden ones and their bitchy ways.

Other than the relentless 'tude, what makes the Katniss Everdeen a constant thorn in the side for the oh-so-cool ones is that she is smoking hot and often attracts attention of highly sought-after menfolk.

While Katniss Everdeens tend to be heroine figures, there is usually a dramatic, or even traumatic, past event that has given them their grit. This could be getting the call to be a Slayer, or something more mundane, like the death or incarceration of a parent.

Their toughness can be a little grating at times, and in the rare instance, the Katniss Everdeen may seem a tad bitchy. But these occurrences are few and far between and most viewers aspire to be a Katniss Everdeen.

Famous Katniss Everdeens: Veronica Lodge (Riverdale) Buffy Summers (Buffy the Vampire Slayer), Lindsay Weir (Freaks and Geeks), Rachel Berry (Glee), Tyra Collette (Friday Night Lights), Joey Potter (Dawson's Creek), Sam McPherson (Popular), Brenda Walsh (Beverly Hills 90210)

2. Romeo

Remember that brooding Adonis sitting by himself in the cafeteria, writing angst-ridden poetry? No? Problem because he only existed in TV-land, but that made us love him all the more.

Romeo is the hunk of our dreams, and of course, that makes him oh-so unattainable. Usually our Romeos are reformed bad boys, who don't want to let a lady in for fear of breaking her heart. Other times, they are just too tortured by their own neuroses to fully commit to love.

But oh, when they do, it is a romance for the ages. Typically you can tell the age of a woman by whether she loves a Romeo. If she is ready to don a white dress and profess love on a balcony, you bet she's 16 or younger. If she screams at the TV, 'Joey! Why are you wasting your time on this PUSSY?', you can bet she's probably a little older, and more experienced.

Famous Romeos: Angel (Buffy the Vampire Slayer), Ryan Atwood (The OC), Dawson Leery (Dawson's Creek)

3. Taylor Swift

Taylor Swifts are recognizable as the beautiful, often rich, always popular girl. It seems as if her life has no problems at all. This girl walks on puffy, pink cotton candy clouds.

But her perfect life is often a facade for darkness. Lying beneath the shiny, usually blonde, veneer is a secret. It could be anything from an eating disorder to a sexual scandal, like having a promiscuous past at a young age, or cheating on your cookie-cutter boyfriend with his best friend.

While Taylor Swifts tend to be the leading ladies of their shows, their 'poor little rich girl' riff tends to be grating for viewers. Often, we find ourselves rooting for the villainous Regina Georges -- more on them later -- because these ladies own their flaws and embrace them, as opposed to blaming everybody else and expecting everyone to fix our problems.

Famous Taylor Swifts: Marissa Cooper (The OC), Brooke McQueen (Popular), Jen Lindley (Dawson's Creek), Quinn Fabray (Glee), Lyla Garrity (Friday Night Lights), Serena van der Woodsen (Gossip Girl), Julie Taylor (Friday Night Lights)

4. Archie Andrews

If Taylor Swift is the high school queen, Archie Andrews is her king. Like his female counterpart, it seems like Archie Andrews has got it all. Good looks, athletic prowess, and always with a beautiful gal-pal by his side.

Whereas most of the other archetypes have some sort of darkness or secret, it's all 'what you see is what you ge't with the Archie Andrews. His main source of conflict is always external, such as a crippling sports injury, or just too many damn women wanting to get in his Joe boxers. The most angst you'll get is if the Archie Andrews has a flare for the arts, but is worried about turning his back on his jock status.

While some viewers may enjoy the Archie Andrews for aesthetic reasons, typically they are thought to be boring, vapid characters.

Famous Archie Andrewses: Archie Andrews (Riverdale), Brandon Walsh (Beverly Hills 90210), Finn Hudson (Glee), Jason Street (Friday Night Lights), Josh Ford (Popular), Nate Archibald (Gossip Girl), Riley Finn (Buffy the Vampire Slayer)

5. Regina George

Make way, lowly subjects, for the rich bitch. The Regina George has more money, looks and power than most people have in 69 lifetimes, and woe betide you if you get on her bad side. Regina George doles out quite the verbal tongue lashing.

The Regina George's three main concerns in life are me, myself and I. Despite being hella popular and surrounding herself with a gaggle of friends -- or, more accurately, minions -- the Regina George truly does not give a shit about anybody but herself. She won't bat an eye when it comes to stealing her best friend's boyfriend. The Regina George is like the seagulls in Finding Nemo, always declaring 'MINE!', except instead of being adorable, she is terrifying.

While the Regina George usually has a shitty relationship with her parents, that's about the extent of her deep, secret self. The Taylor Swifts or Romeos of the world may have hidden darkness lurking beneath their perfect surface, but darkness is the Regina George's surface. Black is the new black, baby. When you peel back the layers of the onion that is Regina George's personality, you actually often find a softer, more human side.

You will almost always find that the Regina George is a fan favorite. Why do viewers so frequently embrace such an odious villain? It's usually because the Regina George is so unabashedly and unapologetically herself. She makes no excuses and gives zero fucks. Brazen is in, bitches!

Famous Regina Georges: Cheryl Blossom (Riverdale), Blair Waldorf (Gossip Girl), Kelly Taylor (Beverly Hills 90210), Santana Lopez (Glee), Summer Roberts (The OC), Nicole Julian (Popular), Cordelia Chase (Buffy the Vampire Slayer)

6. James Dean

Swoon alert! Somebody get my smelling salts, because here comes the bad boy. To the James Dean, rules are for sheep. He loves nothing more than to be a rebel (without a cause), and he looks oh-so sexy doing it.

But the James Dean isn't all cigarettes behind the ear and fights by the flagpole. He is also a romantic. The key word to describe the James Dean is 'intensity', and that shows in every facet of his personality, whether it's being a badass or loving a woman.

Sometimes the James Dean will love a woman so much, he vows to leave his bad boy ways behind. When this happens, he becomes very similar to the Romeo. However, a leopard can't change its spots, and a James Dean can't pass up a drag race. Almost always, the James Dean will revert back to his rebel self, and that's usually when the break-up comes. Whereas the Romeo will often be the one to end romances because of some bullshit brooding reason, the James Dean will usually be the dumpee because women just can't handle his badassness.

When this latter scenario happens, it is crippling and heartbreaking for viewers. That is because 90% of female fans want to boink the hell out of James Dean. So throw your head back, and let out that rebel yell!

Famous James Deans: Spike (Buffy the Vampire Slayer), Dylan McKay (Beverly Hills 90210), Chuck Bass (Gossip Girl), Puck (Glee), Daniel Desario (Freaks and Geeks), Tim Riggins (Friday Night Lights)

7. Velma Dinkley

Jinkies! You might need to put on your Coke-bottle glasses to spot this shrinking violet. If you encounter a sweet, mega-shy brainiac, you have just stumbled upon a Velma Dinkley.

The Velma Dinkley is hundo-percent defined by her unpopularity. She is the poster-child for uncool, and often an easy target for the wicked Regina George. But while her social life is lacking, Velma Dinkley has loyalty in spades. She is almost always 'the best friend'.

While the Velma Dinkley may not win a beauty contest against the Taylor Swifts or Regina Georges of the world, she usually is pretty dollsome, but hides her attractiveness, sometimes under hideous clothes, always under insecurity. And therein lies the plight of the Velma Dinkley. She is almost always in love with somebody who either has no clue she exists or has placed her square in the Friend Zone. Usually Velma Dinkley is too shy to pursue her love interest, and when she finally works up the lady-balls to do it, he has found somebody else.

The Velma Dinkleys are universally beloved by fans. That's because 95% of viewers are nerdy girls who can totally relate. Any TV producers reading this, take note: we want leading dorky dames!

Famous Velma Dinkleys: Betty Cooper (Riverdale), Tina Cohen-Chang (Glee), Andie McPhee (Dawson's Creek), Carmen Ferrara (Popular), Andrea Zuckerman (Beverly Hills 90210), Willow Rosenberg (Buffy the Vampire Slayer)

8. Chandler Bing

Nerd alert! Allow me to introduce Chandler Bing, the wise-cracking, self-deprecating dude permanently stuck in dork-dom.

These being teen characters and all, you may have noticed a recurring theme of insecure characters. Chandler Bing is at the top of the heap. He is insecure both about his self-perceived lack of physical appeal -- usually our Chandler Bing is a scrawnier fellow and, like the Velma Dinkley, always about his shitty social status. But unlike the Velma Dinkley who just withers into a corner, the Chandler Bing will always attempt to mask these insecurities by perpetually cracking jokes. If he's always laughing at something, often himself, then the popular kids' barbs don't bother him. Right?

The similarities to Velma Dinkley don't end there. Chandler Bing always, always, always pines for a girl (or guy) who is out of his league and doesn't return his feelings. Usually Chandler Bing is braver in his approach than Velma Dinkley, and just dives right in, only to fall flat on his face.

The Chandler Bing is a polarizing character for fans. The more disliked Chandler Bings tend to lay the jokes on a little thick, and making you want to bang the gong or grab the hook. Even when the Chandler Bing stops joking, it's usually because he is overly salty about being rejected and in his vitriol, can treat the object of his affection as, well, an object.

However in other instances, us fans absolutely adore the Chandler Bing. Instead of being full of sour grapes, these Chandler Bings are full of heart. And when they get theirs broken, they own it. But you can't keep a Chandler Bing down for long! He'll pick himself off and dive right back into the nasty fray of love.

Famous Chandler Bings: Kevin Keller (Riverdale), Neal Schweiber (Freaks and Geeks), Kurt Hummel (Glee), Landry Clarke (Friday Night Lights), David Silver (Beverly Hills 90210), Xander Harris (Buffy the Vampire Slayer), Xander Harris (Buffy the Vampire Slayer), Pacey Witter (Dawson's Creek), Seth Cohen (The OC)

9. Lucille Ball

Finally, after all this angst, there's some comic relief! If there's a funny femme who's got you literally got you ROFLing, then you know that you have encountered a Lucille Ball.

Besides being gut-bustingly hilarious, the Lucille Ball is recognized as being either the third or fourth credited chick on the show. That is because unlike the other female characters, there isn't much of a hidden layer to the Lucille Ball. What you see is what you get.

While the humor attempts made by the Chandler Bing often lead to groans, everyone appreciates the chuckles that come alongside the Lucille Ball. That is because she is rarely trying to be funny. She just is and it's usually based upon possessing one or more of these characteristics: dopiness, horniness, or a complete and utter lack of social awareness.

What makes us love the Lucille Ball so much is that nobody can rain on her parade. While many of these other archetypes will collapse in a heap at the slightest problem, the Lucille Ball is too far off in la-la-land to notice, and when she does come back to earth, she truly does not give a shit about what anybody thinks. Who doesn't love a confident oddball?

Famous Lucille Balls: Brittany Pierce (Glee), Harmony Kendall (Buffy the Vampire Slayer), Donna Martin (Beverly Hills 90210), Mary Cherry (Popular), Anya (Buffy the Vampire Slayer), Millie Kentner (Freaks and Geeks)

10. Tyrion Lannister

Looking for a romantic fella to sweep you off your feet, but want to avoid the tumultuous drama associated with a Romeo? Allow me to introduce Tyrion Lannister, the sweetheart who could write a book on how to be the perfect boyfriend.

While every now and then, the Tyrion Lannister is a jock, usually a football player, he always has a flair for the arts. Tyrion Lannisters have been artists, poets, writers, musicians. He is comfortable in his own skin, and usually hangs out on the fringes of a social group, but at his core, the Tyrion Lannister is in a clique of one.

If the Tyrion Lannister sounds too good to be true, fear not. Bro's got problems. Tyrion Lannisters often have less than desirable home lives that they prefer to keep secret from their friends. Or they carry a secret they deem shameful, like being gay, or a werewolf.

When it comes to fans, it's the crush factor that usually separates the girls from the women. Again, if you're fourteen, you probably long for the 'romance for the ages' provided by Romeo. But if you pay your own bills, and live in reality, you want a guy who will both marry you AND show you a thumping good time in the bedroom, and managing to do so without once looking at his own reflection. That's the Tyrion Lannister, and that's why he's a fan favorite.

Famous Tyrion Lannisters: Jughead Jones (Riverdale), Matt Saracen (Friday Night Lights), Nick Andopolis (Freaks and Geeks), Jack McPhee (Dawson's Creek), Oz (Buffy the Vampire Slayer)

11. Stephanie Tanner

How rude! I left the Stephanie Tanner until #11. How dare I? I'll definitely be hearing about this one, because the Stephanie Tanner is our classic whiner.

Life is never fair for the Stephanie Tanner. She is always moaning about things like, 'why can't I go on patrol?', 'why can't I get the lead in the school play?', 'why can't I hang out with the popular kids?', 'why don't you like me, Tim Riggins?'.

I honestly don't think any writer, producer or director intends to create a Stephanie Tanner because she is so universally loathed by fans. Really, I think she's like the middle sister of a Katniss Everdeen and a Velma Dinkley. Like a Katniss Everdeen, the Stephanie Tanner stands up for herself and won't back down -- but where Katniss Everdeen's causes tend to be noble, Stephanie Tanner's tend to be selfish. Stephanie Tanners usually have a similar social status to Velma Dinkleys, but lack the intelligent, loyal traits.

On occasion, when Stephanie Tanners are able to smell the roses and realize said roses are not, in fact, all for them, they can be very sweet. But this soft side is a day late and a dollar short for most fans.

Famous Stephanie Tanners: Dawn Summers (Buffy the Vampire Slayer), Becky Sproles (Friday Night Lights), Jenny Humphrey (Gossip Girl), Mercedes Jones (Glee)

12. Slim Shady

Will the real Slim Shady please stand up? Not likely. Just like Eminem's persona schtick is Slim Shady, my next archetype locks on strong to a certain personality type, and tries his damned hardest to only show said type to the public.

Softer versions include 'the rich guy', 'the allstar athlete', or 'the funny fat guy'. You might think, well hey, isn't the James Dean schtick 'the badass'? No. The answer lies in confidence level. James Deans are confident, and don't have to try to be 'the badass' because they are inadvertently badass. The Slim Shadys are deeply insecure and use this carefully orchestrated mask to prevent people from seeing their real, Marshall Mathers, vulnerable selves.

If there's ever a guy who is 'the bully', he is a Slim Shady. His odious Mr. Hyde personality is an artful partition, preventing others from seeing that, perhaps, he has a lot in common with the kids he picks on. Misogynistic, homophobic bullies usually behave in this manner to hide their own homosexuality.

Usually the Slim Shady's biggest relationship is with his two selves, and thus rarely holds a relationship for very long. Since he can't really be part of a #Team anyone, fans aren't really please standing up and declaring him their favorite character. But the Slim Shady's complex personality consistently provides fascinating entertainment for viewers, and in exchange, they rarely want to burn the Slim Shady at the stake.

Famous Slim Shadys: Moose Mason (Riverdale), Steve Sanders (Beverly Hills 90210), Ken Miller (Freaks and Geeks), Sugar Daddy Bernardino (Popular), David Karofsky (Glee), Alan White (Freaks and Geeks), Larry Blaisdell (Buffy the Vampire Slayer), Smash Williams (Friday Night Lights)

13. Miranda Lambert

You do not want to mess with this scrappy lady. Miranda Lambert does not shy away from a fight. In fact, she seeks them out. Whereas the Katniss Everdeen fights because she needs to, the Miranda Lambert fights because she wants to.

The Miranda Lambert has been a fighter her whole life. She often comes from an abysmal family life, and is always of low socioeconomic status. The Miranda Lambert is usually only accepted in a clique because its members fear her. Just like the Slim Shady, if the first word you would use to describe this girl is 'bully', she is a Miranda Lambert.

Not all Miranda Lamberts are bullies. If you have an activist character, she is a softer version of the Miranda Lambert. But no matter what, she will always keep fighting, often placing her causes above relationships.

At her core, the Miranda Lambert's tough upbringing has left her with very sensitive skin. She is easily offended and that's what causes her to lash out. Her harshness often alienates her from any real fan love.

Famous Miranda Lamberts: Josie McCoy (Riverdale), Faith Lehane (Buffy the Vampire Slayer), Kim Kelly (Freaks and Geeks), Abby Morgan (Dawson's Creek), Lily Esposito (Popular), Lauren Zizes (Glee)

14. Neville Longbottom

Look at this poor lug. You just want to hug him and tell him everything's going to be okay. Indeed, high school life is not kind to the Neville Longbottom. He is the universal whipping boy.

The Neville Longbottom is usually defined as having a lack of any traits that would make somebody cool. He's usually not very attractive or charming or athletic. He is extremely easy cannon fodder for bullies.

In many respects, he is socially in step with the Chandler Bing, but when abused by a demigod of the popular group, Chandler Bing always has a snappy comeback up his sleeve, but Neville Longbottom just takes it. At most, he might utter a meek 'stop it, guys!'.

The Neville Longbottom story arc tends to be him learning to stand up for himself and come into his own. It is very rare for Neville Longbottom to have a romantic relationship, and he is usually reduced to tertiary character status -- unless Judd Apatow is the showrunner. We root for the Neville Longbottom, but rarely is he the protagonist of a storyline.

Famous Neville Longbottoms: Sam Weir (Freaks and Geeks), Artie Abrams (Glee),  Bill Haverchuck (Freaks and Geeks), Jonathan Levinson (Buffy the Vampire Slayer)

There you have it, my lovely readers: my 14 Archetypes of Teen TV Shows. What did you think of the list? Am I missing anyone major? Did I characterize someone as a Velma Dinkley when she is clearly a Taylor Swift? Please post a comment and let me know! I look forward to receiving any and all feedback.

Dish later;