Friday, August 10, 2012

The OC -- Selling Teen Sex, Or Not?

Have you seen The OC? Yes, I am way behind on my television watching. Recently, though, I have been watching this fascinating show in the company of my 22 and 23 year old daughters. It concerns a group of friends and relatives living in the wealthy conclave of Newport Beach who are visited upon by a young man from Chino named Ryan Atwood. Ryan is thoughtful, a little haunted, worldly-wise, sensitive, and, yes, a hottie. He could also be the U.S. Ambassador to Iran, so sensible and skilled at bringing together warring factions he is.

Anyway, you have this dude Ryan making his way around Newport in his white tanks, with other attractive youths, both male and female, swarming around him and so -- here comes the teen sex.

Now, many people would say this show sells teen sex. You have all these very attractive "teens" -- most of whom are actually played by people in their 20's -- in various sexual situations. Sometimes making out. Sometimes more than making out. Kind of appealing to a 16-year-old, right? I mean, I have never seen anyone plant one onscreen like that Ryan person. Except for Chris Bruno in "The Last Of The Romantics", which is probably the sweetest movie kiss ever. But, I digress.

When you really look at what happens, though, could this show actually be doing the opposite of selling teen sex? Ryan gets a beautiful girl pregnant and she tells him the baby is not his so that he will go to college and have a bright future. She is a strong and selfless person, who really shows that there is some true love for him in her heart. He is strong and selfless, too, willing to give up his plans to be with her. And so we are shown that teen sex is not without consequences -- serious consequences. And then we have the sweet couple -- Seth and Summer -- who also really love each other and decide to have sex. Which is pretty much an unromantic disaster in the beginning. Very REAL. There are also Luke and Marissa. She loses her virginity to him, which makes all the difficulties in their relationship and their eventual break-up just that much harder to bear. I mean, let's face it, teens are emotional creatures just learning to form romantic relationships. Sex is like throwing gas on the fire, and The OC illustrates that in a powerful and human way.

And there is also all the talk about condoms in The OC. As you see, I am giving this subject its very own paragraph. The show's writers are trying to be responsible, I presume, by incorporating the subject of condom usage into the characters' sexual activities. Summer asks Seth if he has a condom on him, for example, before they have their first intimate encounter -- the encounter that ends up being an epic disaster. So, you can look at it this way. Two teenagers. Trying to figure out how to make love for the first time, while simultaneously attempting proper condom usage in the midst of it all. Yeah.

Thanks for taking the time to read this, and for considering this possibility:  Ryan Atwood -- The Anti-Teen-Sex God. And Ambassador to Iran??? ;-)

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