By Marianne Curtis
As a reporter, anything that has to do with media always peaks my interest. As a parent that has three teenage daughters and a ten year old son, teenage behaviour is of personal interest to me. Taking this class has been very educational. I find myself watching my family and thinking that I know why they act the way they do.
Taking on the challenge of watching a teenage based program was not as easy as I thought it would be either. My options included enduring another showing of “Mean Girls”, along with my drooling son. I also considered watching “Malcolm in the Middle”, or “DeGrassi Junior High”, but instead I laughed my way through several episodes of the ’70s show.
If you do not know, the ’70s show follows the lives of six teenage friends, and their parents. Even though the show is set in the ’70s, many of the issues that Eric, Donna, Hyde, Kelso, Fez, and Jackie face are typical of the issues today. From having girlfriends and breaking up to growing up or dealing with their parents – these kids face it all.
Because the show is only thirty minutes long, I took in three episodes to make sure that I had enough information for this report. The major issue in one episode involved Kelso. He found out to that this girl who he had a one night stand with, was pregnant! At first, he was trying to convince his friends that he had slept with this girl. She was very popular and they did not believe that she would give him the time of day. She denied knowing him and Kelso was very disappointed. However, a few days later this same girl barges in on Kelso and his friends to tell him that she was pregnant.
In the beginning Kelso denied that he was a father. But the rest of the group sat down and talked to him. For a group of inexperienced teenagers they proved to be very adult when they explained to him that he was responsible and then he should do the right thing. For Kelso the right thing was to ask her to marry him. She said no. Kelso was relieved but eventually he decided that he would stick around and help her with the baby. I think that Kelso was very adult when he realized that the right thing was not to run away but to stay and try to be part of his child’s life.
One of the interesting side parts of the ’70s show is that one thing that this group of friends has in common is that they are all stoner’s. This I feel, is a very negative portrayal of teenagers because it shows that drug abuse was so rampant in the ’70s that it was OK to portray it in a TV show. Now we all know that not every family in the ’70s openly smoked marijuana or that all teenagers were in fact stoner’s. However showing the show during prime time television in the evenings, gives teenagers ample opportunity to laugh and giggle, then they think that it’s OK to get high.
Then there is the matter of perspective. Eric’s father, treats his son without any respect. He calls him names like dumb-ass, or stupid. I don’t think that this is appropriate way to portray a parent. I believe that if you want your children to respect you, then you should treat them with respect and name-calling is not a way to gain respect. Eric tries to ignore his father but he is not always successful.
During my time watching the ’70s show I was exposed to the sometimes illogical thinking of teenagers and the way they deal with crisis. While the methods that these kids used to get to their final decisions may seem illogical to us adults, it is really obvious that to understand a teenager one must be a teenager. But if you provide them with guidance, and the right tools these hormone filled humans will hopefully grew up to be our next president to prime minister.