Smells Like Teen Spirit

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Should we be surprised that Inception, the year’s biggest head-scratcher of a movie which I GUARANTEE we will be hearing more about at Oscar time, was brutally unseated at the box office by The Other Guys, the Will Ferrell buddy cop parody of buddy cop movies?  It had to happen sometime. Two weekend news items (before we get to why I think teens haven’t the faintest idea how ultra-lucky they are nowadays): 1) English pop singer Robbie Williams  has tied the knot with is longtime GF in Hollywood. When you bring this up at the water cooler and just over half of the people standing around have only a vague recollection of who he is, you can always say “you know he was in that boy band Take That” which either make people think you have a marvelously diverse  pop music background, or they will think you’re a teensy bit geeky, in which case you just blame me. Then 2) we have an obituary today: Oscar-winning actress Patricia Neal passed away at age 84; Neal was perhaps best known for her film and Broadway work and also for being  the wife of Roald Dahl – who wrote James and the Giant Peach. Neal also had an amazing voice and if you’ve ever heard her commercials (or anything else she did) you’d recognize it immediately.
Now, how lucky are teens today?  Well, for one thing they have everything seemingly at their fingertips, for better or worse. Then, they’re the audience everyone is crazy about connecting with – so that means there’s nine zillion percent more fun stuff out there created exclusively for their enjoyment (which explains Justin Bieber). And thus, if for some reason the stuff teens like has somehow — shockingly — escaped you, don’t forget to tune into the 12th annual Teen Choice Awards (tonight 8/7c on Fox) and see for yourself why, in my opinion, teens have it really really good nowadays. This year ‘s show is hosted by the super-popular, super-current, very hot non-teen Katy Perry along with – wait for it – the boys from Glee: Chris Colfer, Kevin McHale, Cory Monteith and Mark Salling. Plus it gets better for the teens and the people who spawned/are related to/ watch TV with/date them because this year, not surprisingly, the show is all about vampires. Like the ones on both the big screen and the little screen and we know already there’s a whole lot of Justin Bieber too. This is a great example of the phrase “know your audience”. Because everyone likes stuff where us regular folk can vote – the PCA’s being of course the best example of said phee-nom. But if you’re reading this and you’re not actually a teen, can you remember life before things like the Teen Choice Awards? When nobody seemed to care about what teens cared about? I do…and I remember being obsessed with several movies that now seem so-so (Ode To Billy Joe, Saturday Night Fever, The Goodbye Girl, The Turning Point, & Grease)  and being obsessed with some TV shows which seem still pretty genius  (Gilligan’s Island,  Get Smart, The Brady Bunch, & The Partridge Family). So when I was a teen, did I ever imagine that anyone would even begin to care about what we liked? Enough to broadcast an awards show about it? Not in a million years.  The truth is, teendom is an awkward stage in your life – for everyone except probably Dakota Fanning and Taylor Lautner. It’s a part of life many of us would like to forget, featuring as it so often did hairstyles, accessories, and clothing choices that might have benefited from a little more scrutiny or in my case, a large bonfire. But now? Teens are quite impressive – they know exactly what they want; they’re very poised and articulate, and when they say “vampire” everyone listens. Including me, which is exactly why I’ll watch the show. You know, as part of some cultural research I’m doing.

Today’s poll:

Guilty Pleasures 101: Which of these escapist reality programs is your favorite:

1)    Keeping Up With The Kardashians

2)    Jersey Shore

3)    Jon & Kate Plus 8

4)    The Simple Life

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