Three Netflix series that capture teen lives

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Natalie Gallegos, Writer

As teens, we have our struggles and sometimes find ourselves questioning if anyone has ever gone through the same obstacles. Perhaps you feel you’re misunderstood, ignored, insignificant or targeted because you don’t quite fit in with the masses. Netflix offers three poignant series that will make you realize you’re clearly not alone. Tackling issues from bullying to gun control, these three series speak to topics that teens experience with great acting, direction and honesty, not mention some funny moments that will help you take it all a little less seriously.

1. Everything Sucks

Everything Sucks is a series that takes place in the 90’s. Three smart, charming but nerdy freshmen in the Audio Visual or AV club, try to make their mark at their school while trying to figure out their complicated lives.

The plots revolve around Tyler, McQuiad and Luke who is drawn to the principal’s daughter and member of the AV club, Kate, who a shy and mysterious girl. Kate is secretly gay and struggling to come out due to fear of being judged. Drama club “stars” Oliver and Emaline provide the foils to the group’s hopes and dreams. They despise the AV club. But when their performance props are ruined, the AV and drama club come together to create a Sci-Fi film that may redeem them all.

This show touches on subjects such as bullying, discovering sexuality, being a single parent and more. Both funny and painful, the show guides us through a variety of outcomes that finally reveal that teen decisions are never easy to make.

2. Freaks and Geeks

Freaks and Geeks is about 1980’s, but the teen conflicts and social encounters represented transcend eras for a show that is more about the awkward moments we all must endure to find ourselves and our tribe. After her grandmother’s death, Michigan High School’s Lindsey Weir, a straight-A student and former participant of the ‘Mathletes’, feels very alienated and finds herself fitting in with the “freaks”, a crowd of rebellious misfits who are not understood and deal with everyday struggles.

The freaks are  Daniel (James Franco) is friendly yet wildly reckless, Nick (Jason Seagal) who dreams of musical fame, Ken (Seth Rogan) and Kim (Busy Phillips) as that annoying inseparable couple we all know and kind of hate. The “geeks’ are Sam Weir, who is Lindsey’s younger brother, and his two protective best friends, Neal and Bill, all who are constantly bullied throughout the show, but they find ways to maintain their dignity, often illustrating that they are far more admirable than the “cool” kids, even if no one recognizes it but us.

This series speaks on the struggles of acceptance, bullying, home life struggles, and navigating the landmines others set up for us when all we’re really trying to do is find acceptance.

  1. The Fosters

Stef and Lena Foster, are a lesbian couple who are parents to Stef’s biological son Brandon and two adopted twins, Mariana and Jesus. Stef and Lena have agreed that when their oldest son Brandon moves out, they will take another foster child in, but when the couple open their home to 16 year old Callie Jacobs, a troubled teen who had an unstable childhood growing up, home-life for the Fosters begins to change. Callie’s younger brother Jude is still living at their old, abusive foster home and Callie is willing to do whatever it takes to keep her brother safe.

Every episode speaks to different emotional and social issues. Each character deals with their own struggles such as, women’s empowerment, gun control, sexuality, the foster system and more. The show delves into diverse issues, often from a teen’s perspective, while exploring the complexity of life in an alternative family. Due to divorce and other issues, considering many teens members of a family that is not of the traditional mom, dad, two kids, dog and cat variety, most of us will find something to connect with when watching this series.

Though there are people our age represented in a variety of films or T.V. series, few of those productions portray what it’s really like to be this age or offer us any real reflection of our experience. Yes, these series are fictional and they don’t answer all our questions or help solve all our problems. Yet, there’s something to be said for realistic depictions of life, in this case teen life. When we watch authentic, realistic accounts of our experience, we feel heard and seen. That matters.