I often find it interesting to debate just how "real" so-called reality series like Laguna Beach and The Hills are, given that the lives of these wealthy young people are far from any reality known to most of America. While shows about the very rich provide their share of glamour and intrigue, there are plenty of compelling tales to be mined from the rest of America, especially when it comes to youth culture. One example of this is the documentary film American Teen that I was lucky enough to view at Sundance.
Another is a new reality series debuting tonight on the WE network, High School Confidential. The series, created by Sharon Liese, follows 12 girls through all four years of high school in Overland Park, Kansas. The issues facing the diverse group of girls range from body image and popularity, to disease and depression. Liese describes what motivated her to do the project:
High school can be a really painful, complicated time for a girl. It was painful for me. And what girls are experiencing today in terms of angst, the struggles and how difficult it is to forge your own identity is similar to what women faced years ago.
To find out why I'm crossing my fingers this is a good one, and to see clips of the show
On the one hand, I'm glad we're getting something besides the superficial portrayal of teenage girls who are concerned solely with money and boys. On the other hand, from the preview clips I'm a little concerned that this series might go to the other extreme, becoming mired in the gravity and overwhelming angst of being a teenage girl. Statements like, "This is where I cut myself" in the preview clips should probably be delivered with a serious tone. But why does the girl who says, "This is where I got the lead in the musical" look equally somber?
The project looks intriguing, and I'll just cross my fingers we see some smiles as well tears along the way. Either way, I'm definitely going to check out High School Confidential. What do you think?