Gen Z rejects ambitious ‘Gossip Girl’ TV, UCLA study finds

UCLA found that today’s teens are defying early 2000s TV preferences for unrealistic stories on the “Gossip Girl” level.

It’s a new generation of TV flavor.

A new study conducted by UCLA’s Center for Scholars & Storytellers confirms that modern teens prefer to watch content that deals with real-world issues like strained family dynamics or social justice, as opposed to up-and-coming content about being rich or famous his à la Gossip Girl. .”

In a July study, 662 teenagers ages 13 to 18 from across the United States participated in the UCLA project. The study, titled “CSS Teens and Screens 2022, #Authenticity,” found that 4.4 percent of Gen Zers searched for “desirable content,” while 21 percent preferred to see “real-world issues impacting society (e.g. systemic injustice, climate change, etc.). .)” The top choice for teenagers was “Have fun and escape while watching content” with 37.8 percent of responses.

The recent findings are in direct contrast to research from the early to mid-2000s that fame and financial success were the most important preferences for adolescents. Today, teenagers want stories about “hope, life different from their own, family and friendships.” Superhero stories ranked third choice. Mental health stories ranked fourth.

“Hollywood built its young adult content on the belief that teenagers want glamorous lifestyles and rich and famous characters, but our research shows the opposite is true,” says psychologist Yalda Uhls, PhD, director of the Center for Scholars & Storytellers conducted the research, said. “We know from this study and our Race and Class in Teen TV study that the majority of teens feel isolated and resentful when media lack accurate representations of identity. This is an important change that Hollywood needs to take note of. American youth appreciate media that reflects what they know about the real world, even if they prefer to see people who are different from themselves. Teens want their media to show a world that is truly diverse, relatable characters and heartwarming experiences.”

And the popularity of HBO’s “Euphoria” proves that teens on screen want to see more stories related to themselves. “Euphoria” star Hunter Schafer opened up about TV’s darker dramas like HBO’s “Succession,” saying that darker TV is harder to consume.

“In the last few years, I’ve found that I don’t want to see things about good people,” Schafer told The Cut, speaking to “The Acolyte” actress Amandla Stenberg. “I don’t know if you’ve ever experienced that. I think that’s why ‘Succession’ did this thing with us – because everyone’s just freaking bad.”

The full study can be read here.

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Lindsay Lowe

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