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January 29th, 2005

Sex Talk on TV

This week’s episode of Smallville (yes, you should know by now I watch it) was heavy on the sex. But not just in the way we’ve all gotten used to on TV, but also in the talk on abstinence.

In one scene, Chloe and Lana are talking about sex. Lana admits she’s a virgin, Chloe admits she’s not. And then Chloe proceeds to quote statistics about how 2/3rds of teens under 18 that have sex regret it. It’s, by far, the most uncomfortable, forced scene I have seen on TV in a long time. The thing is, it was totally self-aware, too — Chloe said, “I know I’m going all Afterschool Special on you, but…” Afterschool Special? Does anyone in high school today even know what that refers to? The last time ABC aired an Afterschool School special was… what, 1989?

(Tangent: I so want these.)

Then, at the end of the epsiode, Chloe comes on and pimps out a teen sex awareness web site. Jeez… does Katie Couric have that much power?

Of course, Smallville‘s far from the first show to deal with sex as an “issue.” Every 80’s sitcom got serious at one point or another (think the cliche’d “A Very Special… Blossom… that the whole family should watch, together”). But, this one was the first that actually made light of the fact it was trying to be serious (and c’mon — with the hot Clark-on-Alicia action, it probably convinced more people that sex now now NOW is the answer).

Posted in Television, Movies, and Music

FROM: dave
DATE: Saturday January 29, 2005 -- 8:35:49 am
Was James Dobson listed in the credits?

DATE: Saturday January 29, 2005 -- 11:32:10 am
So this is how all the girls get the idea that premarital sex is a bad thing. Stupid super-heroes.

FROM: Huyen
DATE: Monday January 31, 2005 -- 11:17:30 am
That poll did not say where they took the representative teen sample- sounds like upper middle-class America. I wonder if they polled any of the urban population or the teens who are making up the statistics for teen pregancy and early high school drop outs? Maybe they polled only one location but none of the sample information is provided so how do you know it is a good representative sample of teens today?

FROM: Ryan [E-Mail]
DATE: Monday January 31, 2005 -- 4:48:01 pm
But Chloe wouldn't deceive us!

FROM: Joseph
DATE: Wednesday February 2, 2005 -- 12:15:01 pm
Not all the girls. Ken, you've got to try harder.

I knew a lot about sex as a teenager--a lot. Between the encyclopedias and a couple of porn mags in my brother's stash. Actually having sex? Nope. But if polled, I would have (and probably did) say yes. If someone from my church would have asked face to face, I would have said no, regardless of the truth.

The truth is, I think I knew more about sex as a teenager than I do now.

As a teen, I never trusted any heavy handed moralistic message about sex that came from the TV anyway. The scenario was always so unrealistic. Here was a teen weighing a sexual opportunities calmly and rationally and reaching a reasoned decision about what they would do and how that decision affect their character. I mean, who did that as a teen? Lack of opportunity usually kept us all free of sin (except for the kind of sinning one does on their own, over and over again). Maybe the kids have more opportunities for non solo encounters these days with all the adults working.

What is this then?

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