Monday night on the season finale of 90210, Adrianna Tate-Duncan, played by Jessica Lowndes, came to her wits end and found herself on top of a rocky ledge. As she looked down at her friends having fun, she thought of how desperate she felt and considered taking her own life. 90210 just like its predecessor Beverly Hills, 90210 has always tackled social issues with a fierceness that resonates with that generation’s youth. With the recent suicides of teenagers like Tyler Clementi, who jumped to his death from the George Washington Bridge, and Raymond Chase who hung himself in a Providence Rhode Island residence hall in October 2010, there has been an increase in public service announcements geared toward kids hanging in there and knowing they are not alone. Many celebrities are trying to combat the surge in teen suicides and are joining the self love movement by posting video love yourself messages on Youtube, Twitter and Facebook.
In a stark contrast to the positive service announcements is the deep and dark world of reality TV. Reality TV has been run amuck with out of control teens who seem to care nothing about themselves or anything around them. On any given night, you can turn on the tube and find bad girls pulling out each others hair or berating each other on national television. Society has become an even colder and lonelier place, especially for teens who feel that they don’t fit in with the crowd. In the cases of Tyler and Raymond, they both were homosexual students who in some way felt ostracized by those around them. Instead of embracing the diversity, intellect and bright personalities of today’s youth, reality TV has made it seem okay to bully someone to the point that they no longer want to live.
Even though 90210’s Adrianna was mostly responsible for the turn of events that made her a dejected outcast to her once loving friends, at the end of the episode, instead of jumping to her death, she decided that she didn’t want to die. She knew that things were hard, but realized that she could turn things around and that the world was not a better place without her being alive. In a moment, that was both refreshing and empowering, Adrianna turned away from the ledge and walked into a beautiful sky with her life and future in tow. In a whole with teens doing everything to self-destruct each other and making others feel like they have nothing to live for, it was great to see a young woman realize her true value, even though at the time nobody saw it but her.
90210’s season finale proved that even though Reality TV is becoming increasingly popular, it will never have the impact of a cleverly written socially conscious message contained within a script. Nothing could have been said more sincerely. I hope America’s teens were listening.