Teen Shows and the Big Girl Dilemma from Euphoria to Sex Education

It’s hard to deny Degrasi went so HBO Euphoria could ride a bike through a drug-laden strip to the top of the must-see list of critics and fans. Both shows push the high school experience to the WTF frontier. So much so that viewers have to wonder, “Did I go to the saddest school?” Everything from drama to characters reflects each other, but one thing that had to change in the 20 years that separated them was how they treated their larger characters. Teenage shows like these can’t single out big girls as versatile, challenging characters, and in turn dilute their performance by masking a problem many teens face.

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RELATED: “Euphoria” continues to bring high ratings before the finale of season 2


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Being 30 with something Sam Levinson (Euphoria) most likely saw a couple of episodes Degrasi. Not to say he totally built his characters around a Canadian lover, but there is a lot similarities. A troubled guy engaged in illegal activities, a Latin American who embodies the energy of HBIC, and a passionate guy who would pay too much to get all his luggage on the flight. In reality, however, Degrasi Craig (Jake Epstein) was manual compared to the psychopath who is Nate Jacobs (Jacob Elordi). Also, there are big girls who actually were and are pretty average, but by Hollywood standards far from it. For Degrasi it was Terry McGregor (Christina Schmidt), a model from the plus-size catalog became a victim of domestic violence, which is never seen again. Its modern counterpart is fan fiction, which writes fan fiction with perhaps the laziest prehistory of all Euphoria TV series, Kat Hernandez (Barbie Ferreira). So far Degrasi did not delve into the lives of their characters before fans saw them, the HBO series did a great job for 99% of their characters. Again, Kat is not one of them.


The basis of Kat’s whole persona on the show is that one day her family went on vacation and she just fell in love with the virgin pine colada. Yes, not every fairy tale needs a tragic beginning, but when it encounters Ryu (Zendaya) Dead Dad, Cassie (Sydney Sweeney) Dad is a drug addict and Nate’s whole situation with Cal (Eric Dane) – Kat’s background felt uninspired. It was as if Levinson looked at the collection of trails and thought, well, she’s bigger than the other girls, so let’s be simple.

Basic is the best word to describe the lack of interest in any of these characters. Reviewing DegrasiTerry acts as an intriguing and caring man who would do wonders as a legitimate part of the cast if they got older like Paige (Lauren Collins), Brand (Adam Ruger), and Spinner (Shane Kipel) were able to do. Unfortunately, she was badly written off. As for Kat, the virgin drinks were just the beginning when she began to recede a bit into the shadow of the second season of the HBO hit series, despite being as integral to the show as her on-screen counterparts. No one can confirm or deny that these characters were created to tick the box to pass the inclusion test, but in the end – that’s what it feels like.



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Image via HBO

Yes, it’s always great to see yourself in one form or another in a landscape of pop culture, but if it’s the same story? Things stop, not develop. Terry was created on the doorstep of 90s supermodels when the internet was still fresh and low-rise jeans owned the land. So it’s no shock that her character didn’t get the respect she deserved. Kat, however, found herself in the midst of an era of self-love, body-poses. However, her plot was the opposite of them.

Creating this lack of appreciation for the whole presentation has the meaning of a phrase being thrown around. This is a phrase that has been actively used in recent years, which refers not only to race and sexuality, but also body types. So while incorporating characters like Kat and Terry into the story is a good gesture, it gives little opportunity to show them in such a limited light. While Ru explores love, loss and her addictions, fans only see how Kat struggles with her body and how it affects her love life. Half a good lesson to teach viewers that self-love is important, but Kat is the only character in the show left to prepare this lesson. Big girl. It could easily have been in a number of other characters as part of their euphoric journey, but Levinson tied it to Kat because that’s what Hollywood turned out to be.



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Image via FOX

Degrasi did it with Terry, and viewers are no strangers to seeing it in other teen shows as well as in shows where adult women are represented. Joy‘s Amber Riley was mentioned the weight of her character in the first season, because how can you win the Nationals, being bigger? It does not stop there Mike and Molly laid its foundation for weight by meeting the main characters at a meeting of Overeaters Anonymous and NBC’s This is us laid the weight section with Kate Pearson (Chris Mets). She and her future husband on the show also meet in their weight support group. It’s almost as creative as teen writing.

This is not to say that all hope is lost on the small screen when it comes to the inclusion of characters portraying larger women, especially in the teen area. Netflix gets two gold stars for both Sex education and On my block. Sex education gave way to the incredibly smart Vivienne Adusani (Chinenye Ezeudu) yet On my block balanced this with top Jasmine Flores (Jessica Marie Garcia). Their weight has never been a significant part of their history, if at all, and thanks to this they have been able to demonstrate that big girls are not determined by their size. Other things can happen in their lives besides the constant worry of being told to “try Sears” at prom.


These alarms according to the form have always generated images that have been seen in the media. In the early 2000s, you only had screens, both large and small, but as the Internet became as gigantic as it is today, it is given as much as it is accepted. The body-posi movement of recent years has been a blessing to models such as Ashley Graham and Tess Holiday the opportunity to get flowers for being beautiful, but the World Wide Web always has a dark side of poison. Especially if one publication does not fit into a particular box of beauty that society has considered “worthy” in the mainstream culture.


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Thus, the Internet sends ambiguous signals to people that self-love needs to be fought against Internet trolls, and this war is being waged not only by big girls. Every type of teenager will feel depressed at some point in these years of development because hormones are the worst and this is the main problem with teen shows. As wonderful as they are when they fall into tired clichés, it doesn’t allow every teenager to feel noticed, and let’s face it. So why just focus on the big girls to carry this torch, or occasionally have an eating disorder in one of the little girls for no more than two episodes? On my block and Sex education have made some effort to combat this with the help of various actors moving away from typical images, but what they have done should become the standard for future teen shows.


Teenage shows have depended on standard storylines for individual types since time immemorial John Hughes (Breakfast club). Big girls, when given the opportunity, were used as simple companions with some body problems. Now only time will tell whether the future of teen shows will make an effort to make more of their characters bigger. They could make these characters masculine or non-binary, actors larger than average, make the plots of larger characters where the basis is more than the problem of weight.

Degrasi will return to television in 2023. To be precise, HBO. So it will be interesting to see if they write their guilt that Terry is next only for the weight line, and then discard it after the coma so they will never be seen again, and if they can “go there”, as they say, and raise your level of drama to new heights as their fast network sister from another mister, Euphoria.


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