Why 2000s Teen Dramas Should Be Your Next Escapist Obsession

When you feel like life is moving too quickly and you need a break from it all, the world of 2000s teen dramas is the perfect place to go. ‘Gossip Girl,’ ‘The OC,’ and ‘Gilmore Girls’ are perfect for anyone who wants to escape.


Kate Hankin

‘Gossip Girl’ stars Blake Lively and Leighton Meester and is now available to watch on HBO Max.

If you’re anything like me, your teenage years have been a combination of scary politics, confusing social situations, and an ongoing pandemic. Any escape from this whirlwind is welcome, even if it’s just for a forty-two minute episode. Many teens find their escape from the real world in shows about teen life, such as Outer Banks, Euphoria, Never Have I Ever, and All American. These shows are funny, relatable and give teens a break from their own lives. Many teens, however, have not explored a whole subgenre of teen television: 2000s teen shows.

If you’ve ever heard about 2000s pop culture, then you’ve probably heard of the show Gossip Girl. Gossip Girl ran from 2007-2012 and accumulated a significant cult following. The series  follows six wealthy high school students of the Upper East Side through their world of scandal and luxury as they are terrorized by a blogger who goes by the pseudonym ‘Gossip Girl.’ Watch it and you will never again think ‘rich people, they’re just like us.’

Gossip Girl is full of crazy drama, expensive fashion, plot twists, and complex characters to keep you entertained throughout every episode of its six season run. Based on the books by Cecily Von Zisegar and adapted for television by Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage, Gossip Girl is perfect for those who want something to make them completely forget about their own problems. 

Gossip Girl had a considerable impact on 2000s culture. Blair Waldorf (Leighton Meester), one of the main characters in the show, inspired the late 2000s obsession with headbands. The show also made preppy clothes like ties, dress shirts, and pleated mini skirts cool again. A lover of fashion and Gossip Girl, Nora Berisha ’24, said, “The outfits are super cute! Blair always has the best outfits.”

The show was so popular that versions were created all over the world, from Mexico to China. Last July, there was also a Gossip Girl reboot on HBO Max. All six seasons of Gossip Girl and the reboot are accessible with an HBO Max subscription. 

Before Josh Schwartz created Gossip Girl, he made another teen drama about the rich, but in this case on the West Coast. The OC ran from 2003 to 2007 and is a fun, family-oriented show that filled the gap that Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997-2003) and Dawson’s Creek (1998-2003) left in network television. The OC centers around the Cohen Family bringing Ryan Attwood (Ben Mackenzie), a kid from the wrong side of the tracks, into their extremely “comfortable” lifestyle in Orange County, California. The show follows Ryan and Seth Cohen (Adam Brody) as they become brothers and experience high school together. 

The OC was incredibly unique for its time because of Seth Cohen, one of the show’s lead characters. In the 80s, teen drama male protagonists were ‘bad boys’ like Dylan McKay (Luke Perry) from 90210. They rode motorcycles, dated lots of girls, played football, and were popular in school. The OC already had its bad boy with a heart of gold in Ryan, so the creators of the show made the conscious decision to make Seth’s character completely different. 

Seth is a nerdy Jewish boy with curly hair who loves comic books and wears layered t-shirts instead of leather jackets. He’s sweet, witty, sarcastic, and audiences can’t help but fall in love with him. Moreover, Seth’s nerdiness and ability to attract the most gorgeous, popular girl in school (who he’s been in love with since he was 11) greatly enriches the plot line of The OC.  The contrast between Seth and Ryan makes watching them grow close even sweeter. 

The OC is perfect if you’re looking for something laid-back without a ton of ridiculous drama. Anything intense is balanced out with Seth Cohen’s sarcasm and the homey feeling of the Cohen household. All four seasons are currently streaming on HBO Max.

If you’re feeling sick of your bustling New York City life, look into Gilmore Girls to escape to the adorable small town of Stars Hollow. Created by Amy Sherman Palladino, Gilmore Girls ran from 2000 to 2007 and follows mother Lorelai Gilmore (Lauren Graham) and her sixteen-year-old daughter Rory Gilmore (Alexis Bledel). Gilmore Girls, in its seven seasons and four-part Netflix reboot, tells the story of Lorelai and Rory navigating love, family, class, and friendship in their small Connecticut town. 

Gilmore Girls is fast paced and full of cultural references and jokes. Amy Sherman Palladino’s creativity shines through every episode of the show. The characters in the show speak so quickly that scripts for a Gilmore Girls episode were 80 pages long; the average for an hour long television episode is only 40-50 pages. The show’s fast pacing ensures that viewers are never left feeling bored. Gilmore Girls enthusiast and HSAS student Sasha Hamel ’24 said, “I love [Gilmore Girls] because it’s hilarious and has relatable characters.” 

Gilmore Girls fans are all ages; anyone can fall in love with Stars Hollow’s charm and  the characters’ quirks and personalities. Gilmore Girls is also perfect to watch with a family member or friend, considering that it is much more all ages appropriate than a teen drama like Gossip Girl. All seven seasons and the reboot are available to watch on Netflix.

While 2000s teen dramas may seem a bit out of touch with our current lives, watching someone else’s life, no matter how different from yours, can be exactly what you need to take a break. Hopefully, one of these teen dramas will help you escape to another world, even if it’s just for forty-two minutes.

To watch Gossip Girl and the reboot on HBO Max (subscription required), click HERE

To watch The OC on HBO Max (subscription required), click HERE

To watch Gilmore Girls and the reboot on Netflix (subscription required), click HERE

Gilmore Girls enthusiast and HSAS student Sasha Hamel ’24 said, “I love [Gilmore Girls] because it’s hilarious and has relatable characters.”