Like many 30somethings, Taffy Brodesser-Akner grew up alongside the cast of Beverly Hills, 90210—the show that gave her, “stuck in an all-girls yeshiva in Queens with no prom to speak of,” a chance to have “a real teenage experience.” But why, she wonders, is she still watching today? Addicted, alongside many of her adult friends, to the CW's new generation of teen shows—90210, Gossip Girl, and One Tree Hill, in her case—Brodesser-Akner tries to find answers.
Though the median age for CW viewers is 33.6, she doesn't have much luck in discovering why: The reasons given for teen-show addiction are uniformly shallow (“The characters, the storylines, the CLOTHES,” gushes one 55-year-old feminist). Maybe we’re “all just nostalgic,” Brodesser-Akner writes on the Daily Beast, or “maybe the reason I watch is even more obvious, if somehow more pathetic. When we're back in high school, righting all those wrongs, that means we're not here, dealing with the very grownup world we somehow awoke in.”