The subtle brilliance of the After School Special.

Deleted scenes, commentary, and more.
July 20 2006 7:02 AM

My Dad Lives in a Downtown Hotel

The subtle brilliance of the After School Special.

(Continued from Page 1)

It's a much more realistic ending than the countless, neat teen-pregnancy plot lines of Beverly Hills 90210, 7th Heaven, and The OC, all of which borrow heavily from the mold that Tahse created. But these teens are worldly miniature adults. Even when they mess up, the consequences of their coke habits and eating disorders only seem to last an episode or two. When Tahse's run of After School Specials ended in the late '80s, talk-show hosts such as Oprah, Rikki Lake, and Jerry Springer began to air their own highly sensational accounts of adolescence in the same after-school time slots, instantly making After School Specials seem naive and retro. 

Decades later, they do feel dated but they still seem relevant. Fitting in, peer pressure, drugs, family drama—those are problems for teenagers regardless of era. More often than not, teens in After School Specials made bad decisions, but they were treated as an essential part of growing up. Underlying all of Tahse's shows is an appealing faith that everything would eventually work out, both for his protagonists and viewers at home. So, when Seth Cohen worries that he's stuck in an After School Special, he could actually do a lot worse.



More Than Scottish Pride

Scotland’s referendum isn’t about nationalism. It’s about a system that failed, and a new generation looking to take a chance on itself. 

What Charles Barkley Gets Wrong About Corporal Punishment and Black Culture

Why Greenland’s “Dark Snow” Should Worry You

If You’re Outraged by the NFL, Follow This Satirical Blowhard on Twitter

The Best Way to Organize Your Fridge


The GOP’s Focus on Fake Problems

Why candidates like Scott Walker are building campaigns on drug tests for the poor and voter ID laws.

Sports Nut

Giving Up on Goodell

How the NFL lost the trust of its most loyal reporters.

Is It Worth Paying Full Price for the iPhone 6 to Keep Your Unlimited Data Plan? We Crunch the Numbers.

Farewell! Emily Bazelon on What She Will Miss About Slate.

  News & Politics
Sept. 16 2014 7:03 PM Kansas Secretary of State Loses Battle to Protect Senator From Tough Race
Sept. 16 2014 4:16 PM The iPhone 6 Marks a Fresh Chance for Wireless Carriers to Kill Your Unlimited Data
The Eye
Sept. 16 2014 12:20 PM These Outdoor Cat Shelters Have More Style Than the Average Home
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 15 2014 3:31 PM My Year As an Abortion Doula
  Slate Plus
Slate Plus Video
Sept. 16 2014 2:06 PM A Farewell From Emily Bazelon The former senior editor talks about her very first Slate pitch and says goodbye to the magazine.
Brow Beat
Sept. 16 2014 8:43 PM This 17-Minute Tribute to David Fincher Is the Perfect Preparation for Gone Girl
Future Tense
Sept. 16 2014 6:40 PM This iPhone 6 Feature Will Change Weather Forecasting
  Health & Science
Sept. 16 2014 4:09 PM It’s All Connected What links creativity, conspiracy theories, and delusions? A phenomenon called apophenia.
Sports Nut
Sept. 15 2014 9:05 PM Giving Up on Goodell How the NFL lost the trust of its most loyal reporters.