Entertaining? Sure. Realistic? Far from it.
Suppose teen girls could tell their own stories as some of high school's biggest challenges played out in their lives? That's what will happen tonight and every Monday night at 10 pm EST over the next six weeks as WE tv airs High School Confidential.
Fast Times at Northwest High
A compelling and candid series that follows 12 girls from freshman to senior year, High School Confidential is the work of fortysomething single mom Sharon Liese. Inspired by her own daughter's entry into Northwest High School in Overland Park, Kansas, Liese wanted to make sense of four emotional years of growth and change. To accurately depict the issues that face nearly all high school girls, Liese began documenting the lives of students willing to participate.
Caught on Tape
From 2002-2006, Liese captured over 500 hours of footage that dealt with sex, drugs, relationships, eating disorders, depression, peer pressure, self-mutilation and social cliques. As the participants age, we see them morph from girls to women and we witness their changes in attitude and behavior.
What Liese herself couldn't film, the girls recorded themselves with video cameras she provided. The group includes a homecoming princess, a party girl, an art geek/misfit, an overachiever, an anorexic/cutter, a girl trying to recover from a parent's death, and a devout Christian who attempts suicide.
|Sisters Justine and Courtney|
© Photo courtesy WE tv
Juno in Real Life
Tonight's episode is a real life version of Juno; it tells the story of Courtney, her younger sister Justine, and the family's reaction to the news that Justine is pregnant.
After seeing last week's episode about Lauren (the girl next door diagnosed with a brain tumor) and Cappie (the party girl unsure of where her life is going), my 16-year-old daughter Jaye and I scheduled this as appointment TV for tonight; we're making popcorn and seeing High School Confidential together.
Talk about teachable moments - this is the real deal. Get your parent - or daughter - to watch with you. Maybe you'll talk afterwards. Maybe you won't. In either case, I can't think of a better way to initiate a conversation about what really happens in high school and how to handle the pressure.
High School Confidential is honest, it's sensitive, and it respects the girls as subjects. It doesn't box them into stereotypes the way so many other reality shows do on MTV and other networks. We tv debuts Episode 2 tonight and will repeat it several times throughout the following week. Check the schedule if you miss tonight's broadcast.