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Do We Like Shows Because of Their Plots or the Attractiveness of the Actors?

Recently, I watched the first season of Euphoria and, to be honest, I wasn’t all that intrigued by most of the plots. However, I do think that Jacob Elordi, who plays one of the main characters, is a very handsome actor. This got me thinking about how shows I watch are based on how attractive the cast is. For example, when everyone was going crazy over Bridgerton, I hopped on the bandwagon and watched the show. I am a history nerd and I love period-place dramas so I thought that I would like this show. However, I found it unrealistic and not an accurate representation of the time period that they were trying to capture. 

Many people I talk to who describe a show or movie that they are watching make sure to point out how attractive the cast is. I wondered: Are television companies focusing more on how attractive actors are than the actual plots of the shows? Many popular shows that have had a large impact on young people like Teen Wolf, The Vampire Diaries, and Bridgerton all have extremely attractive casts. This begs the question if there is discrimination in the casting of many popular television shows. What sort of messages are television companies sending to viewers by only having conventionally attractive actors included in their shows and movies? Are unrealistic beauty standards being portrayed in movies and television and instilled in young viewers? I recently read an article about Rebel Wilson losing weight in order to be taken seriously as an actress and not solely seen as the funny fat girl. Why doesn’t the media take people of larger sizes seriously? Is it because they deem this unattractive? After reading this article, I started to think about the fact that there are few shows or movies that I have seen where someone who is heavier does not have their weight as a central part of their character. For example, in This Is Us, Kate Pearson plays a woman who is going to a counseling group for weight loss. It seems like television shows feel like they have to explain why they cast people who are heavier by making this a large part of their characters. Where do we draw the line as a society? Is it more important to have a good plot for a movie or show or to have attractive characters who draw the viewer’s attention?

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Jen Schretter

Wake Forest '24

Hi. I'm Jen Schretter and am a Sophomore at Wake Forest University. I love to write about mental health and ways to persevere through the tough times that students deal with at College. Outside of Her Campus I love to dance, spend time with friends, and go on walks in nature.
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