The Useless Adults — Tropes Thursday


You ever notice that when you’re a teenager that all adults are just useless and incompetent, save for a few.


I’ve been binging on Buffy lately, and literally all the adults except for Giles and Buffy’s mom, Joyce, are downright unhelpful, useless, incompetent, or evil/insidious.

And there are many other examples — every single John Hughes movie, any kind of horror plot where teens are involved. Stephen King’s IT, Hocus Pocus, a lot of the Goosebumps stories, Lost Boys, Hook. Or, where teens are heroes — Power Rangers, Animorphs, Ender’s Game. Cartoons — Rugrats, Fairly Odd Parents, South Park — whose sheriff is illiterate, Avatar and Korra (Bumi, am I right?), Spongebob.


Is this a thing that really appeals to teenagers? Reinforcing that adults are stupid? Or is this something that adults who write these things think will appeal to teenagers. And this is more so on reoccurring themes in a particular author’s work. For instance, incompetent adults, from a teen’s perspective, isn’t something Stephen King writes about all the time. But there is a trend with shows aimed at pre-teens and teenagers such as One Tree Hill, Power Rangers, Animporhs, etc…

But it begs the question, are adults really that stupid and incompetent?

I mean, I look at myself at 15-17 and I was a hormonal, emotional, obnoxious weirdo. Still a weirdo. I didn’t know as much as I thought I did. But it is humbling to look back on those times and realize how far I’ve come.

And I don’t think it is a “respecting authority” thing, but showing constantly that adults are useless might reinforce to young people to not trust adults.

We aren’t the end all be all, but seeking wisdom from older folks is important. I call my parents with questions all the time. Like taxes, insurance, medical stuff, etc…

Because they know more about this than I do.

I mean, it does encourage kids to be more independent, which I fully support. But can we get some good role models…



16 thoughts on “The Useless Adults — Tropes Thursday

  1. So what advice would you like form an old fart today weirdo? 🙂

    There used to be an ad on TV here (made the kid quite known) where a Pizza Hut delivery kid knocked on his parents door and hands the old man a pizza. After Dad paid him the kid asked for a tip, to which the old man replied, “Be kind to your mother.”

    The same ad in this day and age wouldn’t be possible, because Pizza Hut have pretty much shut down, but because too many kids today wouldn’t understand the concept behind the ad.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m an adult (or so I’ve been told) and I’m pretty incompetent. At least that is what my kids tell me. Though they are teenage superheros and they are constantly out fighting to save the world, so I can’t really help them.

    Liked by 1 person

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