Some impressively civic-minded comedies are showing up in teens’ streaming queues during the pandemic. As we all turn to TV comfort food while keeping safer at home, shows like “Parks and Recreation” and “The Good Place” are rising to the top for teens, according to a small survey by the UCLA-based Center for Scholars and Storytellers.
Though the shows weren’t originally aimed specifically at teens, Yalda Uhls, the center’s executive director and a UCLA adjunct assistant professor of psychology, says perhaps that’s because no one was listening to what teens want to watch. Now teens can weigh in on Feb. 5 at the center’s event, “What Would Leslie Knope Do?” a conversation for youth about how civic engagement and activism are represented on TV, and how media can better encourage community involvement.
A pretty “forking” amazing group of people will be answering their questions: Mike Schur, creator of both shows; Pamela Hieronymi, UCLA professor of philosophy and the consultant who brought the trolley problem to “The Good Place”; and Disney Channel actress Navia Robinson.
“We are always trying to make sure the youth perspective is considered,” Uhls said. “Too often, adults make the decisions about what's right for them, both in terms of content creation and also in terms of research. In fact, there is a movement in academia to bring in the youth perspective into study design, and we felt content creators would be interested in hearing from teens, too.”
Attendees can submit questions when they register, or through the chat during the livestream.
The Center for Scholars and Storytellers was founded by Uhls, who studies how media affects young people, and researches the beneficial and detrimental effects of screen time. The center provides a connection between scholars and storytellers to offer research-based, actionable insights for content that supports positive youth development.