Finding Carter: Dating the Older Guy

20 December 2015

Teen TV Dramas love their forbidden romances, don't they? There's something quite romantic about the idea of two young lovers, fighting against all odds for their love. Nothing can keep them apart. And what's more forbidden than a minor falling in love with an adult?

On this season of Finding Carter, Carter finds herself working illegally in a local bar at the tender age of 17. She immediately finds herself drawn towards Jared, her boss and bartender. Despite finding out the truth about her age, Jared keeps Carter on as a fellow employee and continues their ongoing relationship. If that doesn't set off warning bells from the start, I don't know what does. As we know now, this relationship isn't as fun-loving and carefree as initial thought. Carter may have fallen hard, but Jared is bad news wrapped up in pretty shiny warping paper, waiting to explode.

But for a minute, let's imagine Jared is a stand up guy. Like Carter, you can see his draw from the very beginning. 
Jared was a charmer - a go-getter with a cool attitude. As for Carter, she's determined, resourceful and one of the most loving characters on the show. You can see why these two characters were drawn to each other from the very beginning. But Jared and Carter are in such different places in their lives. While Carter is trying to find her calling in life, Jared is a settled 25 year old business man who has real life adult responsibilities. She has teenage dreams laced with adolescent innocence, and he has bills to pay and a bar to maintain. What would this have meant for their relationship? What kind of dramas could they have faced? 

As a 17 year old high school student, you are still discovering so much about life. Barely conquered high school education, and still figuring out your social life in the mist of adult advice and teen rebellion. It's beautifully chaotic time, when tomorrow is another day exploring these relationships, but one day closer to the impending future of your life which you refuse to think about. Your aim is to take control of life, and live it to the fullest. Carter is the living epitome of this mantra. And with all the hardships she's faced, Carter is instantly drawn to free-spirited wildcard situations where she can let loose. Jared has already lived through this era himself , and from it has become separated from his wife - who is determined to keep his four year old girl away from him. Now he has to worry about fighting custody for his daughter, while maintaining his failing bar, which could cost him everything he owens. Hardly a poster child of a carefree life. How would Jared's responsibilities and worries have affected their relationship? How would Carter have reacted to becoming a potential paternal role of her boyfriend's child, when she's barely an adult herself?

There are many things that this storyline has not really explored. Dating in your 20s is completely different from your teens. The circumstances of lifestyles and responsibilities are different. Now that's not to say that Jared and Carter couldn't have made it work and find happiness within each other, but that doesn't mean there wouldn't have encountered problems along the way. Instead of just throwing in a clich├ęd storyline about drugs and murder, I wish MTV would have explored the hardships of age different relationships, because I think it could have made a difference. It could have become an initial resource that helped young teenagers - who may come into relationships with older men and women someday - think about the things they may face. 

Love is a beautiful thing when it's intentions are pure and kind, but that doesn't mean that it is void from drama and hardships. Every relationship has it's complexities, but when the lack of experience meets complications of life, that can have some interesting outcomes. Sometimes love doesn't conquer all, and most of the time, it's not to due to external forces like drugs and unlawful activities. It's to do with lack of harmony between the pair, of wanting different things from a relationship and life. In my opinion, to not showcase the realistic elements of these type of relationships is a disservice to audiences, who could benefit from it. 

What do you think about this storyline? Let's Discuss!
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