- by K Duron

I recently discovered the meaning of the word binge-watching. I knew what it was; watching a television series for a long period of time to catch up to the current season or simply enjoy (Breaking Bad, anyone?), but I didn’t know it had been assigned a word.

Most recently, I binge-watched the whole first season of a Hulu exclusive teen drama series written, directed, and produced by Carlos Portugal. It is the first and only Hulu series with an all Latino cast. At first I was curious because my high school was in downtown Los Angeles, and many of my friends came from East L.A. The city has it’s own Hispanic culture, too often stereotyped by drugs and violence, but nonetheless a flavorful city full of good food, traditional music, and cultural arts. As I got deeper into the season, I couldn’t stop. I had to stay up til 3 a.m. sometimes just to see what happened next: Would she get pregnant? Would she keep the baby? Would he leave her for her mysterious cousin? I became emotionally attached to the series full of normal high school things like parties, relationships, family problems, and most of all, sex.

I didn’t know if I was going to be satisfied with the ending. I personally dislike shows that glorify teen sex as just cool and fun, ignore or minimize the risk of STD’s, and portray teen pregnancy as beautiful and graceful. No. Sex is often painful and scary for the inexperienced, anyone may be at risk of contracting STD’s that can haunt them for life, and pregnancy at any age has a list of symptoms too long to fit in this blog. And both sex and it’s consequences are incredibly all the more dangerous at a young age, because whether we believe it or not, we’re not mature enough yet to handle the pressure of emotional and physical adulthood.

‘East Los High’ honestly left me impressed and even more satisfied. By the end of the show, I knew about all the risks of getting diseases even from one time of not using protection, many possible consequences for a young woman, especially from a low-income family, when carrying out a pregnancy completely, and how to terminate an unwanted pregnancy through various methods. I even learned about laws that establish confidentiality with patients and clinics that deal with these issues, even for minors. The best part was that I didn’t feel like I was watching one of those tacky ‘sex-ed’ videos made in the 90’s with monotone experts dumping information on me. I was watching a show like any other cult phenomenon that had a hero I cheered on and a villain I hated but even had to sympathize with. I was rooting for the impossible romance to happen, trying to think of how to make it work in my mind and seeing if it would happen in the next episode.

I definitely recommend watching this show because of all the information wrapped up in such an entertaining way. Most of all, it is relatable. There is no glamour and fancy nightlife like in Gossip Girl and other shows (not that those shows aren’t good, they just had nothing to do with the high school life I know). And most importantly, whatever you choose, don’t forget to inform yourself about how to deal with sex, because it’s your body, and you only have one!


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