Sex, Drugs, Drama: A Guide To The Greatest Teen Soaps Of The Last 25 Years

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Do you enjoy watching beautiful people cry about their problems? Clear some space on your DVR and put the next few episodes of House of Cards on the back burner. You’ve got some serious binge-watching to do.

High school is hard for anyone, and yet television is the one place that can make us feel lucky we don’t have the weight of the world, old-money familial expectations or supernatural super powers on our shoulders. The last 25 years have seen highly addicting soap operas for the teenage set–as dangerous to one’s mental health as Jessie Spano’s caffeine pills. These shows are usually delivered in prime-time, with accompanying soundtracks to deepen your connection, and then-unknown guest stars whose eventual stardom will justify those past viewing decisions.

We were captivated by their lives, hurt when they hurt and meticulously kept track of the various pregnancies, infidelities and spur-of-the-moment charity balls.

Beverly Hills, 90210, its younger sister of the same zip code, The O.C. and Gossip Girl saw success by exploring the luxurious lives of the children of the one-percent, while making those of us who took the bus to school wish we had access to a personal driver. Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Smallville, Roswell and The Vampire Diaries revel in fantasy and the supernatural, adding more serious issues to their characters’ plate than whether or not the underdog will be crowned Homecoming Queen. Degrassi had Drake before he was rapping about poor etiquette. While Freaks and Geeks, Gilmore Girls and My So-Called Life are dramatic depictions of high school days, they’re a little too earnest (in a good way!). Thus, the shows we chose to celebrate are the ones that take pride in their camp, usually have an older female character looking to feel young again with the most popular/eligible guy in school and never met sexy promotional stills they didn’t like. Relive the best days of your teenage-viewing life with our list of the greatest teen soaps above, and let us know your personal favorites in the comments.

Sophia Bush stopped by Big Morning Buzz Live this week and couldn’t help reminiscing about the One Tree Hill days, including host and OTH guest star Nick Lachey‘s kissing abilities. Check it out below.

[Photo Credit: FOX, The CW]