AwesomenessTV’s Side Effects May Be Too Edgy

New teen-aimed Web series pushes the envelope

Editor's Note: VideoWatch wanted to review AwesomenessTV's new long-form musical drama Side Effects. But since the show is aimed at tweens and teens, and is thus way outside our demo, we turned to real high schooler Anna McIntyre to get her take. Here are Anna's thoughts:

AwesomenessTV’s new musical series Side Effects focuses on a young girl named Whitney. She lives with her siblings and the occasional friend who decides to crash at their place. After Whitney’s mother died of cancer, her father told her and her siblings he was going for a drive. But dad never came back, leaving the family to take care of themselves, the house, and all of the finances. The stress of the situation caused Whitney to need medication of which the side effects are musical hallucinations. 

The writers of the series are able to relate to teenagers through music. Whitney’s musical hallucinations momentarily take her away from reality and put her in a music video featuring well known pop songs (like Ke$ha’s “C’Mon"). The actors sing and dance, but it is all in Whitney’s head.  This to me is the best part of the show: what teenager does not wish their life was a music video?

If you think about it, music is probably the easiest way to relate to teens. You put your headphones in, turn your music up, and momentarily forget everything going on around you.

However, although music is a great escape from the daily stresses around you, I do not think music should be compared to side effects of drugs.  Many teenagers today face temptations from drugs or alcohol and with peer pressure can make some bad decisions. Musical hallucinations should be compared to side effects of drugs because some teens may actually think drugs can make you feel as good as a being in a music video would feel (and these days, prescription drugs can sometimes be easier for kids to get than alcohol).

Although the writers were just trying to relate through music, I couldn’t help but feel uncomfortable listening to a song with the lyrics, “Sweet little pill take me away.” With all of the pressures teens today face, they do not need any encouragement to take pills to make themselves feel better.