The Amazon Prime original “The Wilds” centers on the story of eight teenage girls stranded on a deserted island after a plane crash. Throughout the 11-episode season, viewers watch each girl fight for survival and against her own past. The show captures a painfully realistic image of adolescence in the world today.
Each episode unpacks the circumstances and experiences each character has endured before the crash. The backstories of the girls are windows into often underrepresented narratives in contemporary media. “The Wilds'' shares stories of LGBTQ+, First Nations, sexual assault, eating disorders, terminal illness and the foster care system. Most importantly, their trauma is not “healed” with a makeover, a group of friends or a romantic partner.
Contemporary media and TV shows seem to define “representation” as a token character from a different race, sexuality or ability that is usually underdeveloped and receives minimal screen time. The characters on the “The Wilds” receive adequate backstory and complexity to complete significant development.
Sydney Weiss (12) said, “I love how not only is the cast absolutely female dominated, but the representation of race, background, experience, body type and so much more is represented.”
“The Wilds” is applauded for its diversity, but also for its depiction of the adolescent experience. Teenagers, more specifically, teenage girls, are often a misunderstood and misrepresented population. This series paints a painful portrait of universal struggles they face like heartbreak, beauty standards and perfectionism.
Main character Leah says in the first episode, “Being a teenager in normalized America, that was the real living hell.”
The show serves as a glimpse into the often-enigmatic lives that girls lead. While classic flicks like “Mean Girls” and “Easy A” often misrepresent teenage girls as vain, catty and manipulative, “The Wilds” actually shows their capacity for empathy, collaboration and connection.
Ms. Bielskis said, “Kids are made to feel that their voices don’t matter… this show is a good reminder that [teenage girls] are thoughtful, creative, collaborative and smart. They are worthy of our ears.”
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