Rebellious and delinquent teens are among TV’s favorite tropes. They’re dangerous, romantic, and compelling all at once — and they get away with antics that aren’t so attractive on older characters. Of course, compared to the wild things who populate Skins, the British series whose American version debuts Monday on MTV, many of our favorite out-of-control teens look like honor students. So, we’re paying them tribute one last time, before they become obsolete. (Note: If you’re the kind of person who gets upset about seeing years-old plot points revealed in print, consider yourself spoiler-alerted.)
Rayanne Graff, My So-Called Life
Rayanne may be TV’s best teenage bad-girl to date. Angela Chase’s BFF unabashedly parties, abuses drugs, sleeps around, and moves in on Angela’s man. Also, how cool were her excessively layered outfits and over-accessorized hairdos? In the mid-’90s, we wanted to be Rayanne — well, minus the pathetic mom and accidental drug overdose…
Chuck Bass, Gossip Girl
He’s the Lord Byron of the Upper East Side: mad, bad, dangerous to know — and incredibly well dressed. Well, when he isn’t trying to redeem himself to win Blair back (again). Chuck’s been living in a private luxury hotel suite since high school, where he does everything from snarf drugs to hook up with models (prostitutes?), two or more at a time. He’s also been known to slink off for some overseas debauchery when life in New York is getting him down.
Abby Morgan, Dawson’s Creek
Jen may have had a bad reputation (and a past to back it up), but it’s her pal Abby who is Capeside’s real bad girl. Never one to pass up a challenge, she schemes to reunite Jen with Dawson, tries to turn gay Jack straight, and crashes a wedding. Tragically, that last one doesn’t go so well for her: although all she ever wanted to do with her life was get out of her small town and do something exciting, Abby’s story line ends in a funeral.
Tim Riggins, Friday Night Lights
When we meet football pinup Tim Riggins for the first time, he’s a mess of poor, rural clichés: drunk, womanizing, skipping school, and being raised (sort of) by his older brother. But what makes his character so lovable — outside of his attractiveness, of course — are his basic goodness, loyalty to his friends and family, and deep-seated longing to be a better person. Sadly, neither of those attributes keep him out of jail…
Noah “Puck” Puckerman, Glee
While, like us, this list favors burnouts over bullies, and Puck’s high jinks seem tame compared to rampant drug abuse, incarceration, and death, he’s certainly caused his share of mayhem. The jock has already impregnated Quinn and done a stint in juvie. And you don’t name a character “Puck” unless you intend for him to be a troublemaker.
Emily Valentine, Beverly Hills 90210
Everyone on 90210 went bad now and again, but no one fits the out-of-control teen mold quite like the lamentably short-lived character Emily Valentine. While dating Brandon, she doses him with a club drug — which totally serves him right for being such a goody-goody. Then she does some time in a mental institution after trying to light a homecoming float (and herself) on fire.
Kim Kelly, Freaks and Geeks
A wonderful high-school superbitch, Kim Kelly is the black swan to Lindsay Weir’s white swan. She’s angry and wild and gets in a lot of trouble and her family is awful. But since she was in love with James Franco even before most of the world even knew who he was, we’d say she still comes out ahead.
Oliver Trask, The O.C.
Since Josh Schwartz moved on to Gossip Girl after The O.C., we think it’s safe to assume that the recurring character Oliver Trask was a prototype for Chuck Bass. He’s rich, he’s creepy, he lives in a hotel without his parents. And, as Marissa Cooper quickly realizes, he is even more messed up than she is.
Gia Mahan, Full House
Stephanie’s middle-school buddy throws make-out parties, smokes (as in the wonderful GIF above), and joy-rides with older boys. This is pretty much the Full House equivalent of being a serial killer.
Peter Stone, Degrassi: The Next Generation
Peter is that asshole who sends the whole school a video of your boobs when you refuse to get it on with him. And then does something kind of nice to make you forget about it. And then plants drugs on that ex-boyfriend you still kind of like because he’s jealous. And then does something else to win back your trust. And then, eventually, gets hooked on crystal meth. And then cleans up and goes to college. So maybe there’s hope for him yet.