East Los High: A Teen Soap Opera That’s A Teaching Tool
Inside a cramped writers room in a Hollywood office building, a team of overage teenagers was debating how a Los Angeles high schooler might carry on a conversation with a counselor about being the victim of domestic violence.
“I’m not sure the character’s reaction would be hesitation so much as defensiveness,” one said.
“Yeah, I think she’d be, like, ‘You don’t understand! I’m his girlfriend! I want to make him happy!” another chimed in.
This is how Hulu’s popular teen soap “East Los High” gets made. In these quarters, telenovela meets after-school special, spawning story lines that had laptop and cellphone screens fogged up in its first season last summer, all the while trying to relay a social message.
The series consistently ranked among the ad-supported streaming site’s most popular programs, demonstrating that an English-language show with an all-Latino cast – a TV unicorn in the broadcast marketplace – can find a following. Times TV critic Robert Lloyd singled it out as one of the top summer shows to watch last year, saying it was not only “as eventful as any other teen soap” but noted that it “feels down-to-earth and issue-oriented.”
Hulu hopes the clicks and taps won’t slow when it launches the second season on July 9.
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