Face it: too few of us looked good in high school. But if the hot teens heating up our TV screens each week are any indication, times have certainly changed. If you were never to see any actual adolescent again, and had only the CW's shows as a point of reference for teenage aesthetics, you'd never realize that human teenagers are supposed to be dealing with acne and braces and hopelessly broken hearts. Instead, one quick scan of the channels will probably have you swooning every which way over alleged teen superhero levels of buffness, impeccable clothing and gorgeous faces.
The good thing is, you don't have to feel awkward about fancying the pants off them! The reason these teen characters who are way too sexy are just that sexy is because they're in their mid-twenties and spend hours in the gym just working on their fitness. The hot teen characters who make you feel weird are yours to appreciate. Just don't go looking for hot actors on Skins – those guys are actually teenagers. Just don't.
The teachers at the Constance Billard School for Girls must have known that Serena van der Woodsen was not actually a teenager: they definitely wouldn't have let her walk around in her altered school uniform when she was actually 16. More than a few viewers probably felt a tad weird watching Serena attend school in some sort of Britney Spears "Baby One More Time" uniform homage.
But it's all good – Blake Lively was actually 20 years old at the start of the series. The only people that should feel weird in this case are the costume designers who thought Serena wouldn't get chased down by a measuring tape wielding teacher screaming about dress code rules.
Emily Fields probably caught the attention of a lot of queer women when Pretty Little Liars first aired in 2007. But older queer women watching the show just for representation might have felt a little weird about finding this "teenage" girl attractive. Ah - Not to worry: Shay Mitchell was actually 23 at the time!
Ah, Hanna Marin! So sexy that her supposed "frump" costume in flashbacks was rendered null and void: Ashley Bensen looked just as gorgeous with a pillow stuffed up an oversized jumper as she did in the more "fashion-forward," shall we say, selections the Pretty Little Liars costume department deemed fit for viewing. And lucky for the viewers at home, you wouldn't have to feel weird about an ineffective frump costume because Benson was 21 at the time the first season aired. You're in the clear!
Ah...dreamy, dumb Nate, the object of many a Gossip Girl's affection. Sure, as the series went on he became some kind of business man, but at the beginning he was stuck in a school uniform. And that visual might have freaked out some older viewers who found him attractive as hell. But don't worry about having thought this handsome boy was all that – Chace Crawford was 22 years old and especially unconvincing as a teen that was required to do homework.