A History of Teen TV Scandals: 25 Years of Parental Outrage

Gossip Girl‘s “3SOME”

Before the overprotective parents of the world shook their fists at Skins, there was Gossip Girl. The show responded to criticism of its up-close portrayal of teen sex by incorporating criticism from news outlets and the Parents Television Council in their posters and commercials in the hopes of attracting more rebellious and curious teen viewers. Their blunt advertising tactic caused the biggest explosion with their advertisement for an episode featuring a threesome (between Dan, Vanessa, and Dan’s then-girlfriend, played by Hilary Duff of Lizzie McGuire fame), which included some intimate shots emblazoned with the text “3SOME.” And, surprise!: The Parents Television Council called for networks not to play the episode. But it aired anyway (you can watch the scene here), and to a modest ratings boost, at that.