Date of Award

August 2019

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts


Media Studies

First Advisor

Elana Levine

Committee Members

Lia Wolock, Rick Popp


bisexual, CW, queer, representations, teen, television


Television can be a reflection of the values we have as a society and its representations can have an impact on the way people, especially youth, shape their identities. This examination of teen-oriented television shows on the CW network looks at bisexual and queer representations and compares them with previous representations. I ground this essay in the youth-oriented television context, the progression of queer television representations, and ideas about media representation in a post-gay era. My assessment of the CW’s bisexual protagonist Clarke Griffin in The 100 and several sexually fluid characters in Legacies help show how the network has evolved in branding itself around diversity of representation, and aiming their content at a socially-liberal target audience. There are several tropes that the network falls into, particularly the death of Lexa in The 100 that sparked a queer/ally social movement characterized by the hashtag #LexaDeservedBetter; these representations have helped inform the TV industry about the stakes of minority representation. My textual analyses find that the queer characters I examine avoid stereotypical coming out narratives and labels of sexual identity, in what I argue is a progressive form of representation. Ultimately, I argue that a larger quantity of queer characters on the CW has resulted in more diverse representations of teen/queer identity.