Television has been known to feature very mature teenagers. Girls with hips and guys with abs are staples on teen dramas, and have been since the days of Beverly Hills, 90210. I remember watching my favourite teen shows as a kid with my dad; as I was entranced by the storyline, my father would be laughing, saying, “He’s supposed to be a teenager? You have got to be kidding me.” As a 12-year-old, I used to brush it off, thinking that, yes, 15-year-old guys have broad shoulders and a six-pack- or, at least, that’s what TV told me. Dad got his comeuppance when the Clueless TV show referenced their ages, saying, “In 10 years we’ll be 27! That’s almost old enough to play a teenager on TV.” Well, if you’re Stacey Dash it is anyway.

The ages of actors who play teenagers on TV is something I’ve noticed for years, so I decided to compile a list of some actors who were a little bit mature to be TV teens.

For actors’ ages, I counted from the year of their birth, not the exact day and month they were born (e.g. an actor may have been 23 when they started airing episodes and turned 24 a month later.)


Beverly Hills, 90210

Character:Andrea Zuckerman

Actress: Gabrielle Carteris

Age: Born January 2, 1961, Carteris started the role of Andrea Zuckerman in 1990 at 29 years of age.

Annoying factor: It was pretty obvious Carteris was not a teenager, but the character was a boring bookworm obsessed with editing the school newspaper, so who really cares if a 29-year-old played her?



Character: Dionne Davenport

Actress: Stacey Dash

Age: Born January 20, 1966, Dash reprised her role as Dionne Davenport on television after the film became a success. She began the show in 1996 at 30 years of age.

Annoying factor: The movie was awesome, the show was good and I never would have guessed Dash was 30 years old. I’m glad she played Dionne.


The O.C.

Character: Ryan Atwood

Actor: Ben McKenzie

Age: Born September 12, 1978, McKenzie was 25 years old when he started the role of Ryan Atwood in 2003.

Annoying factor: I liked The O.C., but even with that teen angst sulking and white undershirt, Ben McKenzie did not pass as a troubled teen. The character of Ryan Atwood was annoying anyway and I just watched for Adam Brody, so I guess I can’t be too annoyed that a 25-year-old played the “dangerous” (*eyeroll) Ryan Atwood.


The Secret Life of the American Teenager

Character: Jack Pappas

Actor: Greg Finley

Age: Born October 23, 1984, Finley was 24 years old when he took on the role of Jack Pappas in 2008.

Annoying factor: I’m surprised he’s only 24, I was expecting him to be 28 years old. Finley is tall, built and just seems too old to be a teen. I know he plays a football player and all, but he just looks out of place compared to gawky Ben and badboy Ricky, who are both passable as teenagers.


Characters: Finn Hudson and Noah “Puck” Puckerman

Actors: Cory Monteith (Finn) and Mark Salling (Puck)

Ages: Monteith was born May 11, 1982 while Salling was born August 17, 1982, making them both 27 years old when they joined Glee Club in 2009.

Annoying factor: Since I love them both, I can’t say it’s annoying, but I will say their teen status is a bit ridiculus. I mean, they’re four years younger than Matthew Morrison (birthday: October 30, 1978), who plays their teacher!


Character: Mary Cherry

Actor: Leslie Grossman

Age: Grossman was 28 years old when she took on the role of Mary Cherry in 1999. She was born October 25, 1971.

Annoying factor: There is no one who could play this role better than Leslie Grossman! She was absolutely hilarious as the quirky character and-even though she was a bit old to play a teenager on TV-there is no annoying factor to her being cast.


Gilmore Girls

Character: Lane Kim

Actor: Keiko Agena

Age: Born October 3, 1973, Agena was 27 years old when Gilmore Girls rose to popularity on the WB in 2000.

Annoying factor: The Lane Kim character was a little blah and died out near the end of the series anyway, so it really doesn’t matter that Keiko Agena was a bit old to play Rory Gilmore’s BFF. If the actor who played Paris was 27, I’d probably be annoyed (how many times can you storm off in a huff because you’re jealous of a classmate?), but Agena was fine as Lane and always said “but Mama…” in a way that was convincing and not whiney.


Veronica Mars

Character: Veronica Mars

Actor: Kristen Bell

Age: Born July 18, 1980, Bell was 24 when she became the spunky detective in 2004.

Acting: With that kind of vocabulary, I question whether Veronica Mars was actually a teenager in high school. Kristen Bell didn’t look like a teen, act like a teen or have a script written for a teen; that being said, the show was good and I don’t really care that Bell was 24 years old.


Character: Clark Kent

Actor: Tom Welling

Age: Welling became the teenage Superman in 2001 at the age of 24. Welling’s birthday is April 26, 1977.

Annoying factor: I have never in my life seen a teenager that looks like Tom Welling. Welling was tall, had broad shoulders, crazy abs and spoke eloquently when he began playing the distraught teen. However, Welling was playing Clark Kent, who is not of this planet, so I guess you can pass him on that account.


Hannah Montana

Character: Jackson Stewart

Actor: Jason Earles

Age: When Jason Earles took on the role of Jackson Stewart, he was 29 years old. Born April 26, 1977, he joined the tween sensation on the sitcom in 2006.

Annoying factor: He plays Miley Cyrus’ annoying older brother. Older being the operative word. Earles obviously is aware of age being an issue when playing a TV teen, as their have been many reports of him lying on his resume about his birth date. While it’s super annoying he’s trying to hide the truth, I never watched Hannah Montana, so I don’t really care.

Do any of these actors playing TV teens annoy you because of their age? How old is too old to play a TV teen?