Fans Complained About Alaska’s Dialogue In ‘Looking for Alaska’ Being Too Unrealistic

Creating believable dialogue is an art form that only the best writers manage to do well thanks to usually studying how real people talk when visiting restaurants or interacting in public places. When it comes teenagers, a lot of writers don’t always get it right, even if it’s a John Greene adaptation.

Yes, the new Hulu miniseries adapt of Green’s Looking for Alaska is an important look at teen angst and the complexities therein. According to Reddit users, though, the dialogue was far from accurate within the confines of teen reality.

We mine Reddit a lot, but we found this particular take intriguing. Has this Green adaptation truly jumped the shark on real-world teen dialogue? Or was it just trying to stand alone in its own universe where teens don’t normally hang out?

Are teens talking about philosophy more often than not?

Kristine Froseth speaking during an interview
Kristine Froseth | Jim Spellman/Getty Images

According to a reply on Reddit to a review of Looking for Alaska, the dialogue just seemed ridiculous in comparison to most of America. Apparently it was coming from someone who remembered what it was like to converse as a teen not too long ago. In this case, they didn’t think it was common for teens to talk about deep philosophy, not including rants about the patriarchy as LfA does.

Others there disagreed and thought some teens do talk like that, especially college-age kids going to expensive private schools. Any of you who’ve gone to Ivy League colleges, especially, know late teens/young adults are usually busy talking about intellectual subjects and not (always) talking about relationships or beer.

In the world of LfA, though, we do see a specialized world different from the ordinary. After all, it takes place in Alabama, a place that’s sometimes controversial in the way of laws and general way of life. We also see Miles “Pudge” Halter move there from Orlando, Florida, already a unique world on its own.

The particular geographic region could mean teens talking dissimilar to how you’d hear them converse in bigger cities or Middle America.

Should there be a more accurate portrayal of teen dialogue in these adaptations?

One thing all John Greene fans agree with is he manages to understand teens better than any other adult writer living today. While he tapped into his own experiences as a teen, he somehow managed to tap into the psyche of pre-18’s and extract how they really feel and their aspirations.

This is why it seems strange so many people think Looking for Alaska doesn’t hit it on the nose with teen dialogue. Perhaps adaptations tinker too much to a point where they have to identify as a polar opposite entity from the book.

Arguments over proper teen dialogue makes us wonder what it really takes to create accurate teen talk in a movie or TV show. Places like Quora often have these kinds of questions asked with numerously interesting responses. A thread we found there recently asked what TV shows used dialogue in the best possible way. A lot of answers came in saying everything from (surprisingly) Westworld, House, to Downtown Abbey.

Are there any current teen shows, though, managing to capture an accurate young adult cadence?

Not surprisingly, most of the best ones are on Netflix

Based on many online ranking lists, most of the best shows with accurate teen dialogue are in the streaming universe. Netflix has really cornered a smart teen market with the smartest dialogue you’ll probably find in any media format.

Shows like 13 Reasons Why and Stranger Things are just two examples of portraying how teens mostly talked in the past and in the modern era.

It’s so easy to fall on the crutch of talking in cliches, but at least we can say John Greene creates his own world while still understanding teen psychology. He’ll be read 50 years from now, though perhaps only the books over the media adaptations made to quickly cash in.