I am so into MTV's True Life right now. They take 3 kids with a similar situation ("I'm In Debt", "I have Autism", "I Want The Perfect Body") and follow them around for a few months. We see how their lives are affected by their situation and get a sense of the course of their lives for a few months. It's strangely voyeuristic and instantly addicting.
The show is basically ethnographic entertainment. They are doing anthropologic studies that are made for a wide TV audience. By showing us the individual, we see a glimpse of what the norm is and how there is no such thing as normal. Each kids has to face their life on their own and make decisions that will impact their future. Surprisingly, these kids seem very wulling to open up themselves and their lives for worldwide consumption. It's either a willingness to be open or a desire for quick fame... or both.
The "I Have Autism" episode was very hard to watch for me. The kids were great and trying so hard to just be normal (again, normal is relative). Mostly, the parents were the ones I truly felt for. Having a young daughter, it was hard to hear them say that growing up the child just didn't notice the outside world. It made me so grateful to have the healthy, happy girl we do. (Lilah f*&king rules!)
I also love the show Juvies. As in True Life, it focuses on just a few kids to show how the system looks from the individual. I guess the best stories are the ones that are true. MTV has really caught on to the fact that kids want to know what is going on with other kids. As a 31-yr old, do I still count? Given how immature I am, I think so.