Sexy nighttime soaps are a staple of guilty-pleasure TV. But the current fall lineup -- which includes Gossip Girl, 90210, Melrose Place, The Vampire Diaries, and The Beautiful Life -- seems a little edgier than ever before. With their portrayals of over-the-top behavior, these shows provide guilty pleasure entertainment for older-but-wiser parents. But they're intended to attract a large teen audience, whose relationship to some of the issues the shows deal with hits a lot closer to home. Topics like losing your virginity, eating disorders, and trying pot are tame compared to what this season is packing: Sexting, a hit and run, murder, the model industry's dirty (and racy) little secrets, hooking up in college, and an undercurrent of vampire lust ... all set to a soundtrack of the latest songs and outfitted in top-of-the-line clothes.
So how do you manage it?
Watch first. If you can preview the show first, that will give you an idea of what to expect -- and what you can talk