High School Movie Tropes That Are Nonsense


I have spent the majority of my life in a high school, mostly as a teacher. It makes it hard take movies set in high school are more likely to repeat the same beats and tropes as past movies rather than capturing a genuine experience. Here’s some of them.

THE PROM IS NOT THE CENTRE OF YOUR LIFE

She’s All That still has a lot to answer for.

Maybe you need to hear this, maybe you don’t, but this one event is not going to be the culmination of your teenage experience. You’ll get dressed up nice and have fun with your friends, but there won’t be some real truths being revealed and conflicts being resolved. Some people with over do it and make for a story, but no more than any other party. Speaking of…

THE SAME APPLIES TO PARTIES

Especially if it’s some homecoming/graduation party where everyone’s story with be wrapped up.

YOU MAY NOT BE AS IMPORTANT AS YOU IMAGINE

This is a trope where the Twilight movies were criticised. Bella Swan turns up at a new school and everyone knows who she is and are excited to meet her. In reality, everyone is managing their own crap to worry about you. It’s ok to lay low for, and ok to say hi.

THERE’S A HIERARCHY

I won’t pretend that there’s probably schools out there where some groups of students are going to be given lenient treatment by the system, or others feel oppressed. Whenever a student begins outlining the pecking order of their school, it feels contrived. The most egregious example of this is The New Guy, where his new schoolmates organise themselves on a hill during break according to their level of popularity. Why would people agree to this?

YOUR ISSUES AND CONFLICTS WILL BE RESOLVED BY GRADUATION

Look, sorry, some things might not get you the closure you wanted. But graduating high school is only the end of your story in a movie. The reality is that it’s the end of the tutorial level and now you can go and do whatever you want.

Unless you want to come back to the high school to hang out with students. Don’t do that.

THE TEACHER/PRINCIPAL IS OUT TO GET YOU

It may feel like they’re out to get ruin your life, and I know that some teachers are assholes, but I’d be surprised if they were sincerely focused on trying to bring you down. The truth is that they cycle through so many students and have so much paperwork to complete that they don’t have the brain-space to dedicate to you. If this is the kind of relationship you have with your teacher, maybe keep your head down. Or report them.

Especially if they’re real life sex offenders.

YOU HAVE ALL THE TIME IN THE WORLD

The bulk of time in cinematic high schools and TV shows with take place during lunch, walking between classes, having clandestine meetings in bathrooms, hanging out by the lockers…

In reality you will be spending the vast majority of your time sitting in classes watching the clock.

Enjoy!