The Student News Site of San Luis Obispo High School




The Student News Site of San Luis Obispo High School



How real is high school in the movies?


  The stereotypical mean girls, spontaneous breakouts of song or dance, and custom-decorated lockers were unfortunately not what students were met with at San Luis Obispo High School. 

  These idealistic examples of high school life were what SLOHS students grew up with by watching shows like “Victorious” and “Hannah Montana” and movies like “High School Musical” and “Clueless.” By now, students have realized their high school careers probably won’t be anything like what they’ve seen on screen, but are there any shows or movies that accurately portray high school life?

  “In movies and TV, they tend to portray it more ‘split.’ Like, there’s always a clear divide between the popular  kids and the nerdy kids, but in real life, it’s not really like that. Everyone just kind of blends together,” said senior Sasha Sheridan.

  The clear divide mentioned above is often the building block for the plot of the production, and so is essential in many movies. These divides are obviously meant to dramatize and enhance the viewer’s experience, not to improve how relatable they are.

  “For example, ‘Euphoria’ is a good show, but it’s very dramatized and glamorous. Of course there are kernels of truth in it, but it really depends on the person viewing it and what their high school experience is or was,” said senior Carmen Silver.

  Because the consensus seems to be that the accuracy of the show depends on the viewer, are there any accurate movies or TV shows out there?

  “Definitely not. No. There’s a select few that are able to capture certain high school experiences, but the popular movies and TV shows all portray a very cisgender, heteronormative, drugs in the car, ‘best time of our lives’ narrative that a lot of people probably don’t connect to. Essentially, a super white, very privileged point of view,” said Silver.

  Thankfully, many networks and movie production companies have realized that not everyone is, as Silver alluded to, cisgender and heterosexual. Recently, there have been many shows and movies with diverse casts that tell diverse stories and that especially applies for those that take place during many people’s formative high school years.

  But just because these productions aren’t relatable to the larger population doesn’t mean that SLOHS students don’t have a high school movie that they relate to.

  “I think ‘Fast Times at Ridgemont High’ is pretty accurate to real high school life. Spicoli eating pizza in class is the dream,” said Sheridan.

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    JenniferOct 4, 2020 at 12:53 pm

    Interesting and well written. Thank you, Celia!