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Hollywood and High School Cliches

How many high school kids live life on the cutting edge? Slipping into class just seconds before the bell rings, getting detention for hitting a volleyball into the head of a popular girl, or starting a food fight in the cafeteria? These actions are Hollywood’s perception of ideal high school life.

Life in high school is anything but Hollywood’s depiction. So many clichés are associated with high school, such as detention, cafeteria food fights, hurtful rumors, being shoved in a locker or trash can, finding the perfect date for a school dance at the last possible minute and jocks being egotistical.

In the 2003 re-make of Freaky Friday, mom Tess Coleman and daughter Anna Coleman switch bodies for a day. Tess thinks high school will be a cinch, considering she’s already gone through it once and is now a successful psychologist. Little does Tess know, Anna gets detention at least two times every day, is harassed by her now popular ex-best-friend, is failing English because Anna’s teacher has a grudge against Tess. The movie may be droll to the audience, but it gives kids who are about to enter high school unrealistic expectations.

Detention is one of the more realistic clichés of high school, because kids are always joking around and goofing off during class. Depending on the situation, teachers give out detentions as a severe punishment. An English teacher at my school believes that Hollywood’s portrayal of teens in high school is unrealistic.

“Movies usually deal with extremes, so why not show some caricature of teachers and students on film? I am more offended by how students are portrayed as idiotic humans who only think of food and sex. The students I am around everyday are so much better people than you usually see on television or the big screen,” she said.

Remember the jock that shoved the kid into the trash can? But wait, most people can think of at least 3 movies in which that occurred.

Movies tend to portray jocks as snobby, egotistical and self centered people. A stereotype of jocks is being the popular kids who rule the school. Perhaps even calling them a clique is a better way to describe them. They eat lunch together, hang out collectively, date other jocks and are only friends with one other.

A sophomore on the Precisionettes, believes that certain sports are not snobbier than others. “On dance, we’re all really close and there’s no drama between us. So there’s not the “stuck up” stereotype that you see in movies."

Another sophomore on Lacrosse agrees, “I would consider the kids that do illegal things in the game or talk trash, snobby,” he said. Sports on the big screen appear completely different than in real life.

Hollywood is telling kids that life in high school is a breeze, because the homework is easy. Any kid at my school can protest 100 ways how untrue that statement is. Most kids spend at least an hour and a half or more on homework every night.

“Do you ever see Miley do homework on Hannah Montana? NO! She just walks around school, goes to the beach, and sings to millions of fans. If I was a pop star in high school, I’d be failing my Pre-AP English class for sure!” said one student.

Another outrageous appearance of high school kids can be seen in Disney’s High School Musical movies. Another student points out that unlike High School Musical, people don’t randomly break out into songs in the hallways.

Another common high school cliché is the cafeteria food fights. One handful of mashed potatoes flung from one kid’s hand to another’s face is all it takes to begin a full on food fight on screen. Trashcan tops can be used as shields and tables can be used as forts. Or so Hollywood thinks.

“Food fights at school is pretty lame and nonexistent,” said a sophomore boy, “But one time at lunch we started throwing random things at the table across from us. It ended up with one of my friends nailing another kid in the eye with a grape. It was a pretty fun lunch.”

Arguing that Hollywood’s vision of high school is very unrealistic is an argument with plenty of evidence. Most people go through high school with drama that eventually goes away. In Hollywood, the drama seems to linger and reappear repetitively.

It’s pathetic that Hollywood has resorted to untrue scenarios to entertain their audience. Giving kids an unrealistic image of high school can be detrimental to their pre-high school jitters. Hollywood shouldn’t make more kids even more anxious about high school, just to improve ratings.

If the Hollywood movie producers dabbled in high school, they would be able to see that their representation of high school is completely inadequate. Hollywood, it’s time to get rid of the façade and show high school students as they really are.





Join the Discussion

This article has 8 comments. Post your own now!

RhetoricalStrategies said...
Jun. 29, 2013 at 7:36 pm
I have a few tips for making this article better, as I agree with concernedreader above.  First, add evidence. You could include much more support than simply quotes and personal evidence. Try to find a statistic about how much time students spend on homework. Then cut out the sentences and topics that work against your argument ("Detention is one of the more realistic cliches of high school," and the student's anecdote about a food fight occuring at lunch). The point about Hi... (more »)
 
jwhud148 said...
Mar. 3, 2012 at 8:14 pm
Oh yea, another cliche I am always seeing on TV and in movies is when the kids arrive at school by car (always a brand new, highly expensive car), all the other students are sitting around outside the school building. They are all talking, hanging out, playing frisbee (really, I NEVER saw anybody throw a single frisbee when I was in high school), making out, smoking weed. I dont know about these kids, buy when I went to high school, class started at 7:45AM. Kids were too tired to do any of those... (more »)
 
O_oRiet said...
Sept. 16, 2011 at 3:29 pm

I just started highschool. It's sooooooo different from ANYthing I expected. I love it a lot, and I'm realy glad that it isn't the same as Hollywood's depiction of it. True that some jocks can be stuck up, (especially at my school) and there are always bullies, but there is so much more to highschool! I just started three weeks ago, and I can already tell that the stereotypes are mostly bogus!

 

I say mostly, because the jock thin is  true, here(sadly).

 
Chassity17 said...
May 7, 2011 at 6:34 pm
Thank you, high school is totally diffrent from movies. Glad someone finally noticed!!
 
youveleftmespeechless said...
Dec. 4, 2010 at 10:44 pm
Thank you for saying this! I'm sick of high school being portrayed so unrealistically in films and TV. It's never like it is on the screen. You are a good writer by the way :)
 
concernedreader said...
May 21, 2010 at 4:34 am
You know what's cliched? This article. It is the same views that are said over and over again and everyone is already aware of and doesn't want to read again. If you're going to write this article due so from a different angle because right now it is extremely bland and unimaginative. You're writing is also very dramatic and sounds like you are writing for a soap opera.
 
Lexie96 replied...
Oct. 30, 2011 at 5:08 pm
Then why read it?
 
notebookgirl said...
Feb. 4, 2010 at 8:20 am
I agree, Hollywood has blown high school way out of proportion
 
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