Class of cliches

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Popular high school films, such as Mean Girls, portrays a clique of entitled popular girls. In reality, it is difficult to place students in categories.

Emma Johnson, Staff Writer

High school movies seem like all the rage these days, coming of age comedies that are supposed to make teenagers breathe out a sigh of relief and acknowledgment. However, the main issue with them is that they are written by adults who have already surpassed their 10 year high school reunions. 

The movie industry assumes teenagers are innocent, dorky kids who don’t have their lives together. When the rare director decides to delve deep into dark subject matter such as drugs, sex and social media, the media goes wild. They call it a scandal,  a controversy that will corrupt future generations. Teenagers, on the other hand, have a show that they can relate to what is happening in their lives. The only method taken to these overly glorified movies? Stereotypes and lots of them.

The most common cliche that can be found are cliques. This is the baseline for any high school movie’s plot. A general cliche is having the nerd become the hottest person to ever walk the school, but if the industry wants to spice things up a bit, they will have the most popular person realize that they never wanted all this attention drawn to them in the first place. Woah, talk about a plot twist that we did not see coming! The cliques that roam the school are sheltered and have little to no interaction with anyone outside of their friend group. In reality, I can’t tell where one starts and the other ends; perhaps because teenagers these days do not like putting labels on themselves or their friends. If the appalling lack of complex characters was solved, the movie industry could reach a larger demographic. 

Another stereotype that pops up quite a bit is the “turning point.” What is the turning point? The turning point is when the main character goes through a life-changing makeover in a 15 second montage. Did that swipe of lipstick push your morals away? Did that new jacket lower your standards?  I was not aware that clothes suddenly altered your entire personality. That new awkward student who knew no one is suddenly dating the quarterback three weeks later. Puberty takes a few years to complete, not 30 seconds. 

High school in the movies is blown way out of proportion. Have you realized how low the bar is set for students? If you show up to math class on the first day of school and solve a 2+2 problem, you automatically pass the whole semester. Where are the piles of homework, the abundance of quizzes and tests? These kids have zero stress, but if they manage to get overwhelmed in the slightest, it is nothing that a 10 minute break and begging the teacher won’t fix. Teachers don’t bat an eye at kids who mess around in class. In reality, you get yelled at for dropping your head while watching a video in class. When does this wishful thinking end?

While these cliches and more are super cheesy and inaccurate, they make our favorite TV shows and movies entertaining. If used in moderation, stereotypes provide a sense of predictability while feeding us an irregular sense of reality. The fantasies of what high school could be like is the reason we curl up with a bowl of popcorn in the first place, so sit back and don’t take high school so seriously.