NA Eye

Media High School vs. NA High School: Fiction and Reality

In this column, we explore how the media's portrayal of high school differs from the reality

Compiled // Kendel Barber

Compiled // Kendel Barber

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As kids, we all watched movies and TV shows that portrayed high school as a magical place where you will fall in love, have lots of friends and live a stress-free life. Then, we go to high school and realize that what we imagined to be the best time of our lives actually turns out to be the exact opposite.

Fan favorite movies and TV shows were handpicked by the NAEye staff to show exactly how our dreams turned out to not be reality. Movies like Mean Girls, High School Musical, and The Duff, and TV Shows like Riverdale and Glee are the main culprits of this manufactured fantasy.

People look like supermodels-It is a common theme in movies and TV shows to have 20+ year old actors/actresses portraying high school students. This misleads young kids who watch these shows into expecting high schoolers to look like supermodels and five years older than they are supposed to. They don’t expect the awkward, acne-ridden phase that all high school students experience. The hit television TV show Riverdale features several high school teenagers who try to solve a murder that occurs in their small town of Riverdale. These teenagers, however, are played by actors/actresses that are well into their 20s in real life.

Group names-In Mean Girls, the plot of the movie focuses on a group of girls that call themselves ‘The Plastics’. This nickname is known by the entire school including the teachers. In real life, high school groups of friends would never make a nickname for themselves. Even if they did, with the school having such a large population, it would not be known by everyone else, especially teachers.

Pep rallies do not happen-Sometimes, TV Shows make a big deal of the school sports teams. This is pretty realistic, but in Riverdale, they have a pep rally before a big football with singing and a performance from the cheerleaders. Although NA has a big emphasis on sports teams, pep rallies don’t occur and are not used to cheer up the school.

You probably won’t find the love of your life at Homecoming-In the movie The Duff, the main character doesn’t want to go to homecoming because she doesn’t want to see her crush. In the end, her friends make her go and the boy she thought she hated gives up his homecoming king crown to publicly profess his love for her. In reality, homecoming isn’t that big of a deal. There are so many people you can easily avoid the person you don’t want to see. You probably won’t meet the love of your life on the dance floor. The closest you can get is a slow dance with your date assuming that they don’t ditch you to go hang out with their other friends.

Students are REALLY busy-Everyone knows the iconic scene of Regina George driving up to Cady’s house in Mean Girls to say “Get in loser; we’re going shopping!” I don’t care how popular you are, to get more than two people together at one time on a school night to go do something is almost as impossible as finding Bigfoot. Teachers give us hours of homework to do that leaves us mentally and physically drained.

People do not get shoved into lockers-In the hit tv show Glee, the main characters are often shoved into lockers or “slushied” just for being in the glee club. In reality, no one really cares what everyone else does. Being apart of different groups is actually valued by students. Nowadays the more clubs you are in the better, you get to make new friends that way, it looks good on college applications, and you get to complain about how busy you are to your friends.

Teachers do not bully students-In Glee, the cheerleading coach, Sue Sylvester, would frequently bully students. She would shove them into lockers, push, verbally assault them, sabotage the Glee club in a competition, and force her cheer squad to not eat and lose weight. She also comes up with the plan to fire one of the students out of a cannon, and yet it seems as though she never gets punished for her actions. If a teacher acted like this in real life, they would immediately get fired and may even face legal consequences.

People don’t just break out into song whenever they want– In Glee and in High School Musical, the students frequently start singing in the middle of class or just walking down the hallway. They sing love songs to each other in Glee and in High School Musical they break out in dance about sticking to the status quo. In reality, the only time that this is mildly acceptable is when you are singing happy birthday and even then you get some mean glares if you are singing too loudly.

We know what you might be thinking: “It’s just a harmless television show or movie; chill out.” While those words are true, what the media produces definitely has a way of influencing or informing what people view as “normal”.

 

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Media High School vs. NA High School: Fiction and Reality