COLUMN: High school based shows should be mixture of entertainment and realism


Ian Stoubaugh

Ian Stobaugh, Columnist

A lot of us are aware of high school based shows. In fact, the majority of people my age grew up with them as an integral part of our childhood. With shows like “Good Luck Charlie,” “Victorious,” and “Shake It Up,” a lot of us have enough exposure to them already. However, there are plenty of shows that take place in high school, but are catered to adults. But something that a lot of people noticed, including myself, is that the majority of these shows aren’t realistic.

I know that the point of these shows are not to be realistic, and that they’re for entertainment, but it’s just interesting just how unrealistic they are. There’s a trend going on right now that makes fun of “Euphoria” for its setting and the way the characters act. “Euphoria” itself is a great drama, and it’s definitely entertaining. However, the only realistic storyline I see is Rue’s–her battle with addiction and adolescence is the most well done out of the main plot points. With the other side plots, while they do have specks of reality within them, they are most definitely dramatized and probably wouldn’t happen in a realistic school setting.

But trust me, I’m aware that a show doesn’t need to have a realistic setting. What I am saying though is that it is most definitely possible, and it can make an excellent show. An example of a show with a realistic premise in a high school setting is “Freaks and Geeks.” While the show takes place in the 1980s, it still rings true of high school today. The characters do a lot of things that a lot of us did in high school, such as changing ourselves to fit in and struggling between childhood and adulthood. While the show is relatable for a lot of reasons, it is sometimes hard to follow along with. But once you get started, the show gets better as the episodes go on.

However, there’s also a happy medium. A show that I think embodies both of these traits is “The End of the F***ing World,” which is a show about two teenagers who run away from home. The premise of the show is that one of the characters is pretty sure he’s a psychopath and plans to kill the other character as time goes on. It seems like a pretty far fetched scenario, but the other aspects of the show are more realistic. The way the characters interact is what makes it feel as if it’s really happening, and it doesn’t make you question plot holes or grasp at explanations for why something turned out a certain way.

Overall, shows set in a high school setting are tricky. The amount of realism changes the experience. Too little realism may make an entertaining show, but it lacks a connection with the characters that a lot of people look for. Too much realism adds an emotional and personal connection with the characters, but can sometimes be hard to pay attention to. It depends on the person, but if you feel like you need a bit of both, try to find a show that has a good balance.

Ian Stobaugh is a freshman German major. He can be reached at [email protected] or 581-2812.