High School Drama: As Seen On Screen? 


Abby Rauguth, Editor-in-Chief

Why does Disney Channel choose to portray high school as something it’s not? The reality is that “true reality” doesn’t sell.

Current teens have grown up watching Disney Channel–accompanied by other  movies including High School Musical, Mean Girls, Clueless, and The Breakfast Club. These movies and shows portray the high school environment–and the students themselves–as something completely disconnected from what is really experienced. Even though these films are over-dramatized, the question remains: Is this what students actually believe high school is like or should be like?

Emily Studt, a current junior, explains how her high school experience has not been affected by these movies. “I know how dramatic the movies are, so watching them didn’t alter any expectations I had.” Although, Studt does admit that the movies can very easily influence expectations, especially with the plot line of “social hierarchy.”

Many, if not all, movies will be sure to include the social hierarchy plot line–following the group of popular students and the much less-than popular students, often referred to as the “nerds.” While this storyline often ignites fear and anxiety in younger students, Studt assures them that the reality is quite the opposite. “This whole plot is such a lie. The truth is, nobody cares who you hang out with, and there’s no drama surrounding the whole ordeal.” Studt even mentions how students are able to socialize with a wide array of personality types and social groups, with no consequences as a result. While the movies are so focused on hitting the most irrelevant points, they are forgetting the most important. Studt reveals how the movies leave out the workload. “It seems like the students never receive homework, when it’s the complete opposite!”

If given the chance, Studt reveals the changes she would make to these high school movies, or even what she would include in her very own movie. “I would definitely be toning down the drama; my own movie would be much more calm!” Studt definitely won’t forget to include the workload either. “All the required work, and the consequences of not completing the work, would be a very important aspect.” While all the movies are over-dramatized, Studt still shares her love for Mean Girls: “The comedy is great, and it does a great job at portraying the reality of friendships. It shows that not everyone is really your friend–and that’s a big experience many people will encounter in high school.”

So, while these movies may be depicting a false reality of high school, they are still fun to watch. And, with only a few tweaks, they could be expressing the true reality instead!