Teen movies have done a lot of good for this world. Where would be without the vernacular of Clueless or the fashion of Heathers? Lost. That’s where.
While they’ve done a lot of good in aiding us through our most awkward years, teen movie expectations of what high school was going to be like were almost always wrong. Those raging parties were not that crazy. Prom wasn’t as memorable as we were led to believe. Also, not everyone can sing and dance at the drop of a hat. But these aren’t the only teen movie expectations that were unrealistic AF… check out the others:
16. House Parties Are Always Epic
Watching movies like Can’t Hardly Wait, you get the sense that high school is going to be this constant stream of parties that are anything but boring. Parents are always out of town. Red Solo cups make up the decor. A grand kiss will be yours by the end of the night. In reality, parents won’t let you get away with something like that. Your neighbors would rat you out. Plus, no one invites THE WHOLE SCHOOL. Never. Mostly high school parties are at most 20 people and even that’s a stretch.
15. Skipping School Is Always An Adventure
How many times have you envisioned a day like Ferris Bueller? To play hookey with your bestie and best girl only to wind up in an amazing parade. That’s what we all thought would happen if we skipped school. Instead, we got Price is Right, Judge Judy and our mom yelling at us for “wasting our potential.”
14. Grand Gestures Are the Only Way to Solve a Problem
Heath Ledger risks all sorts of embarrassment to prove his love to Julia Stiles in 10 Things I Hate About You. Later, she pens a poem that makes her cry in front of her class. Today we have promposals, but that’s such a norm that’s it not even considered “grand” anymore. Really, the grandest and nicest thing someone will do for you in high school is hold open the door as you’re walking into the library.
13. Your soulmate is from your high school
A lot of teen movies have us believing that the love of our lives is right next to us in second period. While there are a lot of couples who marry their high school sweethearts, that’s not the norm or the reality for most of us. Most of the time, the person you date in high school isn’t the one to give you that eternal love to last a lifetime. Rather, it was just a high school fling that got your feet wet in romance and taught you something about yourself.
12. There’s a narc in your high school
Granted there are going to be students who look YEARS older than you, and some students who are straight-up snitches, but chances are there isn’t a narc roaming the halls of your high school. 21 Jump Street and Never Been Kissed (although not a narc, just an older woman there to work) led us to believe that at least one “kid” on campus was there to spy. It made us wary of anyone who looked like they could legally buy booze.
11. Your life is permanently altered at age 16
In movies, it seems like 16 was the age that everyone went from a child to an adult. That one birthday was everything and the days after were nothing like the ones that came before. When really, your sixteenth birthday is just another day. And 16 isn’t even much different than 15. Yes, you learn to drive but that’s about as great as 16 ever gets.
10. Detention isn’t that Bad
If there was ever a bigger lie in the world, we’d like to hear it. The Breakfast Club led us all to believe that getting a detention slip would result in new friends and self-discovery. Nope. All it did was take an hour or so away from our existence while we sat there twiddling our thumbs under the watchful eye of the teacher assigned to detention that day. It was so lame.
9. Friends Are Forever
A lot can happen the summer between middle school and high school. Hell, a lot can change between first and second period once you’re in high school. Movies like Superbad make us to believe that your best friends are there for life… or at least until graduation. The truth is, people go through a lot of shifting social circles and friend changes in high school and beyond. Your BFF sophomore year might be just another rando by prom — and your BFF at graduation might be another person you see on social media by the time you graduate college. That’s just the way it goes. (Don’t worry, though, the real ones stick around for a while.)
8. Parents are 100% Oblivious
We understand that parents are not the focus of teen movies. That’s understandable, but all the shenanigans that go down in teen movies make you think that their parents are the most oblivious people in the world. IRL though? Oh, hell no. High school is when they turn their parental sight up by about a million. Those “crazy high school parties” and “all that sex happening in high school” (as if) make them keep an extra watchful eye.
7. Everyone Loses Their Virginity Before Graduation
For goodness sakes! When teen movies started to get all about sex it was like — you better be having it, or you’re a loser. Pretty sure lots of people in high school were not having sex in high school. And for the ones that were, it was nowhere near as glamorous (or as easy to find the time) as the films made it seem.
6. Makeovers Work Miracles
In movies like Clueless and She’s All That, even The Princess Diaries, girls went from ugly-to-dropdead gorgeous in the matter of minutes. IRL, people look how they look. And even having the opportunity to get a complete makoever is few and far between. Sure, most of us looked a hell of a lot cuter once we started straightening our hair, but it’s not like that beauty transformation completely changed the way our peers viewed us.
5. Everyone Can Sing
Unless it’s a movie about a performing arts school, this is some bull. In movieland, everyone from the random kid in your art class to the star athlete are not only good singers, they are pitch perfect. We’ve heard a lot of people sing in high school. They were not performing on the same level as Kelly Clarkson. Not even close.
4. Everyone Can Also Dance
Not only can everyone sing, but dance too?! Where the eff did these characters learn their A+ dance moves because I don’t think many of us took ballroom dancing in middle school?! Even at school dances, the peak of dancing was grind lines and some awkward back and forth shuffling. Your competition at the school dance (those might actually be a myth, too) will not have nearly the same talent level as they did in Grease.
3. Prom is the f*cking best
One out of three teen movies will end with prom. We’re led to believe that is the cherry on top of our high school experience. The pinnacle of everything that these years were supposed to be. They are supposedly these grandiose nights filled with elegance, romance and partying. The sad truth is that for most of us, it’s a dance in a hotel banquet room that is filled with a sea of Sears gowns and it’s pretty awkward. Sure, after prom parties tend to get pretty LIT — but it’s nothing like the movies.
2. Nerds Always Get Their Day
There are two ways movies portray the nerd: choice #1 is that they do something cool in high school and finally get the recognition/romance they’ve always deserved. The other option is that it happens post-high school and suddenly all the popular people want to be their friend. You know, once they move to Silicon Valley, go on to own a tech company, and wind up worth billions. Movie nerds gave us non-movie nerds so much freaking hope, though!
1. Popular Kids Are Evil
Some of the time, the cool kids prove they’ve got a heart of gold by the end of the movie, but 99.9% of the time popular kids are pure evil in teen flicks. Let’s be real here, all teenagers have an evil thing about them — popular or not. But the “mean, popular girl” stereotype isn’t super accurate. There will always be bullies, but they’re usually not as popular as they think they are. Teen movies made us think it was only one clique that had the mean jean. Nah, it’s all of us during those four years. Ask your parents.