When I entered high school, I was confronted by the harsh reality that real life differs from what’s portrayed on television. Sadly, within my first week, I came to terms with the surprising realization that parental supervision does still exist, brooding teenage vampires are few and far between, and most shocking of all, I had not conquered puberty overnight. Instead of rubbing elbows with ridiculously good-looking, six-pack sporting yet soulful and intelligent men, I found myself surrounding by braces, acne, cracking voices, and penis jokes. Needless to say, I was rather furious with my television networks.
To escape the disappointments and mundane nature of my own high school experience, I continued to watch, and to covet, the lives of the 20-something “high schoolers” broadcast by Fox, NBC, and The CW (RIP, WB). I lived vicariously through these young, tortured “adolescents” as they strut, plotted, and partied their way across my television screen.
So, with two of my favorite former “high schoolers” married and another expecting a baby, I felt particularly nostalgic. For a trip down memory lane, here are my top 10 favorite TV high schools, feel free to add your own in the comments!
1. Summer Heights High, Summer Heights High
I dare you to find another school where it’s even remotely acceptable for a year 11 girl to date a year 7 boy, or for an overly eccentric drama teacher to exploit the overdose of a student through song. If you can, then “puck you, miss”
2. West Dillon High School, Friday Night Lights
If my high school had at least a tenth of the enthusiasm, school spirit, and sex appeal that the Dylan Panthers possessed, I’m pretty sure we could’ve won every game, and modeling competition, through sheer intimidation and amazing cheek bones. Luv ya, Tammi & Coach T. Sign my adoption papers any day- no rush.
3. The Harbor School, The OC
Though the cast has since moved on, I certainly have not. To this day, I still have a shrine- – I mean, magazine cutout, of the cast in my room, and I’m not the only one still obsessed. (We all know that Cara Delevingne stole her brow game from the eyebrow messiah, Mr. Sandy Cohen.) Though the show’s been over for 7 years and the edges of my cutout have yellowed, I am a staunch celebrant of Chrismukkah and will remain so until my dying day.
4. John Adams High School, Boy Meets World
A front row seat to Correy and Topanga love, Mr. Fenny’s inspirational speeches moving me to tears, and daily Eric Matthews antics… is it too late to send in my application? Let’s hope Girl Meets World doesn’t disappoint.
5. Constance Billard/St. Jude’s Gossip Girl
As pathetic as it sounds, I’d kill to receive a text detailing “the scandalous lives of Manhattan’s elite.” While sitting on the Met Steps with any member of the hot cast. And wearing an elaborate headband. And winning every argument with a breathy, “I’m Chuck Bass.”
6. William McKinley High School, Freaks and Geeks
There’s a reason a show that only aired for one season remains relevant and retains passionate fans even ten years later: it was awesome. I’d throw out 20 years of learning about the dangers of cigarettes for the chance to smoke on the bleachers with a young Jason Segel on my arm or dance to “Come Sail Away” with Sam Wier. Do they hand out green army jackets during orientation?
7. West Beverly High School, Beverly Hills 90210 (90′s Version, duh)
Thank god for syndicated television and SOAPnet or else i never would’ve stumbled upon 90210 after an OC binge. My days would be happily spent trolling the halls of West Beverly while taking bets on who will win today’s Kelly-Brenda smack down.
8. Bel-Air Academy, Fresh Prince of Bell-Air
Sure, we never see too much of the actual high school, but the living room and kitchen of the Bank’s home is just as good as your average locker-filled hallway. Plus, doing the Carlton and watching Uncle Phil and Will engage in one of their infamous tete-a-tetes while Geoffery the butler serves me grilled cheese sounds a lot better than sitting through chemistry.
9. Tree Hill High, One Tree Hill
Only at Tree Hill could someone be an Ernest Hemingway lover, a championship basketball player, a genuinely nice guy, roam the halls with his estranged half-brother only to become best friends, and possess the rugged good looks of an early 2000′s Chad Michael Murray. Sure, the plot lines became a little convoluted and unlike and my love for CMM disappeared after his divorce from Sophia Bush, I still love binging on the early seasons.
10. William McKinley High School, Glee
I think we can all agree that Glee has truly crossed the line between the believable and the unbelievable, but, for the first couple seasons, I really loved it. Remember when Mr. Shu’s wife gave the gang a meth substitute and they sang while high…priceless! You couldn’t resist singing along with New Directions, celebrating their accomplishments, and wincing during each icy slushie splash. Hopefully the final season will revert back to its charming and quirky roots.