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School Life on TV


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#1

BraveHeart1982

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Posted Sep 6, 2004 @ 1:49 AM

What do you think are the best and worst show transitions from high school to college. I think Dawson Creek is the best example of how crappy show transitions from high school to college usually are. I think mostly because naturally a show has to change a bit as the characters on shows get older and most shows dont do a good job of that. They change the characters too much and usually end up making the show totally different from when it was when it started. I think Buffy did a good job with the change but didnt handle teens growing into adults very well. If you have any thoughts on the subject please post away.

#2

Mrs OldManBalls

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Posted Sep 6, 2004 @ 8:55 AM

Saved By The Bell did a meh job. Shows that have such generous size dorm rooms amuse me to no end.

#3

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Posted Sep 6, 2004 @ 9:35 AM

The biggest problem is convincing the viewers that the entire cast all wanted to go to a certain college in the same area, and that said college offered every major available to students. Look at 90210 and how the major players all ended up at a community college around the corner. The Creekers were not as blatant, but just as contrived. Joey went to one college, Jen and Jack another, and the writers even managed to get Dawson back from California to Boston to attend film school. (At least Pacey didn't attend school, but he worked in Boston, too.) And conveniently Grams gave the Creekers a place to meet when she moved to Boston. I sure TPTB on both shows stayed up all night to figure a way to keep the groups together and keep the ratings up.

#4

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Posted Sep 6, 2004 @ 9:45 AM

The biggest problem is convincing the viewers that the entire cast all wanted to go to a certain college in the same area, and that said college offered every major available to students.


I totally agree with that. I sometimes think that if a show is facing college age, time to shake up the cast. Sure the folks at home will be upset, but it will help the integrity of the show. Everwood and JOA are both about to cross this bridge. Amy & Ephram (Everwood) are in their last year. I suspect this is the basis of the Madison pregnancy point, now he has a reason to stay. I think the JOA characters are now juniors. I can't think of any show that has done this transition well because they all insist on ALL the characters sticking around and going to the same school. It is entirely too convienent.

#5

Cali Native

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Posted Sep 6, 2004 @ 10:24 AM

The truth is there shouldn't be a transition at all. If it's a High School show, it should end after High School. Most people use college to "break up" with their High School friends, without actually having the drama of saying: "I've out grown you people".

The few High School people I met in community college as the result of being in the same class, it seemed like a totally awkward experience, and we never really renewed any kind of friendship during or afterwards. When I moved on to university, that was the final, permanent break.

In "real life", Dawson would've stayed in California and made new friends there. Jack would go to NYU, Berkeley, or something so he can finally get it on with a man. Jen would be someplace else. Joey in Boston seems about right, but Pacey probably wouldn't have followed. And in 20 years, the Creekers wouldn't so much as acknowledge each other's existence if they ran across someone from that distant past on the street.

There are exceptions to this, of course, but in my experience most folks have a very clean cut between college and high school. It's neccessary in other to chart developmental maturity (HS is when you made friends by conforming to various stereotypes, College is when you made friends by being yourself)--because shows like 90210 and the Creek don't have this break of old-environment, they compensate by having the characters act conciously, artificially 'grown up'.

The post-HS era is always kind of silly and uninteresting because the script is so forced.

#6

mr.simpatico

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Posted Sep 6, 2004 @ 10:36 AM

I totally agree with that. I sometimes think that if a show is facing college age, time to shake up the cast. Sure the folks at home will be upset, but it will help the integrity of the show.


You have a point. Speaking only for myself but the majority of my present day friends are the ones I made in college. Basically all the kids I used to hang out with as a teenager basically drifted apart since we had different life goals. And based on what I've seen in real life, mine is not an isolated case like that.

I always did think it unrealistic that a group of friends would all go to the same school instead of going seperate ways and seperate places unless they were living in a very small town. The only show I can think of that dealt with this in a somewhat realistic way (for a very unrealistic show) was BtVS which had Buffy dropping out after Joyce died, Willow staying in school, Zander deciding not to go to college and Cordy drifting from the group entirely to go to L.A. They remained friends but they still had different lives to lead. One of the things that bug me about Smallville is that I get the feeling they're to go this route with everyone going to Metropolis U. (which shouldn't even be near Kansas but that's another story) as if there weren't any other colleges in the area - I hope I'm wrong on that.

Shows that have such generous size dorm rooms amuse me to no end.


The City college I went to (for my undergraduate work) in NYC didn't even have a dorm. Most colleges in this city don't (with big exceptions like LIU, NYU, St.Johns etc). I'm amused that every college on TV seems to have a dorm enviroment. I don't know how realistic it is in other parts of the country but most of the students I know either share an apartment off-campus or live at home. But you almost never see that on a TV show (off the top of my head I can't think of one).

Edited by mr.simpatico, Sep 6, 2004 @ 10:45 AM.


#7

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Posted Sep 6, 2004 @ 11:38 AM

Saved By The Bell did a meh job. Shows that have such generous size dorm rooms amuse me to no end.

Is it just me, or did the girls' room connect with the guys' room via this flimsy door? Many colleges separate the sexes on different floors or buildings, so that was pretty unreal.

#8

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Posted Sep 6, 2004 @ 11:39 AM

The bulk of the 90210 kids did not live in the dorms. The Walsh's stayed at home. Steve moved into a frat house (although I wonder how realistic that is for a freshman to move right in). Donna, David & Kelly had a beach apartment. Andrea (token poor chick) lived in the dorms and when she got married Steve moved into her room (which would've never ever happened when I went to college) because the Frat house was too noisy. But we all know how realistic THAT show was. :)

#9

nerdyduck

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Posted Sep 6, 2004 @ 12:48 PM

Shows that have such generous size dorm rooms amuse me to no end.

It amuses me too. I lived in the dorms my first year and it was very, very tiny and cramp. You could barely fit two people in it. Luckily, I lived in it by myself but I had to send back a lot of stuff home so I could have a decent size area for studying. When I see the dorms on TV, I'm thinking, "Oh, if they only knew real life."

#10

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Posted Sep 6, 2004 @ 3:37 PM

Gilmore Girls wasn't really a high school show, but I nonetheless enjoyed Rory's transition to college. I liked that she slept with Dean and thus was knocked off her pedestal.

I'm interested in seeing how Everwood is going to handle college. The O.C. should have been facing it as well, but TPTB decided to pull a 90210 and have a Junior Year 2.

Buffy could have transitioned well with college, but then they put a big focus on Dawn and Rilely and that really killed the show. It got really pathetic in season 6 and 7 when they were treating Buffy like she was a 40-year old soccer mom, and when they tried to re-create the high school dynamic with Dawn. It's like, "Hello? Sunnydale High burned down at Graduation for a REASON. Don't try to go back!"

I actually like the college years on 90210.

#11

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Posted Sep 6, 2004 @ 3:44 PM

You have all made some good points.


In defense of Dawsons Creek in the last episode only Jack and Jen were still close while the rest of them barely talked until they all had to come home. However they all spent a little too much time together during college. But its not like they never made any new friends. So I really didn't mind that because they introduced new characters like Audrey and that British chick into the mix.

BTVS did a decent job of making the transition to college. Xander, Willow and Oz had decent explanations for sticking around. It didn't cause a big change in group dynamics because Buffy never had a big group of friends. If she did then there would have been a more drastic change in group dynamics which some people might consider a good thing. One realistic thing about BTVS is that the characters struggled to maintain their close friendship during the last part of season 4. They confronted a few issues that came with college life.


I don't think that a few HS friends going to college together necessarily prevents maturity and growth(in real life and on t.v.) but it can create a problem. I think when too many old friends are still together the writers sometimes write them the same way they did before instead of making changes. But, IMO, good writers should be able to overcome that.



I also think sometimes its necessary to keep the whole group together to keep the ratings and please the fans.

Edited by oreo8704, Nov 7, 2004 @ 10:38 AM.


#12

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Posted Sep 6, 2004 @ 7:08 PM

When the star(s) of the show is(are) the parent(s) and/or the child actors are free to go to college in real life, you get a case of "who the hell is this kid living with them?" Case in point: The Cosby Show, 7th Heaven.

#13

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Posted Sep 6, 2004 @ 8:44 PM

Re: Gilmore Girls: Despite perhaps performed poorly in the interview, it truly stretched credibility that Paris failed to get into Harvard. One: she was a legacy. Two: She did just about everything possible to be an attractive candidate. The bar is set lower for candidates who are legacies, but I doubt she needed it.

Anyway: I thought the show suffered when Rory went to Yale because things would start to get interesting on her end, and then bam! we'd be back in Stars Hollow. A lot of the show became cell conversations between Rory and Lorelai.

What it did do well was portray the awkwardness of a co-ed dorm, and dealing with roomies, keg parties, and finding out that you aren't a big fish in a little pond academically anymore.

#14

TheCustomOfLife

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Posted Sep 6, 2004 @ 8:57 PM

The Facts of Life sucked at this because all of the girls were not the same age yet they still hung out anyway. Like, when the show ended, Jo and Blair were like 23 but Tootie was 17 and Natalie was 19. And fucking NATALIE was the first to get some.

#15

Dani257

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Posted Sep 7, 2004 @ 11:27 AM

Re: Gilmore Girls: Despite perhaps performed poorly in the interview, it truly stretched credibility that Paris failed to get into Harvard. One: she was a legacy. Two: She did just about everything possible to be an attractive candidate. The bar is set lower for candidates who are legacies, but I doubt she needed it.


Oh, do not get me started on that injustice again. I can do it. *restrains self* And, I don't even like Paris, and I still get mad about that.

#16

MaggieElizabeth

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Posted Sep 7, 2004 @ 1:02 PM

My problem with transitions from high school to college on most (if not all) television shows is simply this: all these characters may be in college, but their interest in actually LEARNING anything is next to nonexistent. The drive toward achievement and the fulfillment of academic and/or career ambitions are almost never portrayed; discovery of previously unexpected interests and enthusiasms is likewise ignored. Most of the college students on television seem to have no reason to be in college at all, other than to keep the show going. Even BUFFY's Willow, a brainiac in high school, never seemed to study at all once she went to college. (On an up-side, however, I did like the evidence in an episode or two that Buffy, of all people, was actually interested in some of the things she was learning. So Charlotte Corday was a vampire, eh?)

Depictions of college almost invariably drive home one point: TV writers (or at least those who write these kinds of shows) just don't value intellect much. Or, if they do, they lack the imagination to integrate intellectual development into a worthy plot. Heck, they do that better with high school kids. (The development of Grace Manning's acting and writing ambitions in ONCE AND AGAIN leaps to mind. That show might have dealt successfully with the transition from h.s. to college, if only it had lived that long.)

#17

Greybeard

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Posted Sep 7, 2004 @ 1:37 PM

At least you all are talking about shows where the characters do move on to college. Even if it fails, it is so much better than some shows where the actors are twenty six years old and we are expected to believe that they are still in high school.

#18

joanne3482

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Posted Sep 7, 2004 @ 2:32 PM

I think the Cosby show handled this transition fairly effectively. Of course their focus was family instead of a circle of friends of a certain age so that may be why they were able to accomplish this. Denise & Vanessa went away to school, fairly realistic. Denise dropped out because she wasn't enjoying college, also fairly realistic. Theo wasn't smart enough or whatever to go somewhere else so he went local and lived at home. We lost Cockroach and Adam Sandler from his roster of friends but gained those other guys. It worked, but it only worked because the focus wasn't on the kids' lives but the family as a whole.

#19

Avery

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Posted Sep 7, 2004 @ 3:58 PM

Seems I'm the only one still hanging with high school friends. We went to different colleges, but all moved back to St. Louis and get together weekly.

Anyway: Boy Meets World. They go off to college, and creepy Mr. Feeny suddenly shows up working at the college. He lives next door. He was Corey's teacher in high school. Now he's showing up at college.

Time to get a restraining order.

#20

screamapiller

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Posted Sep 7, 2004 @ 4:22 PM

Anyway: Boy Meets World. They go off to college, and creepy Mr. Feeny suddenly shows up working at the college. He lives next door. He was Corey's teacher in high school. Now he's showing up at college.

Restraining order, indeed. That's just weird. And totally not believable. Now, moving from a middle school to a high school, maybe. But from a HS to a college where all of your former students are now? Cree. Pee!



Seems I'm the only one still hanging with high school friends. We went to different colleges, but all moved back to St. Louis and get together weekly.

*raises hand* Nope, you're not the only one Avery - my best friend and I live 3 blocks away from each other, and we met 25 years ago this month when she moved into my school district and we were in the same sixth grade class. Other than college, we've never lived more than 2 miles away from each other. I've known my four closest friends since middle school, and we still talk to each other all the time.

But NONE of us ever would have gone away to school together like the Dawson's Creek and 90210 gangs did, because we were all looking for very different things and we weren't all going to find what we needed at the same school.

#21

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Posted Sep 7, 2004 @ 4:24 PM

I always thought it was strange. I thought Mr. Feeny was Corey's sixth grade teacher, high school principal and dean of whatever college.

At least Mr. Belding didn't show up in Save By The Bell: The College Years. Instead we got Mr. Belding working at the same place as his students (The Mall, Lisa's Country Club) and going on vacation with them (The Movie in Hawaii). That was really weird and creepy.

#22

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Posted Sep 7, 2004 @ 5:45 PM

On Boy Meets World, when the core group went to college, Mr. Feeny first went with them as a student, saying that he had decided to go back to school. In one of the classes, he lapsed into teacher mode while giving a presentation, and the class was taught by Dean Bolinger (sp?), who quickly decided that she wanted to hire him as faculty. BTW, the dean was played by Feeny's real-life wife; during the rest of the series, Feeny and the dean strike up a romance. So that particular aspect of the teacher/principal goes to college storyline wasn't quite as farfetched as it could have been, but it came close.

There was the whole issue of Pembroke Univ. being right there in their hometown, but never having been mentioned until the kids are in their senior year of high school. And of course they all end up going there, even though Topanga got accepted to an Ivy League school and turned it down to stay with her boyfriend. (There's part of me that wants to jeer at this as being completely unrealistic, but I ... uhhh ... did the same thing. Hey, I graduated from high school when I was 16, so at least I had the excuse of being really young and stupid.) Then there was the older brother Eric, who had such low grades he didn't get into college initially, but miraculously when the younger kids begin college, he's there too. The only thing that saved the show from being completely over the top was that they did meet a couple of new people who became part of the group, and the dorms/apartments didn't seem huge or in great shape. IIRC, the married students' housing that Cory and Topanga moved into looked like it should have been condemned, although they were eventually able to transform it into something attractive and much more spacious/quiet/less scary merely by painting the walls.

Edited by BookWoman56, Sep 7, 2004 @ 5:46 PM.


#23

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Posted Sep 7, 2004 @ 6:05 PM

See, I hate the transition from high school to college, as portrayed on television, because it duped me into believing that all my friends would go to the same university as I did. Nothing could have been further from the truth. It was a harsh reality check on that first day of classes when I realized I knew no one. However, reading this thread makes me feel better now that I realize I was hardly the only one. Still, I hate television for that.

#24

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Posted Sep 7, 2004 @ 6:43 PM

There was the whole issue of Pembroke Univ. being right there in their hometown, but never having been mentioned until the kids are in their senior year of high school.


To be fair to Boy Meets World, their hometown was Philadelpia. I don't know if you know Philly, but trust me...when you've got a city with like six million people in the metropolitan area, there's no shortage of good colleges to go to. I can probaly think of like five major universities in Philly off the top of my head right now.

I do agree that there's a major lack in intellect during the college years...did we ever even learn what any of the majors were for the DC and 90210 gang?

#25

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Posted Sep 7, 2004 @ 6:50 PM

It was a harsh reality check on that first day of classes when I realized I knew no one


I xperienced that today. Damn TV shows making me think that it would be all fun and full of jokes.

#26

nerdyduck

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Posted Sep 7, 2004 @ 6:56 PM

Seems I'm the only one still hanging with high school friends. We went to different colleges, but all moved back to St. Louis and get together weekly.

I still hanged out with my high school friends when I was in college too. We all went to different colleges in Oklahoma and talked every now and then. We weren't as tight as we used to be, but after every semester we get together for lunch or dinner and talk about the last 6 months. But now, two of us have moved to different states so we don't talk as much but we're still good friends. It's just that we wanted different things in life and moved on.

This is a transtition that doesn't work well on TV. The whole sticking together in the same gang doesn't work in life. No one had the same goals as the next person and some of us wanted something new. I know the writers don't want to bring in new characters or write old ones out (major "jumping the shark" moments), but if they want to be a little realistic in the situation, then that is what they will do.

I agree about Boy Meets World. Hell, none of my junior high teachers moved up to high school. And there was no way in hell they moved up into collegiate level. None of them had doctorates.

#27

Avery

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Posted Sep 7, 2004 @ 8:02 PM

You know, I totally spaced when I posted and forgot that my roommate in college was one of my best friends in college. Two of the guys on my HS swim team ended up in the next dorm over. But then 25%+ the people from my HS seemed to go to Mizzou; every semester another one would pop up in one of my classes.

Definately not my entire circle of friends, though. And most often it was people whom I had not known that well beforehand.

Speaking of Cosby, when Denise went off to college on Another World, that was done rather well. She made new friends, family occasinally stopped by on some excuse or other. Not really the same show, but close.

#28

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Posted Sep 7, 2004 @ 8:46 PM

"Family Ties" actually handled the transition pretty well. While it would have been more likely that Alex would have ended up at an Ivy League school or another prestigious college with a fine business school, they weren't going to write out Michael J. Fox, and did the best they could. They did show him dealing with classes, with the pressures, with new friends [and new girlfriends, and working through the problems of having different interests than your SO]. Then Mallory, not exactly an intellectual overachiever, but bright in her own way, went to a less prestigious, less demanding school and we saw her dealing with college life in a different manner [I remember a good episode where her partner in a class project was an elderly woman who'd returned to school].

I know the show could be broad sometimes, but I actually thought they showed a more realistic college experience than most.

#29

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Posted Sep 7, 2004 @ 9:30 PM

Speaking of Cosby, when Denise went off to college on Another World


She went to Hillman College on A Different World. Same network, different time of day. :-)

Edited by TheCustomOfLife, Sep 7, 2004 @ 9:30 PM.


#30

klio

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Posted Sep 7, 2004 @ 9:32 PM

Having been through college, it's always tweaked me that college students on TV shows almost never study. If they do, it's to get out of doing something with somebody else.

I'm sure Barbara Hall is already hard at work trying to figure out how she's going to get Grace, Joan, and Adam in the same college, conveniently located in the heart of Arcadia.

Edited by klio, Sep 7, 2004 @ 9:32 PM.