Theory: We Are Obsessed With High School TV Shows Because High School Is Kind Of A Metaphor For Life

Anyone agree?

I’m rewatching Friday Night Lights right now. It’s on Hulu for those of you who have Hulu. And a special thank you to my friend Kelly for letting me steal her Hulu login so I could watch this. And This Is Us and The Bold Type.


High school, in a word, is a shit-show. It’s a time of maturing (or not) into young adulthood, preparing for an unknown future, and finding yourself — all while keeping your raging hormones and very big emotions in check.

The prominent themes of high school — like popularity contests, cliques, sports are life, and judgment for anything or anyone different — still painfully resonate today.

Nostalgia, Relateability, or Both?

Look at the other TV shows & movies that we watch (and love) years beyond our own high school days — 10 Things I Hate About You, Clueless, Grease, Bring It On, Mean Girls, Gossip Girl, Glee, Laguna Beach, The O.C., Saved By The Bell, Boy Meets World, etc.

All classic.

Why do we gravitate toward these shows decades after we’ve outgrown them, though? Some of it may be sentimentality (hello, Saved By The Bell), but I think we’re drawn to them because we can still relate to the emotional scars that many of us are still wounded from.

On that note, I wish we could walk into a therapist’s office the same way we walked into a guidance counselor’s — willingly because it was free, and confident our problems would be solved after 6th period.

Are We Still Running In The Same Teenage Circles?

Life in our 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s, and beyond really is no different than an episode of Laguna Beach. There’s still a ring leader of the group calling all the shots. There’s the center of attention guy who is just funny enough not to be deemed obnoxious, a girl who uses her looks to get what she wants, and an outcast that everyone either forgets about or walks all over.

Just like high school, we define both ourselves and others by the uniforms we wear. We’re all still trying to figure out what the real point of anything is, from marriage to career to parenthood and beyond. We all still have relationship drama. We all still deal with bullies or people trying to tear us down, and we all still wallow in self-pity when we don’t get our way.

Like high school, we’re still fighting for the #1 spot on the team. We’re still anguished to understand our feelings of sadness, anger, guilt and triumph. We’re still desperate to fit a certain mold and find where we belong — yet at the same time are desperate to break free of a stereotype. We’re still chasing happiness.

Thursday Food For Thought

I guess all of this to serve as a reminder that we are not better or worse than someone because of the way we look or a job title we hold.

I believe the loudest theme of life to be one of belonging, which is what high school is all about — figuring out which group is your group. Whether we want to admit this or not, we all want to belong — to ourselves and to a group — no matter how old we are.


A little random today, but I hope it made you think. That’s the point, after all. Thanks for reading!

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PS! Are you new here? Welcome to Take A Sip. The Tuesday + Thursday newsletter that provides you with advice and life lessons meant to make your mind happier. Some days we will Take A Sip of Confidence, others A Sip of Style, and others yet A Sip of Wellness.

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Be you.

XOXO,

Ashley