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College Is "High School Part 2"
Writers use popular high school tropes in college-themed works, even if they don't work in college.


(permanent link) added: 2012-05-13 06:19:40 sponsor: MartyD82 (last reply: 2012-06-06 13:32:13)

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The transition from high school to college is typically one of the biggest transitions you'll make in your entire life. Abruptly gone are things like principal's offices, standardized school scheduling and forced/required teacher compassion. Similarly, "popular crowds" are mostly relegated to certain dormatories. And bullying now takes on a more subtle and "adult" form (for example, the "Young Republicans" vs. the "Young Democrats"). In college, no matter how athletic or smart you are, you're basically a nobody in the midst of a large and culturally-diverse student body. And, unlike in high school, your instructors and parents will not determine your general course of action. Your life plan is now completely up to you.

Many television and movie writers, however, seem unusually clueless about how different college life really is from high school life. Thus, they'll apply many popular high school tropes to university settings. Some, such as the Sadist Teacher, are perfectly applicable in a college setting. Others, however, are not. Either because they're unrealistically below the maturity level of your typical college student, or they're simply not feasible within the general structure of university life. For example, a team of thuggish football players perpetually bullying a shy/awkward freshman is highly unlikely in a university setting. As is a close-knit group of students having the exact same class schedule each semester.

One could argue that the reason why this trope exists is because most college-themed works are aimed at a high school audience. And, since most people would be uncomfortable watching "naive" high school students (for example) engaging in raunchy/anti-social behavior, writers instead use a college setting, while implementing enough high school tropes that their works will still be relatable to the average high schooler. In other instances, it's simply a matter of not doing the research.

Needless to say, this trope occurs in almost EVERY college-themed comedy. Also, expect to see this in television shows starring a group of high schoolers that go off to college mid-series.
replies: 51

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