Froshmore Year
No freshmen. Ever.


(permanent link) added: 2012-05-04 11:13:24 sponsor: iluvendil (last reply: 2013-08-11 14:19:27)

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Froshmore Year is an odd phenomenon almost exclusive to the Teen Drama genre where a series will begin in the featured characters' sophomore year. Aside from one-shot characters used to show that there's someone even further down in the pecking order, or possibly younger siblings introduced once the major characters are safely upperclassmen, there are almost never any freshman characters. This is done despite the fact that 9th Grade is a dramatic goldmine in which most kids encounter the learning curve of high school life and that it would give the writers another year of content before having to brace for a paradigm shift when the kids graduate.

Some shows will even try to have their cake and eat it too by going out of their way to avoid 9th Grade while still capitalizing on the newbie outsiderness of freshmen by stating that their high school begins in 10th Grade, which can occasionally be an example of Truth in Television.

There are a few possible reasons/justifications for this. One would be to avoid the usual "Freshman Year" situations that might get in the way of the plot, and it should also be noted that many school districts in America still go by the K-6/7-9/10-12 distribution of Grades, so they technically don't have freshmen, either. Another might be an attempt to make Dawsonís Casting less noticeable and to eliminate some potential squick factor of sexualizing the leads in the eyes of the general public.

This trope doesn't generally apply outside the Teen Drama genre, as family-centered dramas and sitcoms tend to start off with younger children who, by necessity, have to grow up, and adult-centered dramas or procedurals don't tend to have kids around enough for their ages to really matter. One theory for this, at least in the context of sitcoms, is that being a freshman puts the protagonist at the bottom of the social hierarchy, making them unfamiliar with their surroundings, and a target for the jerkass. On the other hand; beautiful, popular, and sophisticated teen drama people were never freshmen, because that's, like... so lame.

Examples:

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[[folder:Comic Books]]
  • Spider-Man was bitten by the spider which gave him his powers when he was fifteen, which would probably put him at sophomore age, and all of his classmates were roughly the same age.
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[[folder:Live Action TV]]
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Double whammy in that not only did Buffy come to Sunnydale in her sophomore year, it's implied that it's directly on the heels of her adventures in L.A., which would mean she wasn't even called to action as the slayer *in the backstory* until her sophomore year.
  • Dawson's Creek: Joey explicitly states in the pilot that she and Dawson are starting high school, and Dawson is classified as a freshman by Mr. Gold, and yet they are also stated to be fifteen and in 10th Grade. Granted, graduation didn't come until the end of Season Four, but that was only because Seasons One and Two covered one school year; Season One's finale states very clearly that it had only been three months since the pilot, and Season Two picks about about 30 seconds from where Season One left off.
  • Degrassi: Gloriously averted in that the characters started off in 7th and 8th Grade and were allowed to age right through 9th and beyond.
  • Freaks and Geeks: Averted. Sam Weir and his buddies were "geeky" freshmen for the television series' very short run.
  • Glee: Rachel states in the pilot that she's a sophomore, and it is assumed that all the kids are in the same year. It isn't until the Third Season premiere that a few of them are retconned into juniors in what, for all intents in purposes, should have been their senior year.
  • Head of The Class: Averted. When Charlie Moore takes over teaching the class it seems as though they'd been at it for a year or more already; but the show lasted 5 seasons*, which means that they were freshmen when he started teaching.
    • [1] is the Seasons 4 & 5 took place over senior year.
  • Heroes: Claire starts off the show as a sophomore.
  • Popular: Sam, Brooke, Harrison, and the rest were all sophomores in Season One, and Word of God says that had the show gotten a third season, they would have graduated at the end of it.
  • Power Rangers: Though it took them four seasons to graduate, Word of God as per the official merchandise places not a single Ranger below the age of sixteen during the first season. The only one to graduate ahead of the others was Billy, who was a freakiní genius, and given what ideal role models they were all supposed to be, itís doubtful any much less all of them were in remedial classes.
  • Veronica Mars starts in Veronica's junior year, but When It All Began and many flashbacks are set in the previous year, while freshman year isn't mentioned much.
  • The Wonder Years: Whether or not itís an aversion really depends on how you classify its genre. If you see it as primarily the story of Kevin, Winnie, and Paul, then it is, since they start off in 7th Grade and age right on up through 11th Grade. If you see it as a family dramedy that includes the adolescent protagonistís best friend and childhood sweetheart, then not so much.
  • Welcome Freshmen: A major aversion in that enduring freshman year was the show's entire premise. After the Second Season, all but one character became sophomores. The show's title was kept by flunking Walter and making him repeat 9th Grade, while new freshmen were introduced.
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