In most Real Life
towns and cities, the child/teen population attends a wide variety of schools. These schools may not even in the town they specifically live in. Not so on television. On many shows, you can expect there to be only one school in the entire town and literally every kid in town to attend it. As a bonus, the school may even have the name of the town in its title.
If another school is
mentioned, it will only be when a big sports game is coming up.
Of course, the reason why this trope exists is simple: School is the most logical place to depict children's adventures. And since writers generally can't be bothered with producing more than one school setting (for time and financial reasons), the simplest thing to do is to portray a "universal school" that every kid on the show attends. Kid Coms
and Slice of Life
cartoon series are especially prone to this trope. Though it also frequently shows up in Teen Dramas
- Family Matters. Given that Urkel was infinitely smarter than anybody else at his respective high school and that he was mercilessly teased and bullied there, one must really wonder why he didn't just transfer to another school. Since the show takes place in suburban Chicago, there had to be plenty of other schools he could've attended. Including schools for ridiculously gifted kids like him.
- Saved by the Bell takes this a step further by theoretically having every single activity and event take place at Bayside.
- Given its otherwise realistic portrayal of high school, My So-Called Life played this trope surprisingly straight. Just about every high school kid in town attends Liberty High with no acknowledgement of any other high schools in the area.
- Partially averted on Beverly Hills 90210. The show makes it clear that there are other schools in the area, as transfer students are quite common. Rarely, however, do we actually see these schools on the show.
- Peanuts. Every kid in both the strip and the cartoon series attends the exact same school and has the exact same classes together.
- Doug is a particularly egregious example. Literally every elementary-aged kid in Bluffington attends the Bluffington School, even Al and Moo (who, for all intents and purposes, should be attending a private school for gifted children).
- South Park was almost as egregious as Doug. Given all the other things that town has (a Walmart, a planetarium, etc.), it seems strange that only one elementary school was ever built there. I know it's supposed to be an isolated mountain town but still...