A common trope used to give a character or characters a chance to interact with old classmates and/or as a flash-back to the days when they were in school. Sometimes used to portray how much a character has changed
, or become "cool"
(or alternatively, how the character hasn't changed a bit), or just as an excuse to put the character in a funny looking wig, glasses or braces.
Often, the roles the characters held when they were at school have been completely reversed to ironic effect; the Alpha Bitch
and her Girl Posse
who once ruled the school with velvet fists are now frumpy, frustrated housewifes, the Jerk Jock
who was king of the sports team is now an overweight loser (usually married
to the ex-Alpha Bitch, much to their mutual regret), the mousey shy girl in glasses who was picked on mercilessly by the Alpha Bitch now possesses the looks of a gorgeous supermodel
and the Nerds
tormented by the Jerk Jock
are now handsome super-successful Dot-Com millionaires.
Sometimes shows with ensemble casts will reveal that Everyone Went to School Together
, in which case an alternative to the above is that they're all in exactly the same
Subtropes include Reunion Revenge
; Old Friend, New Gender
may also occur, but is not an actual Sub-Trope
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Anime and Manga
- In From Eroica with Love NATO's most feared agent, Iron Klaus, is forced to go to a school reunion, where we learn that he's actually MELLOWED since those days.
- Grosse Pointe Blank has this initiate the plot. The twist is that the main character ended up becoming an assassin.
- The whole point of Romy And Michele's High School Reunion. Marginally subversive in that the two outsider/slacker heroines themselves have not actually become outstanding successes. Played straight in that they are clearly happier than the Alpha Bitch and Jerk Jock, and that the two nerds they sort of hung out with have made a lot of money; and it also uses a common trope in the genre when it turns out that one of the nerds, who had a crush on Michele in high school, gets his chance to begin dating her.
- Zack and Miri Make a Porno begins with the two impoverished-slacker main characters reluctantly attending their high school reunion, with Miri in it to seduce the Jerk Jock who bullied her but who she always had a secret crush on; it turns out that with age and maturity, he's still a handsome and debonair man, but is also a lot nicer and friendlier to Miri. He's also gay. Miri is happy about the first two, not so much about the third. The whole 'everyone's changed and the losers are now winners' thing is also spoofed slightly, in that Zack and Miri haven't changed that much since high school:
Miri: Look, even though we're broke and we never amounted to anything, we're still better than these people, right?
Zack: No. Not at all. We're probably not even as good as most of them, unless one of them's a crackhead or something.
- The point of the American Pie sequel American Reunion.
- The premise of the movie "10 Years".
- One of the central plot points of Off The Black involves Ray roping David into posing as his son for his 40th high school reunion. In a twist on the usual plotline of the attendee being a loser, Ray was actually well-liked, and renowned for his popularity in high school. Which, of course, only makes it more painful that he's accomplished so little in those 40 years.
Live Action Television
- Ironside: Had two such episodes — "Class of '40" and "Class of '57," both which involved a classmate murdering another and the title character and his staff trying to catch the killer. The latter such episode, aired in the fall of 1971, inspired a Statler Brothers song that became a top 10 country hit a year later.
- Lois had a class reunion on Lois and Clark in which a classmate who was picked on takes Reunion Revenge.
- Tru Calling
- The Class
- The Charmed episode "Coyote Piper" is about Piper's tenth high school reunion, which she ends up attending while possessed by a demonic spirit.
- On The Pretender, Jarod sends Sydney, Miss Parker and Broots to a high school reunion. While they're there, they discover that this was where Mr. Lyle went to high school under a different name.
- Wings had a Class Reunion which Joe, Brian, Helen, and Lowell were all able to attend despite being different ages. This was explained by saying that the high school was so small, they held reunions for several classes at once.
- A fun and slightly subversive version of this was done in one episode of Wonderfalls, where the person throwing their 6½ year reunion was doing it because, as it turned out, she really just needed something to take her mind off her marriage stresses. She ends up having an epiphany relating to this and walking out of the party she herself put together, leaving a bunch of very confused guests in her wake.
- In the Only Fools and Horses episode "Class of '62", the main cast were all part of a Class Reunion set up in mysterious circumstances. This turned out to be part of a revenge scheme, although not the usual Reunion Revenge.
- Family Matters - The Season 1 episode "The Big Reunion," where physically, Carl hasn't changed much since high school, except he'd gone bald (which of course is the butt of jokes).
- Frasier ends up dating the prom queen, but only stays with her so as to accompany her to a reunion. A sudden burst of conscience has him wanting to leave, until she forces him to stay so she doesn't have to walk in alone.
- After Frasier loses his job he receives an invitation to his class reunion but declines. He then decides to go after, through a series of zany misunderstandings, he becomes convinced that a former classmate will spread damaging rumours about him. To boost his confidence his father tells him a white lie regarding a new job at another radio station, unaware that one of Frasier's classmates owns the station. Hilarity ensues.
- Surprising considering its genre, but Stargate SG-1 had this moment when Lt. Colonel Cameron Mitchell showed up to his class reunion with Vala Mal Doran, an alien. The whole town ends up thinking they're sleeping together, particularly since alien Vala misunderstands appropriate human behavior and invents vast sexcapades for the two of them. Then, Mitchell's boring cover is blown when alien assassins try to capture him and Vala during the reunion using clearly non-human tech.
- In the Psych episode "Murder?...Anyone?...Anyone?...Bueller?", Gus has planned his and Shawn's 13th high school reunion. It becomes the backdrop for a case.
- On Still Standing, the Alpha Bitch married The Jock and became successful, while her husband became an internationally-known architect. She is also gracious and kind, and actually apologizes to the sitcom's wife for her high school behavior. And she's played by Beth Littleford.
- 30 Rock had Liz attend her high school reunion, thinking she had been a lovable nerd picked on by the Alpha Bitch and that she would impress everyone with her success. Instead, she discovered that everyone hated her for all her Deadpan Snarking, thinking of her as a bully, and that the supposed Alpha Bitch had actually tried to be her friend. Liz spends the rest of the episode vainly struggling to prove that she's nice now.
- The Mary Tyler Moore Show has Mary attend one of these in the second season.
- A Taxi episode has Bobby playing Louie at the latter man's high school reunion, Bobby seeing it as an intriguing acting challenge.
- Edith goes to one on All in the Family.
- A memorable two-part episode of Married... with Children had Al Bundy and his wife Peggy attend one of these. Peg has her sights set on being Reunion Queen, while Al crosses paths with his old rival, who taunted him about never picking up on the fight they were supposed to have after graduation. When Peg tries to campaign for votes, everyone gives her the cold shoulder because of her Alpha Bitch status in high school, while Al is called a coward for not taking up his rival's challenge to renew their fight. Crowning Moments of Awesome ensue when Peg finally lets Al go ahead with the fight, leading everyone else in the room to follow them outside and leaving Peg alone in the room. With the help of Bud and Kelly, who had snuck into the reunion to get some food, she then rigs the vote to become elected Reunion Queen, and enjoys a dance with Al when he comes back in, having pulverized his rival and proven himself the toughest fighter in their class.
- The Steve Harvey Show: Steve is eager to attend the high school reunion because it will give him a chance to reunite with his high school sweetheart Kim. Kim also teased Regina mercilessly because of her weight. Regina is also eager to attend, now that she is no longer fat and is successful. Steve is disappointed because now Kim is a nun. Regina tells Kim off but is immediately sorry she had done so once Steve tells her who Kim really is.
- Cold Case had "Stand Up and Holler" The victim's friend traded in her friend's life for 4 years of high school popularity.
- The Monk episode "Mr. Monk and the Class Reunion" revolves around Monk attending his 25th college reunion at UC Berkeley. His invitation, to Natalie's amusement, he was nicknamed "Captain Cool" implying to the audience that he was a popular guy back in college. But soon we discover that he was exactly the same as he his now; he earned his name because he often stood in front of a dorm freezer trying to thaw it out with a hair dryer. (And yes, the reunion became the backbone of the mystery.)
- The Mentalist episode "Rose-Colored Glasses" leads the team to a high-school reunion. A very funny scene has Agent Rigsby, after Jane coaches him to use his memory tricks, show up at the reunion posing as a former student. This ruse flushes out the killer.
- An episode of Bones leads the title character to investigate a murder in her hometown while attending her high school reunion, which Booth tags along for, for some reason. We learn she had a creepy stalker and a very strange relationship with the slightly deranged-looking school custodian. In the end, while slow dancing with her Love Interest, she calls it "The prom I never got to go to."
- The school custodian, Ray Buxley, is played by Robert Englund who, at first, appears to tick all off Booth's A Nightmare on Elm Street check boxes but Buxley and Bones had a very good relationship and remember each other fondly.
- Ultraman Mebius, itself already a Reunion Show, has an episode where the class from Ultraman Eighty reunites when they found out their old school is about to be torn down. Ultraman 80 himself (who was their teacher) just happens to be in the area at the time.
- One of the marks on Leverage was a software mogul obsessed with proving he was better than the classmates who had tormented him in high school. To get his computer passwords, the Leverage team set up a Class Reunion with Nate taking on the role of a Jerk Jock who had degenerated into a drunken slob.
- The premise of TV Land's reality show "High School Reunion". It was sort of depressing watching a bunch of middle aged people try to rekindle old high school flames, dig up long forgotten grudges, and exploit the one transgender person for all of their commercials. No wonder their only positive reviews they used for their ads were anonymous facebook updates about the show.
- The Smallville episode Homecoming Clark and Lois attend their high school reunion. Since she only attended Smallville High for a few days, nobody remembered her, much to her dismay, and everyone just assumed she was there just because Clark brought her.
- How I Met Your Mother had a brief glimpse in the future where Ted, Marshall and Lily attend their college reunion. They were able to, 1) Smoke marijuana and 2) Discover that Ted and Lily didn't make out.
- New Tricks:Sandra is very reluctant to meet her classmates - under constant encouragement she finally admits that she was the one bullying and mistreating everyone else, and she's afraid of the atmosphere towards her now. Ultimately she barely manages two steps through the door before fleeing in horror.
- Degrassi The Next Generation (as it was then) used the 10-year reunion of the class of '91 as the Pilot's B-plot.
- The Dexter episode, "Those Kinds of Things", Dexter goes to his 20-year high school reunion with the primary goal of determining whether his high school crush was murdered by her husband (and if so, to kill him.) He also learns that he was a lot more popular and likeable that he had imagined and many of his classmates are very happy to see him. However, all the attention he got was mostly because people knew about his wife's horrible murder which put him into the spotlight, and his good looks and cool job helped the rest.
- One episode of Head of the Class had Charlie Moore having a vision of the students' future as it'll be if he quits. That vision consisted of the students not using their intelligence to build careers. As a Crowning Moment of Funny, Charlie said he expected the part about Dennis Blunden becoming a beggar.
- Dinosaurs had one episode where Ethyl, with help from Earl, attended one of those. Much to her disappointment, she was the only one attending because she was the only one of her class who was still alive. She ends up winning every award of the night, including least AND most distance traveled to attend. Given how often the Rule of Cool was invoked in the series, it's no wonder they bothered to organize a reunion for only one person.
- Strangely, the three main characters from Power Rangers Dino Thunder attended a reunion only one year after graduating. This was done to bring them back together since they all had very different ambitions, so they could team up with Power Rangers S.P.D..
- On one episode of The King of Queens, Doug, Spence and Danny go to their high school reunion. Doug meets up with his old prankrster friend (played by Adam Sandler), who seems to be a completely different person, since he is now assistant principal at the school. Doug tries to convince him to be his old self, and he goes overboard, vandalizes the principal's car, and breaks into a convenience store. Meanwhile, Danny and Spence try to pick up women. Spence ends up picking up a lesbian and Danny picks up the former star quarterback, who is now gay.
- A class reunion is the anchor for one of the ghosts in "The Walk-In" episode of Ghost Whisperer. The other ghost stole his body when he committed suicide after not being able to face his high school friends.
- The premise of the Ben Folds Five song "One Angry Dwarf and 200 Solemn Faces."
- The Music Video of High School Never Ends: Bowling for Soup was picked on then, and use the reunion to get back for several incidents from High School.
- "The Class of '57" by The Statler Brothers serves as a musical version of a reunion, catching up with who became a teacher, who became a car salesman, who became extremely rich (John, the Cattle Baron, Charlotte marrying a multi-millionaire) and who fared not so well (Randy wound up institutionalized, Freddie committed suicide), and who completely fell off the radar ("Where Mavis finally wound up is anybody's bet"). Said to be inspired by an episode of Ironside (the episode, which aired a year earlier, had that very title), songwriters Don and Harold Reid have said that when they began writing the lyrics, they recalled some of their old classmates and what they knew them to be doing now. Some were real, others were made up … although they have repeatedly said that their departed classmate, Freddie, actually did kill himself. (Although it's unknown whether it was the result of "Joe took Freddie's wife.") The refrains summed things up well:
And the class of '57 had its dreams,
But livin' life day by day is never like it seems,
Things get complicated when you get past 18,
But the class of '57 had its dreams.
- "Class Reunion (That Used to Be Us)" by Lonestar sets the scene for a high school class reunion where everyone now looks and acts far different than the narrator remembered.
- Jon Arbuckle once attended a class reunion and brought Garfield with him. There, Jon met a former teacher who was still waiting for a homework. Jon then told her Garfield ate it. Garfield told Jon to leave him out of it.
- The first scene of the original Broadway version of Grease is a class reunion where they reminisce on stuff that occurred during their time in high school.
- In one story arc of Something Positive, Devan went to his school reunion despite his inital reluctance, and it showed a full range of braggarts and losers desperate to cling to their old High School Fame (such as one woman that got surgery so she can still fit into her prom dress). All in all, it's depicted as a depressing, sad state of affairs. And then Jason shows up with a dolled-up Nerdrotica employee to make Davan look successful. (The dolled-up Nerdrotica employee would be Nancy in her first appearance.)
- Cassie in Times Like This went to her class reunion, only to find out she wasn't remembered for much, just a lackluster graduation speech. The storyline begins here.
- Futurama had Leela going back to a reunion at the orphanage where she'd been raised, with all the people she'd loathed growing up into bums... who still saw her as below them, due to her single eye.
- Subverted/parodied in one episode of The Fairly Oddparents.
- One episode of Danny Phantom took place at his parent's college reunion, hosted by billionaire Vlad Masters as a cover to murder his best friend to win the heart of his wife.
- In Dumb and Dumber, Harry and Lloyd once attended a class reunion. While waiting for the others, they had a flashback of an incident that resulted in everyone chasing them. After the flashback, Harry wondered if they still remembered them. Oh, they remembered and were still as angry as at the end of the flashback.
- Family Guy: Peter lied to his former classmates in a failed attempt to impress them.
- TaleSpin: Instead of the invitation Baloo was expecting, he was informed he wasn't invited because he didn't graduate. He then decided to graduate in time to attend the reunion.
- The Simpsons:
- Because Homer Simpson didn't graduate High School, he could only attend as Marge's chaperone. There, they met Artie Ziff, who became quite wealthy. He'd be a Nerd getting his revenge but Homer stated Artie would trade it all for a night with Marge. When Ziff confirmed, Homer briefly considered the idea. At the reunion, Homer won several trophies until being disqualified for not having graduated. Trying to avoid being humiliated at the next reunion, Homer finished High School. At the next reunion, he unknowingly arrived with a cleaning utensil stuck on his head.
- Larry Burns' parents first met at a college reunion. Larry's mother was the daughter of a guest and Larry's father (Mr. Burns) was a former boyfriend of said guest.
- In the episode of Goof Troop "Meanwhile Back at the Ramp", Goofy and Pete's class is having a reunion and the coordinator wants everyone in the class to get an award, so she interviews them about their accomplishments. Goofy hasn't done anything award-worthy—except being a Good Parent.