High School Rocks

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High School Rocks! You can play football, be the QB, have a girlfriend, lots of chicks, be popular, go to lots of parties... isn't that what High School is for?

"I thought the last day of high school would be the best day of my life until I realized what I'd be leaving."
Zack Morris, Saved by the Bell

If the likes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and My So-Called Life and (especially) Heathers have taught us nothing else, it is that High School is Hell. Sometimes literally.

Not everyone agrees.

While few shows will go so far as to claim learning is fun for its own sake, or that the Alpha Bitch or a Jerk Jock can't make life troublesome, several shows seem to think high school is not all that bad. They seem to have a point: You get to play sports (if you want), find your High School Sweetheart at the High-School Dance (if you are lucky) and make some of the best friends you will ever meet. Indeed, even those shows that paint an extremely negative picture of high school life usually acknowledge the importance of friends.

Cliques might be notably absent, but if they are present, the main characters will maintain friendships across the class divide.

Depending on the troper, this may or may not be Truth in Television. For the latter, this trope exists pretty far toward the idealistic end of the Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism. The opposite trope (naturally) is High School Is Hell. Relatively few shows occupy much of a middle ground; either high school is a place of utter misery or despair, or it's a wacky fun-filled ride.

A subtrope of High School. Not to be confused with naturally occurring aggregates of minerals and/or mineraloids that attend high school. See also Growing Up Sucks and Future Loser.

Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Anime and Manga 
  • Manabi Straight! practically collapses under the nostalgia about the high school days.
  • Sketchbook has elements of this. Even super-shy and eccentric Sora never gets hassled, unlike what would happen in Real Life. Not to mention Kate, who would be a real bully magnet with her western looks and accent.
  • Kare Kano, at least the manga. Despite the overall theme, the actual high school life of the title characters is pretty cake, with any foe made into a trusty ally within a chapter or two. Souichiro and Yukino's biggest worries are often about not being at the top of the exam boards, the ending suggests that nothing really happens outside of high school anyway.
  • Ouran High School Host Club, although if it weren't for the fact that they keep reminding you, you'd forget that they were in school at all. The characters do Angst on occasion, but it's always resolved by the end of the episode.
  • Cromartie High School, although it's more like "High school is as weird as fuck"
  • Yuki from School-Live! thinks her school life is this. It's everything but as she's delusional and in denial about the fact almost everyone is a zombie. The series begins with her lamenting how she loves school and the line is darkly repeated later when her delusions start giving way to reality after she's forced to kill a zombie.
  • Kamigami No Asobi is about a bunch of gods put into an anime high school setting. Apollon, being the perpetually cheerful sun god, sees it this way, and his cheery outlook manages to infect the others. They have tons of fun doing club activities, planning the school play and school festival, etc... while lampshading, parodying, and generally messing with just about every anime high school trope.

    Comic Books 
  • Archie Comics is traditionally like this - Archie is on pretty good terms with everyone, has little-to-no problems, and is a Chick Magnet (even back when he was less attractive and had buck-teeth) - however newer spinoffs like Afterlife with Archie and Riverdale deconstruct it to be less than perfect.

    Film 
  • Friday Night Lights, the football team is shown as some of the most important people in town, and it explicitly says the players will never be as important as they are now. This is emphasised in one scene where a former player freaks two players out by telling them this and saying they need to get a championship ring. The film plays the trope so straight it practically deconstructs it.

    Fan Works 
  • Played for Laughs in the My Little Pony: Equestria Girls episodes of Friendship is Witchcraft. Twilight has an entire song dedicated to how awesome a mundane, stressful life as a normal high school student is and how considerably more fun it is than being a powerful, flying pony princess.
    Twilight: I used to fight dragons and go on adventures
    Twilight: I used to think my life was so-so.
    Twilight: But now I see that being queen isn't half as fun as trigonometry.
    Twilight: High school is the place I'm meant to be.
    Twilight: (...) Pony princess: Good. High school: Great.

    Live Action TV 
  • Graduados is fully focused in this. It is composed of adults who used to be classmates, and keep having nostalgia of the good old times.
  • Saved by the Bell and most of its clones (Hang Time, California Dreams, etc.) are the kings of this trope. Extra points for Saved by the Bell for having the principal as one of the gang.

    Music 
  • The Bruce Springsteen song "Glory Days" is made of this trope, albeit with a bittersweet dose of hindsight.
  • "Be True to Your School" by The Beach Boys.
  • "High School" by MC5.
  • "Rock N' Roll High School" by Ramones.
  • "Popular" by Nada Surf does this by reciting pages from a terrible teen dating advice book with tongue-firmly-in-cheek.

    Video Games 

    Webcomics 
  • The modern arc of Arthur, King of Time and Space was this, when Arthur was at school.
    Arthur: All that's demanded of you is that you learn things for six hours a day. The rest of your time's free and you've got school activities and online games and your friends to hang with. It's never this good again till retirement.
Apparently Truth in Television for the author, who made a similar point when explaining why his Doctor Who High School A.U. was remarkably free of angst.

    Western Animation 
  • In Gravity Falls, Mabel believes in this trope due to overexposure to such portrayals in the media, asking Wendy if her high school experience is "more rom-com or wacky romp." Wendy quickly sets her straight. Word of God is that this is reflective of creator Alex Hirsch's experience.
    Mabel: Why aren't they singing about following their dreams? TV taught me that high school was like some sort of musical.
    Wendy: TV lied, man.

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