"A-minus?! My life is flashing before my eyes!"A straight A student has just received a report card... along with some distressing news: there is a B in one subject. This makes the student disappointed at having their perfect record tarnished, while others wonder what the big deal is, since they'd usually be content to get a B. When they truly understand how upset the person in question is, there usually is a pep talk reminding them how great they are and offering An Aesop about how an occasional stumble is nothing to be ashamed of. Their overreaction is often caused by an Education Mama. Frequently this trope happens with grades of "A-" as well. Truth in Television, as anyone who has seen high school A.P./I.B. students receiving their grades can attest. With the onset of the Internet and teachers posting grade updates online, this usually happens well before the report card actually arrives. Also pops up in Video Games with end-of-level ranking systems, especially when multiple scores are given across an entire stage; ending with twelve S-Ranks and one A-Rank means an A-Rank for the entire stage. Compare The Perfectionist. If someone else got a higher grade, it can be a case of Second Place Is for Losers and if it happens often it can become a case of Always Second Best. What Do You Mean, It's Not Heinous? is often the character's response to "It's just a 'B.'" If your character isn't bright enough to be traumatized by this trope, then perhaps they'll balk at their F--. A similar attitude regarding reviews of works, particularly video games, is known as 8.8.
— Gretchen Grundler, Recess
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Anime and Manga
- Ojamajo Doremi: In the very first scene of Sharp, Hazuki has a terrible reaction to getting exactly one "Try harder" mark. This doesn't affect the overall plot, however.
- Zatch Bell! also plays it straight when the Teen Genius Takamine receives - horrors! - 70 percent on a history test, when before he was able to get full marks on everything without trying. Justified because whilst he may be a genuinely smart shonen hero, he's also skipping class and missing stuff because he has to heal up after his battles.
- This is Ami's great fear in Sailor Moon. Aliens coming to take all the energy out of their bodies? Ami's on it. Yandere not quite over the heroine's Love Interest and will stop at nothing to Murder the Hypotenuse ? Not a problem. Mad Oracle from the future manipulating a prince into doing his bidding, and eventually goes after Crystal Tokyo's princess? No problem. An A-minus on her final? Ami's crushed.
- In The World God Only Knows, Keima Katsuragi gets upset on the very rare occasions when he gets less than a perfect score; not because he cares about the test itself, but because he has a deal with his teachers that let him play his Dating Sim games in class so long as he aces his tests.
- Digimon Adventure 02 offers something of an inversion - during his time under the influence of the Dark Seed, Ken Ichijouji was an excellent student who regularly topped his class in tests. After undergoing a HeelĖFace Turn, his test results drop somewhat, and while he himself is quite shocked if aware of what's going on, his classmates are thorougly confused and concerned.
- Toki No Shugomono has Miu get a bad grade on a psychics test because she was adjusting her watch. This sets off the whole plot of the story.
- In Silver Spoon, obsessive student Hachiken Yugo achieves the best overall grades in his entire high school - but he isn't the #1 top student in any one class or subject, so he still feels like he hasn't reached his full potential.
- In Death Note, Mello is the second-highest-ranking student at Wammy's House, but all that matters is that he's not the first.
- Played with in the first OVA to Cardcaptor Sakura. Syaoran is nervous about his grades, and opens his report card. He is relieved to find that he's gotten a B- (or the equivalent thereof) in Japanese (which is his worst subject, because it's not his native language). However, he doesn't show his grades to his mother until she prompts him to do so.
Films — Live-Action
- In the classic John Hughes film, The Breakfast Club, Brian panics pretty severely (contemplating suicide) after realizing a B is the highest grade he can pull off in his shop class as the result of a failed project. This was mostly because his parents were putting too much pressure on him getting perfect grades.
- Played straight in the comedy Choke. The pretty young "doctor" at Vic's mother's mental institution is actually a patient: a medical student who suffered a nervous breakdown after receiving her first B.
- In 3 Idiots, Chatur can't stand coming up second in exams to Rancho.
- Get Smart sees Max asserting his superiority over Agent 99—a legendary agent with far, far more field experience than Max does—on the basis that, on the written exam, he scored 8 points higher than 99 had; 8 points, he insists, are the difference between an A+ and an A-.
- Harry Potter:
"You're actually disappointed, aren't you?"
- When discussing Boggarts, shapeshifters which take the form of one's worst fear, in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Ron sarcastically suggests that Hermione's Boggart would be a homework paper she got nine out of ten on. Becomes a Brick Joke when she has trouble on a Defense Against The Dark Arts "obstacle course", where a Boggart transformed into Professor McGonagall, who told her she failed everything. This causes her to get a B-equivalent in Defence Against The Dark Arts, making that class the only one where Harry beat her in that year's exams.
- Plus, in Half-Blood Prince when the gang gets the results of their O.W.L. Exams, Ron notes that Hermione got the top grade in everything except Defence Against the Dark Arts, wherein she got the B equivalent.
- Justified with Harry; he gets the B-equivalent grade in Potions, and since Snape will only take A-equivalent student into his advanced class, it means he wouldn't be able to become an Auror. Luckily for Harry, Snape became Professor of Defense Against the Dark Arts (on which Harry DID get the A-equivalent) and the new teacher is more lenient. It's also worth noting that Snape was apparently not allowed to enforce this rule when it came to teaching the N.E.W.T.-level Defence class, as Hermione was allowed to take the class as well.
- One of the stories in Chicken Soup for the Kid's Soul is based around this. Of course, the girl in question was upset because she knew her father was going to beat her when she brought home the straight A and 1 B report card. Yeah...
- In Dear Mr. Henshaw, Leigh gets an A minus on his Ways To Amuse A Dog assignment in fifth grade. His teacher says the minus is for not standing on both feet.
- "What Teachers Make" by the teacher and poet Taylor Mali:
You want to know what I make?
I make kids work harder than they ever thought they could.
I can make a C+ feel like a Congressional Medal of Honor and I can make an A- feel like a slap in the face:
"How dare you waste my time with anything less than your very best?"
- In Little Town On The Prairie, Laura despairs that she has not made one perfect grade in her school examinations (her history grade is "only" 99 and arithmetic is 92 plus).
- The Langoliers: Toomy had a rather uncompromising father who had this attitude toward grades. It goes partway towards explaining why he's such a monster.
- In The Fowl Files from Artemis Fowl it's mentioned that Artemis was once mortified to get a 99.9% on something (or something like 99.9%)
- Animorphs has a minor example—some Power Incontinence happens to make it look like Rachel is suicidal, and her vice principal brings up her slipping grades as another sign that something may be wrong in her life. She's still getting an A-average, but barely. (Which is pretty good, given the circumstances).
- In Terra, Fthfth obsesses over the two occasions when she only got one star after her grade, instead of two.
- Discussed in Con el Diablo en los Talones when narrator Desi talks about his classmate Camilo, the high school's not-so-unofficial Insufferable Teen Genius:
I was sure that if his grades ever went down from A's to B's (unlikely), he would set fire to himself at the basketball court.
Live Action TV
- In Selfie, hard-working Henry becomes a little upset when he gets an 89 performance evaluation, which he compares to a B, saying he's never gotten one in his whole life.
- Saved by the Bell — Jessie has one of her standard meltdowns over The B Grade. Also has a lesser meltdown over getting less on her SATs than Zach's.
- On Modern Family, the Dunphys ban their kids from using the Internet. Being forced to study using an out-of-date encyclopedia, Alex gets a B on our science test, which infuriates her.
- Small Wonder - A Girl of the Week has been caught stealing tests. She says her parents would kill her if she got a B, prompting the quip from the show's main human kid character Jamie: "I'd kill to get a B."
- The Adventures of Pete & Pete: Ellen gets a B in Driver's Ed, and spends the episode kissing up to the instructor. She eventually gets an A-.
- Gilmore Girls:
- Paris reacts badly to getting an A-minus! Not to mention what happened when several Ivy League colleges would have gladly accepted her — save for Harvard. Poor girl was devastated.
- Rory is disappointed in her PSAT scores, even though they're really good — because her math score is 20 points higher than her verbal score, even though she's generally better at language stuff than math stuff, so she must not have studied hard enough for the verbal section.
- In Drake & Josh, Mindy deconstructed Mrs. Heffer's car and reconstructed it in her classroom, framed Drake by hiding his stolen sweater in the trunk, and then served as Mrs. Heffer's lawyer in an elaborate scheme for revenge because Mrs. Heffer gave Mindy a B. Several years previously.
- In an episode of iCarly, Carly was distraught over the B+ she received in history class, leading her friend Sam to hack into the school's computer and change the grade without Carly's knowledge. However, once Carly found out, the guilt consumed her and hilarity ensued as she tried to change it back. Probably an exaggeration, since the only reason Carly got a B+ was because she handed in her report on three hole paper, and the teacher doesn't like three hole paper. Another reason it was so important to her is because if it weren't for that B+, she would have had her first all A report card.
- Arrested Development, when George Michael got an A-. Both he and his dad were disappointed.
- In the episode "A Hole In The World": as she is dying, Fred deliriously cries out "I sinned. I've sinned, and I'm being punished. I don't know what's wrong. I never got a B- before."
- Fred is also a bit taken aback in "Supersymetry" that her professor had given her an A- on her last paper. Granted, she didn't dwell on it too much.
- An episode of Family Ties revealed that Andy's kindergarten teacher was also Alex's more than a decade previously. Apparently Alex hasn't gotten over the fact that said teacher gave him a B in shoelace tying and his parents even told her he was "willing to take a make-up test".
- Alex thinks his girlfriend will leave him for the Romantic False Lead, who got an A from a professor who "never" gives them out, while Alex got a B. He gets over it when she stays with him, pointing out that he has a romantic side that the other guy lacks.
- In one episode of Parker Lewis Can't Lose ("Senior Jerry") Jerry Steiner gets promoted to the next class and manages to get the first (non-A(+)) B+ of his life; out of devastation he quits school and wishes to become a mason.
- Topanga Lawrence-Matthews in Boy Meets World is a definite example of a straight-A student who will go berserk if anything threatens to tarnish her perfect academic record. To the point where Feeny could scare her back into her seat with two words: "A-minus."
- As an adult on Girl Meets World, Topanga is a happily married mother of two, a successful lawyer, and owns a restaurant. When former teacher Mr. Turner comes over for dinner, she insists he change an A- he gave her in high school.
- Castle gently mocks his daughter who is studying for an exam on The Scarlet Letter: "Ironically, you will be ashamed if you don't get a big red A."
- Power Rangers
- It was (no pun intended) the B-plot (complete with Killer Bee Monster) in an episode of Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers, where Billy got upset over the first B he ever made on a test (in a question about bees, at that). That's what give Rita the idea for the monster.
- Inverted in an episode of Power Rangers Zeo, where Billy has a similar freakout upon learning that his academic over-achievement means he's graduating high school a year early.
- A variation of this was used as the focus of an episode of Stark Raving Mad: Maddie announces that as her last college assignment, she has to write a book report about Ian. Ian and Henry write it for her and the former is shocked when the report is awarded a "B". Ian goes to her professor to complain and slips out that he wrote the paper causing the professor to immediately fail Maddie. Henry manages to get the decision reversed by meeting the professor and telling a made up story about how the "Ian Stark" that visited him was an impostor. The professor believes him and all seems resolved...until the professor reveals that he examined the report further and decided to change the grade to a "C" due to its "childish use of commas". Henry (who at the beginning of the episode was arguing with Ian over the proper usage of commas) then claims "all those commas were justified" once again rising the professor's suspicion. The episode ends with Henry telling Maddie that she's "going to summer school", hinting that the professor failed her again.
- In an early episode of Family Matters, Laura finds out on her progress report (not even her final grade for the semester!) was going to be a B in one course. She instantly declares herself grounded from everything until she can bring it back up.
Harriet: I hope we weren't too harsh on her.
- In a different episode of Family Matters, Urkel, Laura and Waldo all end up in the same Home Ec class. Urkel does not have the knack for it that he has for academics and ends up with a C, which causes him to freak out. Waldo, on the other hand, plays the trope backwards by getting an A and being shocked to the point of disbelief. It was his first A ever, see...
- Parodied in the British-Indian sketch comedy show Goodness Gracious Me, in which a father rants about his son getting a B in A-Level Classical Studies despite having the grades to do medicine at Cambridge; he then rants that his son should be getting a PhD and doing his undergraduate degree in his spare time, but his son cannot because his spare time is taken up playing soccer for the Milwall first team. The father then becomes incensed that his son isn't playing for Liverpool. His son is six years old.
- The Bill Engvall Show: Bryan, Bill's know-it-all son, gets a B, and his reaction is in line with the trope..
- On an episode of A Different World, Kim is stressed because she received a B on a midterm. This leads her to believe that she will not be able to get into medical school and has nightmares about it, complete with Walter and Freddie dressed as Killer Bees.
- Gossip Girl has the overreaction to top them all. Upon receiving a B, Blair sets out to get revenge on her teacher. She sets up a prank and then realizing that the teacher was willing to work something out over the grade Blair attempts to apologize but the teacher is so upset about the prank (which wasn't even that bad of a prank, especially for Blair's standards) she informs the principal and majorly messes up Blair's chance to get into Yale (which was why Blair was worried about the B in the first place). Furious, Blair declares war on her and it eventually ends with the teacher leaving the school and returning to her old job. Over a B.
- One episode of Bones introduces Brennan's old mentor. Booth jokingly asks if he gave her an A- when she gets a stern talking-to from him, to which she replies, annoyed "I've never gotten an A- in my life."
- In Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Willow is extremely upset when she scores "only" 740 on the verbal section of the SAT.
Willow: 740? Verbal? Iím pathetic! Illiterate! Iím Cletus, the slack-jawed yokel!
- In Wizards of Waverly Place we get this piece of dialogue from Alex after they invite Ugh! to their school
Alex: We're this close to getting Justin to cry and not because of a B.
- On Medium, a Tracy Flick-lookalike frames her teacher for rape after he refuses to raise her grade from an A- to an A.
- In The West Wing, the President mentions that he scored 1590 on the SATs (after someone suggested that he got a perfect 1600), and then retook the test just to get the exact same score again.
- When the group's biology assignment is sabotaged and the teacher has to give them all a passing grade, this is Annie's reaction: "Why don't I just get pregnant in a bus station?"
- "Introduction to Teaching"'s B-plot centers on Annie getting an A- on an assignment and trying to find out why. As it turns out, the teachers at Greendale use A-'es to piss off overachieving students and make them drop the class. This leads to Annie rallying the students to demand "Slightly higher grades! Slightly higher grades!"
- The Suite Life of Zack and Cody has Cody as one of these. In the episode where it comes up the most (where he's forced to take Wood Shop due to picking an elective that not even the teacher showed up to. It's revealed that he has extremely unrealistic ideas of what will happen to him if he doesn't ace every class. In a nightmare sequence he's made to be the janitor of a "Big Snooty Ivy League College" due to not acing Wood Shop. As he hysterically claims to his mom when she thinks he's putting too much pressure on himself:
Cody: I'm not putting too much pressure on me! Harvard is putting too much pressure on me! Yale is putting too much pressure on me! Princeton! Stanford! MIT! If I don't ace Wood Shop, I'm going to end up as one of those guys who sells hot dogs and sleeps in a taxi!
- In the "Subway Wars" episode of How I Met Your Mother. Ted, who teaches an architecture class at college, finds out about a website that allows students to rate their teachers. He checks it out and sees dozens of glowing reviews. But the one he notices labels him as "boring".
- Exaggerated on Glee, where Mike's strict Chinese father flips out over him getting an A- on a test (an "Asian F", providing the episode's title), and wants him to drop football, Glee Club, and dating Tina to focus on his studies. Even Principal Figgins (who is also Asian, mind you) thinks Mr. Chang is overreacting.
- Superhuman Samurai Syber-Squad: Sydney got a B and hated it.
- One episode of Lizzie McGuire had Gordo getting nothing but B's from his science teacher. It turns out the teacher just wanted Gordo to challenge himself since he was so good at science.
- House: Dr. Cuddy must have been one. She finished second in her graduating class and was disappointed with the result. Something similar happened when social services examined her house to determine if she was fit to be a parent.
- Played massively straight in Star Trek: Voyager when Paris and Neelix are stranded on a planet together. Neelix asks Paris how he did in the Starfleet survival course and Paris says he got a B-. Neelix deems the news "Not very encouraging" and, when Paris says his father taught the course, observes he obviously didn't play favourites. Goodness only knows how Neelix would have reacted if Paris had a got a C: Taken out a phaser and shot himself to get it over with, probably.
- Unhappily Ever After "B-Minus Blues" (for Tiffany, of course).
- Smallville has an early episode in which an honors student receives a C in Shop Class and proceeds to freak out because it could endanger his plans of getting into college early. When the teacher refuses to change the grade (and honestly that C was the best grade the boy could hope for; his project was so crappy), the student uses his meteor power to split himself in two and murder the teacher. Talk about overreacting!
- In Rizzoli & Isles, Maura hates giving grades to medical students because she is still upset about an A-minus she got in Biochemistry while in school.
- Subverted in Open Heart. Wes comments that even with a 96% average heís going to have a lot of difficulty getting medical scholarships, but heís still proud of it and works it into his conversation with Dylan in order to impress her.
- Odd Squad: When Olympia receives the satisfaction reports from the villains she has stopped, she receives 10s from all but one. This so incenses her that she sets out to track down who gave her the one. It turns out that the villain actually thought she deserved a 10, but gave her a 1 to bait her into a trap.
- Taken to its extreme when Jason is upset that he "only" got an "A++" since it ruins his "A++++" average.
- In another strip, he begs to retake a test when he gets a 98. ("Nobody understands a perfectionist.")
- And in an even earlier strip, he actually gets a "B" and fears that his dad will punish him because of it.
- In another strip, Jason gets a 75... out of twenty.
- In yet another strip, Jason tries very hard to solve an "extra credit" math problem, only to find himself afraid of showing up in class. The kicker? There was a typo in the problem.
- Marcie reacts the same to her imperfect-but-still-high grade as Peppermint Patty does to her standard D-minus. ("''AUGH!") This prompts the explanation that they have different thresholds of pain.
- In another strip, Linus goes to school despite being sick, because he thinks missing one day might prevent him from getting into "the college of his choice".
- In yet another strip, Sally fears she'll have to repeat kindergarten because she "failed flower bringing".
- In Calvin and Hobbes, first-grader Susie Derkins fears that getting a bad grade on one research project (in first grade) will result in her having to go to a second-rate college. It didn't help that she was teamed up with Calvin. In another strip, being sent to the principal's office with Calvin makes her even more frightened, yelling at Calvin that he's "going to hear it from my parents if I don't get my Master's Degree!"
- In The Adventures of Willy Beamish, Willy's report card has various Bs and an A minus, but the C he got in Music Appreciation gets his Nintari locked when it comes up at dinner. If you try and hide the report card from his parents, you get sent off to Military School instead.
- In maimai, the minimum grade to clear a song is an A, achieved by earning an 80% Achievement Rate; a B (or below) will fail you. Fortunately, failing a song does not cause a game over. Justified due to Rank Inflation; after A, there's the grades AA, AAA, S, SS, and SSS.
- Subverted in Misfile when the bookworm Emily got a B-. At first she was disappointed she didn't automatically get an A grade in one of her tests, her friend Rachel pointing out she'd kill to be able to get a B. After that, she started to get over it. Also, she'd already aced the class during the two years she'd lost, and wanted to have a life outside of studying this go-round, but her Education Mama went berserk.
- In Original Life, reactions vary by character.
- Mahou Shoujou Ocean begins with this.
- Sounds like Phase (Ayla Goodkind) at Superhero School Whateley Academy in the Whateley Universe. Phase has been in Montessori and prep schools his whole life, and is shooting for all 'A's while taking a huge courseload, including several junior/senior classes even though he's a frosh. Even his friends have pointed out the 'what are you going to do when you get a B grade' issue to him.
- Invoked in this video by Ben Loka.
- In this 365 Tomorrows' flash fiction story, the protagonist is concerned about his grades dropping to A-; he's concerned for a very good reason.
- In a video by yourchonny, while discussing the latest grades on his report card with his father.
mychonny: I got a B plus. *flinches away*
- Inverted with The Nostalgia Critic. An A- was such a rare event that his Abusive Parents took him to Chuck E Cheeses whenever it happened.
- The Student Room is a British forum where GCSE, A-level and university students can communicate with each other. You will often come across a certain type of student that considers anything below an A* a fail - even though the official passing grades are A* to C for GCSE and A* to E for A-level.
- In the SuperMarioLogan episode, "Codyís Report Card!", Cody gets a B+ in spelling, and is worried his parents will disown him when they find out. At the end of the episode, it is revealed that the B+ was a typo, and that Cody actually got all A+ís on his report card.
- In an episode of The Proud Family, Dijonay exchanged families with the Chang Triplets, and their father immediately chewed her out for having a B in math. "'B' means 'better work harder to get an A'!"
- Hey Arnold!, "Olga Comes Home", plays with this plot by having Helga forge her titular big sister's report card, so that she thinks she got a B+. Which causes Olga to go catatonic and stay in her room crying until Helga breaks down and tells her she did get an A. Also deconstructed with the implication that Olga's reaction is due to their parents, especially their father, going overboard on playing the Education Parent when Olga was growing up.
- The Weekenders has subverted it, twice:
- "Imperfection": Tish shows her report card to the gang, and her straight A grades. She is then surprised to read a negative comment concerning her perfectionism, which, ironically as she points out, tarnishes her report card.
- "Brain Dead": The roles are switched around somewhat... Tish gets a B on a test, but wonders why the others are treating it as such a big deal that they're reinventing her as an exotic foreigner (she's a second-generation European immigrant) because she can't be the smart one anymore.
- The Simpsons:
- In "Kamp Krusty", Lisa almost has a nervous breakdown when she receives a B+ for 'conduct'.
- "Lisa Gets an A" has Lisa worried that failing exactly one exam will prevent her from getting into Harvard, and make her go to Brown University, bus driver Otto's alma mater.
- Inverted in the genuinely touching episode "Bart Gets an F", where Bart jumps up and down and celebrates after getting a D- on a history test at the end. He had actually failed the exam, but his reaction to his failing grade showed he had actually TRIED to study this time and even retained some of the content so the teacher bumped him up a point or two for the effort as a reward.
- During "Pork and Burns", Bart lists various objects in his room that he's not throwing out as they still give him joy, including a report card showing Lisa's only B grade, which brings him "super joy".
Lisa: (scoffs) It's in Phys Ed!
Bart: I don't want to alarm you, but grade point average 3.999999999—
- Futurama used this as the motivation for Professor Farnsworth and Wernstrom's rivalry; Farnsworth once gave Wernstrom an A- (because "penmanship counts"), leading the student to swear he would get his revenge even if it took him 100 years. 99 years later, he achieves his revenge by beating and humiliating Farnsworth at the Annual Inventors' Symposium, giving his hastily drawn mock-up the "worst grade imaginable": "An A minus, MINUS!"
- Static Shock:
Thomas: I don't think that'snote on the test.Father: That attitude is the difference between a ninety-nine and a one hundred percent!
- Honor roll student Thomas Kim (who turned out to be the Monster of the Week a sort of Hulk-like guy whose parents would take nothing less than perfection) got a 99% on a test (for leaving out a single contraction), and immediately complained that the teacher got his grade wrong (he later attacked the teacher at the parking lot, Hulked out and repeating "wrong"). It wasn't his fault though, as described above. When he complained, Richie (who wasn't exactly high on school achievements before becoming Gear - this was a season 1 episode) immediately asked if he could trade grades. Later in the episode, when Virgil and Richie visit Thomas having a study session with his dad. His father is clearly setting the bar pretty high.
- Later still in the series finale, Richie (who had already become Gear) getting a B- on an exam is the first sign that he's losing his superintelligence.
- Similarly, one of the villains on Batman Beyond was a kid whose mother wouldn't tolerate him being second in anything... Which prompted him to try to kill Max when she got a perfect score on a test that he got a very nearly perfect score on. Highest Score? Perfect 2400. The loser kid who's never going anywhere in life? 2391.
- There's an episode of Dexter's Laboratory where Dexter comes home all worried about having to take his mother to see the principal. Dee Dee spends the entire episode wondering "Whadja do? Whadja do?" until Dexter transforms her into a copy of his mother, and takes her to the appointment, allowing her to find out from a tearful principal that Dexter got an A-minus on his last test. Of course, she immediately proceeds to go ballistic ("A lousy A-minus!?"). Then Dexter tells Dee Dee that if she were going to bother him so much about it, they should never have gone through the trouble of turning her into their mother.
- Parodied in ChalkZone: Mr. Wilter gives everybody an F because he thinks they've done the wrong assignment. The students all complain about it, except for Reggie Bullnerd, who doesn't see what the big deal is because he's always getting F's.
- Phineas and Ferb:
- In the episode "Unfair Science Fair", Baljeet fears receiving an A-minus on his science project.
- When the entire group dresses up as their worst fears for a haunted house in "One Good Scare Ought to Do It!", Baljeet dresses up as a failed math test.
- In "The Baljeetles", Baljeet is worried about getting a failing grade in a rock-and-roll music camp. He's actually disappointed, even angry, when he finds out they're not being graded at all... which actually inspires him to channel his nerd rage into a heavy metal anthem about his desire to be a conformist over-achiever.
- In the The Emperor's New School episode "Girls Behaving Oddly", Malina got an A-, causing her to be kicked out of the cheer leading squad and behaved oddly after she joined some girl gang. It turns out that the teacher was about to give her an A+, but her pen ran out of ink.
- In The Raccoons, Bentley is recruited as a computer technician for Sneer Industries by the Pigs, only for them to sabotage his work when they get jealous at how well he's doing. Sure enough, Bentley is fired and is moaning how his career prospects are ruined while Bert and Cedric can't get a word in edgewise of how no future employer is going to pay attention to a mishap that happened to someone as a child. Regardless, Cyril finds out the truth and Bentley is exonerated with an even stronger lock on a job with Sneer Industries when he is older.
- In the first Jimmy / Timmy Power Hour, when everyone is mistaking Jimmy for a big-headed Timmy (and vice-versa), Mr. Crocker gives Jimmy an F (Y'know, since Fs are usually the grade Timmy usually gets)...and the F starts burning his hand! Unfortunately for Crocker he learns the hard way that you don't give James Isaac Neutron an F and live to tell about it!
- In "Breezing Listening Blues" on Arthur, Brain gets a B- on a test and becomes convinced that his mind is being weakened by the breezing listening music that his parents recently started playing at their ice cream shop.
- Inversion: Roger in the Doug episode "Doug's Lucky Hat", after he steals Doug's lucky hat, gets a D- on a test and brags about it: "Look at this! A D minus! I actually passed the test! Doug! This hat has changed my life!!"
- In one of her earlier appearances, Azula in Avatar: The Last Airbender practices her lightning techniques. She gets the form practically perfect, with only one little hair out of place. Her response? Angrily sweeping the hair out of her eyes and returning to her practice, declaring that "Almost isn't good enough!"
- Flying Rhino Junior High: This is the Start of Darkness for Earl P. Sidebottom. Once a straight A student, his reaction to getting a D in shop class was to flee to the school's boiler room, build a reality-altering super computer, and terrorize the school as The Phantom.
- My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
- Not so much grades, but in the episode "Lesson Zero", Twilight Sparkle stresses out over being tardy giving Princess Celestia a friendship report for the first time ever (which, in most real-world schools, would dock a grade). She thinks that it will lead to her being sent back to "magic kindergarten".
- Also, in the Season 3 episode "The Crystal Empire," Twilight comes out of a test with Princess Celestia looking distraught. Spike inquires if she got an "A-? B+?" but it turns out the Princess actually was just assigning Twilight with the task of saving an entire empire, which she wasn't prepared for.
- The Powerpuff Girls:
Him: (in complete shock) "Well, I'll be darned."
- In "Him Diddle Riddle," one of Him's tasks to the girls is to take their SATs and get a score of 100. Buttercup scores a 25, Blossom (to her confused anger) scores a 10, but Bubbles—whose SAT sheet was done up with a drawing of a flower—scored 1075.
- This is played with in the "Painbow" episode of The Powerpuff Girls (2016). Blossom has a Freak Out! because she got an A+, however everyone else received an A+ too due to the teacher being under mind control. People getting grades they didn't earn and the thought that she didn't deserve her grade are too much for her.
- In Transformers Prime, this is what Miko assumes Raf the Child Prodigy means when he claims to have blown a few tests. "Translation: A-minus instead of A."
- An episode of The Real Ghostbusters had Egon Spengler confess that he once got an A- in college, which resulted in his parents refusing to talk to him for a week.
- Milo Murphy's Law: By Melissa's own admission, a tremendous portion of her self-esteem is wrapped up in her grade-point average. In the episode "Sunny Side Up," she's forced to work with Milo on a science project which requires the team to build a container that will prevent an egg from breaking; having had some experience with Milo, she loads a wagon with egg cartons, not one of which goes to waste.
- Appears to be what sent unstable Tucson shooter Jared Lee Loughner off the deep end, with him having a Freak Out! in class and later declaring his community college a "genocide school."
- Following the 2012 NCEA secondary school exams in New Zealand, nearly 7,000 students sent their exam papers back for reconsideration because they got Merit (B) instead of Excellence (A). Some got their wish of Excellence, but most had to live with the fact they got Merit and spent $26 per paper to confirm it!
- There's also the fact that New Zealand offers overall 'endorsements' for your academic year: Students normally take about 80 'credits' worth of classes and if 50 or more credits are at Excellence level (A grade) then you finish the year with an Excellence Endorsement, which generally only the top 7% of students achieve. (You can get Merit Endorsements with 50 or more Merit and Excellence credits, which about 25% of students get). So that one exam paper worth 3 credits could tip you from 48 to 51 Excellence credits, and change your whole year's academic record. (To a lesser extent there are also individual subject endorsements, if you get 14 Excellence or Merit credits in one subject - so again that one exam paper could change the endorsement for that whole class).