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Film / K-12

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I'm getting out of here.

K-12 is a theatrical film released on September 6th, 2019, directed and written by Melanie Martinez. It premiered in Los Angeles on September 3rd and was shown in selected theaters for one day only on September 5th. It was also premiered on YouTube on September 6th alongside a Q&A session.

The film is also in part a musical, with some scenes devolving into musical numbers for her second studio album, K-12.

It is the second instalment in the Cry Baby Universe. Preceded by, of course, Cry Baby.

A sequel is set to be released in 2023.


  1. "Wheels on the Bus"
  2. "Class Fight"
  3. "The Principal"
  4. "Show & Tell"
  5. "Nurse's Office"
  6. "Drama Club"
  7. "Strawberry Shortcake"
  8. "Lunchbox Friends"
  9. "Orange Juice"
  10. "Detention"
  11. "Teacher's Pet"
  12. "High School Sweethearts"
  13. "Recess"

K-12 (the album and film) provides examples of:

  • Adults Are Useless: The adult teachers at the eponymous sleepaway school are consistently negligent in dealing with bad behavior.
    • From "Wheels on the Bus":
      I know the driver sees it
      I know he's peeking in the rearview mirror
      He says nothing
      Trying to ignore it, it's fucking boring
      I'm quietly observing, I'm saying nothing
    • From "Nurse's Office":
      "Teacher, can I sit right there?
      This bitch behind me is cutting my hair"
      "No, just sit your ass down at the chalkboard and stare"
      I faked up a seizure and left outta there''
  • Alpha Bitch: Kelly, the girl who bullies Cry Baby in the film. Unfortunately for her, her clique abandons her by the end of the film.
  • And That's Terrible: "The Principal" is all about how repulsive the character is:
    Killing kids all day and night, prescription pills and online fights
    Shooting at the angels while claiming you're the good guy
    All you want is cash and hype
    Fuck our dreams and that's not right
  • Be Yourself: The message of "Orange Juice". "Your body is imperfectly perfect" and "I wish I could tell you that you're fine, so fine / But you will find that disconcerting."
  • Big Bad: The principal's son Leo ends up becoming this by the end of the film.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Cry Baby saves Angelita before she can be dissected by their teacher.
  • Boarding School of Horrors: The sleepaway school K-12.
  • Bright Is Not Good: The Boarding School of Horrors is all bright, pink and white, as well as Cry Baby's house in the beginning. Crapsaccharine World indeed.
  • Comedic Underwear Exposure: After Cry Baby and Angelita get off the bus and the driver gives them the eye, their skirts fly up to reveal, on their bums: "Fuck" "Off".
  • Compelling Voice: At the end, Leo orders everyone to dance, and they do. They can't stop even if they want to.
  • Continuity Nod: Being a continuation of Cry Baby’s story, this is expected. In one scene, Cry Baby’s best friend Angelita urges her to call her mother for advice on what to do about the bully onto to respond that her mother is probably passed out from drinking to answer.
  • Crapsaccharine World: It takes place in Cry Baby’s universe, so this is expected.
  • Creepy Doll: The doll from the “Show & Tell” segment, which turns out to be what the teacher turned Cry Baby into. She’s changed back by Angelita by the next scene.
  • Do Wrong, Right: In the chorus of "Class Fight," Cry Baby's father gives her advice about how to go about the titular fight with her romantic rival. Since in the previous album it is implied that he is involved in something illegal, this comes as no surprise.
  • Drama Queen: "Drama Club", among other meanings, is a "The Reason You Suck" Speech directed at those: they always find reasons to feel offended and actually feign all their supposed feelings to attract attention.
    Everyone's so soft, everyone's so sensitive
    Do I offend you? You're hanging on my sentences
    You're faking all your pain, yeah, you're bleeding on a stage
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: After setting the students free, Cry Baby and Ben surround the school in a spit bubble causing it to float away and poof out of existence. Lilith appears to take them all home. However, when asked if Cry Baby is going to come along, she hesitates and the movie ends on a cliffhanger.
  • Erotic Eating: A disturbing example occurs in "Strawberry Shortcake". Cry Baby wears a "skirt" of a large ornate cake and in spite of how distressed she looks, she can't do anything about the boys who grab chunks of it and gobble them down and seem to derive a more-than-culinary pleasure from the experience.
    That's my bad, that's my bad, no one taught them not to grab
    Now, the boys want a taste of the strawberry shortcake
  • Eye Cam: The film starts off with Cry Baby waking up, with the camera in her eyes' perspective.
  • False Friend: To the theme of “Lunchbox Friends”, Kelly attempts to make Cry Baby join her clique only for Cry Baby to tell them she doesn’t want fake friends and ends up befriending the lone Magnolia instead.
  • Food Fight: Cry Baby starts one as a distraction to lead an unwilling member of Kelly’s clique away to try to talk to her.
  • Foreshadowing: When Crybaby first sees Brandon she gets out from her seat next to Angelita and ends up in a different row to her after he pushes past her to Kelly, hinting at her later falling out with her friends due to temporarily putting a boy before them.
    • Ben finding Cry Baby's tennis ball foreshadows his later crush on her in the lunchroom.
  • Getting Smilies Painted on Your Soul: In the “Detention” sequence of the film has the school nurses injecting the students with a drug that forces them to smile and sit still against their will. Cry Baby is apparently fully aware of her predicament as evidenced by the single tear she sheds.
  • Girlish Pigtails: Cry Baby sports these a few times across the film.
  • Girl Posse: Kelly and her group of friends are this until they abandon her at the end of the film.
  • High-School Sweethearts: The song “High School Sweethearts” alludes to this.
  • Intercourse with You: Featured in "High School Sweethearts":
    Could you hold me through the night?
    Put your lips all over my my
    Salty face when I start crying
    Could you be my first time
    Eat me up like apple pie
    Make me not wanna die
    Love me rough and let me fly
    Get me up, yeah, get me high
    Tie me down, don't leave my side
    Don't be a waste of my time
  • Karmic Death: The teacher in the "Teacher's Pet" sequence attempts to dissect Angelita. After Cry Baby saves her, Angelita picks his knife and maniacally twirls it before cutting him.
  • List Song: In "High School Sweethearts", she lists the requirements to date her.
  • Love Letter: Ben slips one into Cry Baby's locker. The principal's son Leo takes advantage of the love letter, using it to trick Cry Baby into attending the dance instead of following through with her plan to burn down the school.
  • Lyrical Dissonance: In "High School Sweethearts", she says her threats in such a sweet voice, adding to her Yandere image.
  • Lyrics/Video Mismatch: The songs lack the supernatural element of the film entirely, and several sequences in the film don't match the songs they are set to.
    • "Class Fight". Aside from the fight in the lyrics being completely mundane, it's Cry Baby who attacks the rival girl and has the upper hand all the time, while in the movie, Kelly lunges at her and initially has her on the ropes.
    • "Nurse's Office" is about the only place where Cry Baby can be safe in the school because she is being bullied by teachers, the principal etc. The corresponding sequence in the movie is about the school staff brainwashing Cry Baby and Angelita and giving them a Traumatic Haircut.
    • "Detention" is about troubled relationship while the corresponding segment of the movie deals largely with Getting Smilies Painted on Your Soul.
    • The "Teacher's Pet" sequence in the movie is less about Teacher/Student Romance and more about the teacher luring the heedless lovestruck Angelita to dessect her.
    • The forced High-School Dance is set to "Recess" that never mentions dancing or school.
  • Murder the Hypotenuse: "Class Fight" has a downplayed version: wreak the face of the hypotenuse. In the lyrics, it's Cry Baby who attacks her rival, while in the corresponding segment of the movie, Kelly starts the fight.
  • Off to Boarding School: The film starts with Cry Baby leaving for her first day at K-12 sleepaway school.
  • Oral Fixation: Used with a Freudian connotation in "Teacher's Pet":
    Chewing on her nails and her pens while she's dreaming of him
  • Orgasmically Delicious: A disturbing example occurs in "Strawberry Shortcake". Cry Baby wears a "skirt" of a large ornate cake and in spite of how distressed she looks, she can't do anything about the boys who grab chunks of it and gobble down and seem to derive a more-than-culinary pleasure from the experience.
  • Pink Girl, Blue Boy: The uniform at K-12 enforces this. Cry Baby dyes hers purple before the first day.
  • Sadist Teacher: K-12 seems to have plenty of them.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here: "Drama Club":
    Fuck your auditorium, I think it's pretty boring and
    I never signed up for your drama
  • Sequel: The film is a sequel to the album Cry Baby, where the main character goes through the thirteen years of school.
  • Shout-Out: The bullied girl(s) with telekinetic powers. Hmm...
  • Shut Up, Hannibal!: One boy in Cry Baby's drama class scorns her request for a "less domestic" role, saying that "her kind" is too soft and sensitive. Cry Baby responds that the ability to feel emotion is what makes her superior to his kind, leaving him speechless.
  • Sickening "Crunch!": Featured in "Class Fight":
    The teacher broke us up after I broke her [crunch]
  • Spikes of Villainy: The Sadist Teachers in the Boarding School of Horrors have ridiculously spiked shoulders on their otherwise normal dresses and suits.
  • Stay in the Kitchen: In the "Drama Club" sequence, Cry Baby wants the role of a film director or the president, but is forced to play "domestic" roles because "her kind is too soft and sensitive."
  • Take That!:
    • According to Word of God, the song "The Principal" is a thinly veiled one to Donald Trump.
    • "Show and Tell" seems to be one directed at her less pleasant fans—more specifically, the fans who left the fandom and burned her merch due to the allegations of rape against her.
  • Teacher/Student Romance: To the theme of "Teacher's Pet", Cry Baby's best friend Angelita has one with their teacher. It ends badly for the teacher.
  • Teacher's Pet: A song that appears in the film, presumably describing the dynamic between Angelita and her teacher before she kills him for his attempt to dissect her.
  • Three Minutes of Writhing:
  • Took a Level in Badass: Cry Baby, in between her debut and this, manages to gain some sort of power (presumably from Lilith) that borders on low-level RealityWarping.
  • Took a Level in Kindness: In Cry Baby's debut, she was a homicidal maniac who only showed kindness to her love interests. Here, her homicidal tendencies still show up from time to time, but mostly, she is an incredibly kind and understanding person.
  • Unspoken Plan Guarantee: Near the end, Cry Baby and her friends openly discuss their plan to free the students; soon, their plan goes up in flames. Justified nicely since Leo eavesdropped on them thanks to Sinister Surveillance.
  • UST: "Detention": "I can feel your blood pressure rise, fuck this tension."
  • Vague Age: All of the characters in the movie. The school is called K-12, which in the US is a shorthand term describing children from kindergarten to 12th grade (or, more accurately, kids from ages 6 all the way to 18 years old, making the age range from early childhood to early adulthood). That being said, all the students are played by far older actors (with Melanie herself being 25 at the time of filming), with no real attempt to make them look younger outside of the childlike outfits and general aesthetic of the movie. This can be justified in that, considering the movie's content, having actual kids play it might have been a bit too disturbing.
  • Wise Beyond Their Years: "Teacher's Pet" has the line:
    I know I'm young, but my mind is well beyond my years
  • You Killed My Father: At the end, Leo uses the school dance to take revenge on the entire student body, and Cry Baby in particular, for murdering his father during "Drama Club".
  • You Monster!: Cry Baby is on the receiving end of this trope in the lyrics to "Class Fight". She beats up her romantic rival, and the boy they were fighting for is not happy about it.
    And my one true love called me a monster