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High-School Rejects

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"Stop giving me that pop-up ad for! There's a reason you don't talk to people for 25 years, because you don't particularly like them! Besides, I already know what the captain of the football team is doing these days: Mowing my lawn."
Bill Maher, New Rules

The kids you knew in High School who are working at gas stations now.

If there's more than one of them, and they hang out together, they may also be the Catch-Phrase Spouting Duo. If they were the Jerk Jock, they're selling fat women shoes as a Jaded Washout now. If they were the Alpha Bitch, then they're now married to the Jaded Washout, and probably several dress sizes overweight. Rejects are also frequently the Red Herring in crime dramas that have a teenaged victim. See also Future Loser.


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    Film — Live Action 
  • Back to the Future: After Marty's trip to 1955 alters the timeline, The Bully Biff ends up becoming dominated by former weakling George (Marty's future father) and when Marty goes back to 1985, he discovers Biff became employed as a car-washer who serves his family and is intimidated by George, whereas in the original timeline, Biff was George's boss and their dynamic was reversed.
  • Beautiful Girls: Tommy and Darian. Tommy was a hockey star destined to be a snowplower. Darian was an Alpha Bitch destined for an unhappy marriage. Though popular in high school, they are miserable adults, and the affair between the two of them ruins their lives further.
  • Clerks II: Lance Dowds implies that this is what Dante and Randal are currently, due to how the two work in a fast food joint while Lance himself, by contrast, is a successful self-made millionaire.
  • Uncle Rico, in Napoleon Dynamite who mentally relives his glory days of being on the high school football team, while cooking up various schemes to make money, all of which are degrading and ineffective.
  • Romy and Michele's High School Reunion: The title characters learn that the former Alpha Bitch Christy is an unhappy stay-at-home mom with two kids (and a third on the way) while her husband Billy—the former Jerk Jock captain of the football team—is an overweight loser working installing drywall for Christy's father. It is implied that the rest of Christy's Girl Posse (apart from Lisa) are in similar situations.
  • Slaughter High: Skip, who was the High-School Hustler and leader of the cool kids, is now an unemployed loser who is living out of The Alleged Car.
  • Wayne and Garth from Wayne's World are High School Rejects, albeit unusually sympathetic ones.
  • Zack and Miri Make a Porno: Zack and Miri have been friends since high school and room together. They work dead end jobs at a coffee shop and a mall respectively, which is barely enough to pay the bills. At a Class Reunion which they attend after their water is shut off, they fully realize what losers they have become and decide they have nothing to lose by starring in porn to make some money.


    Live Action Television 
  • Cold Case adores this trope.
  • Eddie Winslow's friends Willie and Weasel on Family Matters. Waldo Faldo was this too when he was introduced in the series but evolved into Eddie's best friend and was given a job and a girlfriend.
  • Invoked by the AV club faculty adviser in Freaks and Geeks.
  • Tim from One Tree Hill was an annoying basketball player. Four years after graduating, it is revealed in season 5 that he is now a pizza delivery man.
  • One of these is one the first victims (possibly the very first) to be killed by a meteor freak in Smallville.
  • The Beavis And Butthead rip-offs on Step by Step.
  • Weevil from Veronica Mars is a High School Reject who quickly became a major supporting character. When the show moved on from high school, he did indeed fail to get his diploma (due to being arrested at graduation) and instead has had several casual jobs, the first of which was in a gas station.
  • Law & Order and its spinoffs also love this trope, especially when children or teens are killed in SVU; it's rare that the sketchy loser actually committed the crime.

  • Bruce Springsteen's "Glory Days" gives several examples.
  • The Statler Brothers' "Class of '57" mentioned several of these in their list of graduates and what became of them.
  • Frank Zappa's song "Wind Up Working In A Gas Station" could be a Trope Namer.

    Newspaper Comics 
  • Not high school, but this trope was invoked in Frazz, after Caulfield has a run-in with the school bully:
    Frazz: Cheer up, by the time you're thirty, he'll be working for you.
    Caulfield: Maybe I don't want to manage a Boo-Boo Burger franchise when I grow up!

    Western Animation 
  • Parodied in Family Guy in which Brian, as a teacher, calls out his disobedient students and tells them that they will become this trope if they continue. Cue them being interested in the idea of living low-end jobsnote , stand on their desks and say "Oh captain, my captain!"
  • Played Straight in My Life as a Teenage Robot: Towards the end of the episode "The Price of Love", popular kids Brit, Tiff, Pteresa, and Sebastian are seen walking past Sheldon's house. Pteresa exclaims that popular people always win in the end. Cut to twenty years later, where Pteresa, her future son with Sebastian, Brit, and Tiff are going to bail Sebastian out of jail (again). Pteresa, Brit, and Tiff are now ugly, with Pteresa wearing oversized glasses and curlers, Brit being obese, and Tiff missing half her hair. The Crust Cousins tell Pteresa that she should have married Sheldon, who is apparently now a billionaire.


Video Example(s):


Romy reunites with Billy

Billy Christianson, a once-popular jock and the object of Romy’s affections is now a drunk, slobbery loser trapped in an unfaithful marriage with Chrissy and works at a dead-end job at her father’s construction company. He then tries to seduce Romy, and she pranks him in a similar way he did to her during prom.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (8 votes)

Example of:

Main / FutureLoser

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