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Series / The Lunchroom

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"This is high school man! If The Wonder Years have taught me anything, this is when shit gets good."
Will Cooper

The Lunchroom is an original virtual series sitcom, created by Bruce Snyder about a group of mid-teen outcasts and their day-to-day adventures growing up in Indiana. The series ran for five seasons with 70 episodes produced all together.

The show follows a group of friends, regularly called "The Gang," which consists of Will Cooper, Joel Mayberry, Brian Vandele, Brock Warner, Casey Jennings, Chris Hughes, and Reicther.


The show added several more characters to the main cast as it went along, including Cool Teacher Mr. John Parker, Brian's half sister Stacy Cifaretto, Will’s love interest Ellen Conner, the overly optimistic health teacher Ms. Diane Ballard, and Cathy Matthews, a popular girl long admired by Brian.

The Lunchroom contains examples of:

  • Aborted Arc:
    • Joel's mom getting remarried and moving her family were dropped after Season 1.
    • The episode "With Friends Like These..." was suppose to be the start of a storyline involving Casey "breaking up" with The Gang and looking for new friends. This was later dropped.
    • Stacy's attempts at figuring out what to do after high school were dropped after only a few episodes in Season 3.
    • "Suicidals Deserve to Die" sets up an arc of Will chasing after Stacy which never happened.
  • Absentee Actor: The Gang appear in nearly every episode, however other series regulars such as Mr. Parker, Ms. Ballard, and Cathy are frequently absent.
    • Kirk Mc Neil is absent from all but one episode in Season 3.
    • Advertisement:
    • Cathy is absent from 10 episodes in Season 4.
  • Accidental Pervert: Will staring at James Kelly's penis.
    • At one point Reciter gets acid poured on him causing him to rip his clothes off in the hallway.
    • Will a bra fit Casey? To answer this, The Gang steal one of Stacy's. You know, for science.
  • Adults Are Useless: Teachers are portrayed as alcoholics, racists, and incompetent at their jobs.
  • Alcohol-Induced Idiocy: In "It Happened One Night", Brian and Joel get so drunk that they destroy their Guitar Hero set when they lose.
  • The Alcoholic: Debbie Vandele.
    • Most of the teaching staff but especially the shop teacher, Mr. Cox.
  • Alcoholic Parent: Brian and Stacy's mom but it's Played for Laughs.
  • Always in Class One: Subverted: While certain pairings (Will/Brian; Reicther/Brock; Casey/Brock) frequently end up in the same class, never once has the entire main cast ended up in the same class. The closest they ever got was Senior Year when Brian, Ellen, Reicther, and Casey ended up in the same chemistry class.
  • Amusing Injuries: Reicther getting a concussion while playing the board game Risk.
    • Casey damaging his eye in a collision with a motorcycle.
    • Brock breaking his ribs while stopping Reicther and his potato gun.
    • Joel being beaten up with textbooks during a Senior prank.
  • Ascended Extra: Mr. Parker appeared briefly in Season 2 before becoming one of the show's main characters.
    • Kirk, Joseph, Tom Lawrence, Principal Stevens, and Cathy were suppose only appear one time before becoming recurring characters.
  • Asleep in Class: The show often had scenes with characters falling asleep in class. One example involved Brian, Reicther, and Will sleeping during Mr. Parker's class and being awaken by Parker's air horn.
  • Auto Erotica: "The Trouble with Truth" opens with Joel and Cathy having sex in his family's jeep.
  • Axes at School: Brian brings his ninja weapons into school for one of Will's films.
  • Back Story: "Secret Origins" shows how The Gang became friends.
    • The webisode "The First Day" shows The Gang on their first day of high school.
  • Bad Impressionists: No one (especially Joel) can do a British accent much to the annoyance of actual British person Chris Hughes.
  • Bastard Boyfriend: Ben Tramer and Arthur Winchester.
    • One could also argue Will and Joel fit this too. Joel was so desperate to hide his relationship with Cathy he often neglected her and would disregard her feelings to focus on his own. Will stayed with Nadine even though he had no feelings with her. He even ended their relationship by falsely accusing her of cheating.
  • The Beard: In the episode titled "Guess Who's Coming Out at Dinner?", Jordan is afraid to come out to his religious mother by himself, so he recruits Brian to pose as his boyfriend. It doesn't go well.
  • Berserk Button:
    • Don't mock the Bass guitar around Kirk.
    • If you're overly optimistic, stay away from Mr. Parker.
    • Do not ask Brian
    • Don't help any women with a crossword puzzle.
    • If you're a teacher, don't be condescending to Brock.
  • Big Man on Campus: James Kelly.
  • Big Bad: Principal Stevens in Season 5.
  • Birthday Episode: Season 1's "What Was That?" takes place on Reicther's birthday.
  • Black and Nerdy: Chris Hughes.
  • Black and Grey Morality: The Gang can sometimes be inconsiderate assholes but you still root for them, seeing as how their enemies, with one or two possible exceptions, are way more unpleasant than they are, and because the the trials they face make them grow out of being assholes. Examples include:
    • Brock making out with Kay while she was fighting with Casey. When Casey finds out he nearly beats Brock to death in the cafeteria.
    • Will stops hanging out with Ellen simply because the girl he's dating — whom he realizes he doesn't love in the same episode — told him to. A few episodes later Will dumps said girlfriend for cheating despite having no proof.
    • Joel secretly dating Cathy behind Brian's back.
    • Mr. Parker and Ms. Ballard have no problem blackmailing Principal Stevens into getting their jobs back.
    • When Chris first learns of Kate's mental illness he literally runs away from the problem.
    • Ironically Casey is so loving and nice to Kay that it causes her parents to realize their marriage is dead leading to a divorce.
    • Both Cathy and Stacy accidentally get knocked up because they cheated on their significant others.
  • Blackmail: Will and Ellen blackmailed Mr. Parker and Ms. Ballard after seeing them have sex during a free period. The following season Parker and Ballard blackmail Principal Stevens into getting their jobs back...after he found out they were having sex during a free period.
  • Board Game: The Gang constantly play the board game Risk throughout the series.
  • Book Ends: Season 4 begins with Brian's failed suicide and ends with Kate successfully killing herself.
  • Bottle Episode: "Waiting for Kirsten". The whole episode is set backstage at play rehearsals.
    • The majority of "Screw Your Spirit" takes place in just the school gym.
    • Certain episodes take place entirely at Brian's House: "Fooling Myself", "Suicide Watch", and "It Happened One Night".
  • Breakout Character: Reicther.
  • Breather Episode: "Love Conquers All", the Stacy episode from Season 5, could be thought of as this, considering it sits right in between Superintendent Brooks dying, and Principal Stevens taking people hostage at prom.
  • Bribe Backfire: Will and Ellen in "Writing Wrongs".
  • Brick Joke: "Brian's Odyssey" opens with The Gang receiving various prized possessions that Brian has left them in order to fake his own death. Several episodes later, Brian has a meltdown when he The Gang won't give his stuff back.
    • Near the start of "Kirk & Joseph's Bogus Journey" Ellen mocks the Oasis song "Wonderwall" for being "predicable and boring". Guess which song Billy Harmon wins with?
    • In "Time Stands Still", Brian briefly mentions that he wanted The Gang to be called The Centerville Avengers when they were younger, an idea Will calls stupid. When we flashback to The Gang in middle school, we discover Will also wanted The Gang to be called that...but gave up once Joel said it was stupid.
  • Brilliant, but Lazy: Despite failing grades and apathy towards school, Brian has been shown to be quite intelligent.
  • The Bully: Jason Tolbert. Who Casey accidentally injures at one point.
  • The Bus Came Back: Stacy returns in the final season.
  • Butt-Monkey: Richard.
  • Call-Back:
    • In "The Beginning of the End", Dr. Carter mentions Reicther's head injury from "Comfortably Numb", which Reicther has no memory of.
    • The montage of The Gang getting ready for school in the Season 5 premiere mirrors a similar montage from the very first episode.
    • In "The Mourning After", Reicther is the target of a series of pranks by a mysterious prankster. The prankster is revealed to be Richard, who wants revenge for Reicther's actions during Freshmen year. This harks back to Season 1's "A Tale of Two Brides", when Reicther couldn't stop asking inappropriate questions about Richard's disability.
    • In the pilot episode, we learn that Brian is trying to write a fantasy novel called The Chronicles of Haven. The story is referenced in later episodes, and the finished novel is the main focus of Season 4's "Writing Wrongs".
    • Kate's suicide note heavily plagiarizes Virginia Wolfe's own suicide note, an author only her boyfriend knew anything about in the Season 3 episode "By All Means".
    • In "Time Stands Still", Brian briefly mentions that he wanted The Gang to be called The Centerville Avengers when they were younger, an idea Will calls stupid. Later that season when we flashback to The Gang in middle school we discover Will also wanted The Gang to be called that...but gave up once Joel said it was stupid.
  • Catch Phrase: Early seasons had variations on "Jesus Christ [INSERT WACKY PHRASE]" (examples: "Jesus Harold Christ on rubber crutches" and Jesus Jumping Fucking Christ").
  • The Cameo: "The Last Time" has The Gang messing with Ron Farmer from the Virtual Series Reporting Live.
  • Cannot Spit It Out: Will and Ellen are in love but can't vocalize it for two seasons.
    • Reicther, Casey, and Brock were all attracted to fellow student Sarah but none of them ever said anything.
  • Cerebus Syndrome: The first two seasons are wacky and lighthearted (to a fault in the case of Season 2) with things getting slightly more serious in Season 3. By the last two seasons, the show was killing characters and showing the darker sides of the main cast.
    • Principal Stevens is best example of this. He starts off as a harmless Dean Bitterman type before later seasons turn him into a crazy, racist who expels Chris Hughes for dating his daughter and takes Mr. Parker hostage.
  • Characterization Marches On: Mr. Parker started off as a Conspiracy Theorist before becoming Cool Teacher.
  • Check, Please!: Subverted in "Quest for the Nintendo Wii". When Brock's blind date hooks up with an ex on their restaurant table, instead of fleeing, he quietly sits and finishes his meal.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: Several characters are introduced in the series before joining the main cast.
    • Mr. Parker made a brief appearance in the Season 2 premiere before joining the main cast in Season 3.
    • Cathy Matthews appeared in one Brian-centric episode before her introduction as a recurring character in season 3. In Season 4 she would become a main cast member.
    • Arthur Winchester was a random member of Drama Club in Season 4 before becoming Will's main rival for Ellen in Season 5.
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Both of Will's love interests, Rene and Meadow.
    • Ellen's supposed best friend Rory Reid.
  • Cliffhanger: Season 3 ends with Brian attempting suicide, the end result which is revealed next season.
    • "Time Stands Still": The episode ends with a giant car wreck involving most of The Gang and leaves their fates up in the air.
  • Comically Small Bribe: Much to the chagrin of Will, Ellen accepts a Ring Pop as a bribe to hide to the fact that Mr. Parker is having sex with Ms. Ballard.
  • Comingof Age Story: One of the series main themes.
  • Compressed Vice: The Gang become addicted to a homemade candy called Yenom and suffer withdrawal effects over just a few days. It's all Played for Laughs.
  • Continuity Nod: A Season 4 episode centered on Brian trying to get feedback on his fantasy story, one which he started writing in the very first episode.
    • In Season 5, The Prankster who torments Reicther turns out to be Richard who's getting him back for making cripple jokes in Season 1.
    • Characters occasionally will mention Reicther's head injury from "Comfortably Numb" something he has no memory of.
    • The opening Season 5 montage mirrors the opening montage from the first episode.
  • Cool Loser: The Gang.
  • Cool Teacher:
    • Mr. Parker
    • Suberted in "Everybody Loves Mr. E": the eponymous character is a young substitute who is this to most the student body but his puns and grating personality drive Brock and Mr. Parker crazy.
  • Cosmetic Catastrophe: The episode "With Friends Like These..." had a blind girl doing Stacy's make-up. It did not end well.
  • Cosmic Plaything: Characters frequently addressed God, especially when things were going bad. Even Casey, a known Atheist, had no problem cursing God for the bad things in life.
  • The Couch: Or in this case, The Gang's lunch table.
  • Crossover: One semi-crossover with the Virtual Series Reporting Live:
    • Sports reporter Ron Farmer showed up in the Season 3 finale as a sort of Crossover Punchline. As he makes a special report, he is unaware that Will, Chris, and Brian are mooning him in the background.
  • Creator Breakdown: Brian starts to lose it in "Writing Wrongs" when no one will review his book, The Chronicles of Haven. He creates a phony user name and praises his own work on a highly acclaimed website called Simply Novels. Even with the fake praise, no one reads the story which leads Brian to rant against the site and ultimately gets him banned.
  • Dean Bitterman: Principal Bob Stevens.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Most characters, especially Mr. Parker.
  • Demotedto Extra: Happened to Rene David in Season 2. Despite being Will's love interest and the closest thing to a female lead the show had in the first season, she only has a few minor scenes before disappearing without explanation.
  • Did I Just Say That Out Loud??: Brock does this in the middle of class after Mr. Zimmer mocks him for being a nerd:
  • Does This Remind Youof Anything?: In "Prozac Candy" The Gang's sugar withdrawal is played like they're withdrawing from heroin.
    Brian:"We should shoot the Yenom into are veins!"
    Chris:"That way we'll get the sugar rush faster!"
  • Documentary Episode: "Reality Bites" has a Jerkass film producer making a documentary about Brian.
  • Double Date: Joel and Cathy with Chris and Kate in "Slow Fuse".
  • Downer Beginning: The very first scene of the series is Casey being dumped by his promiscuous girlfriend Lacie.
  • Downer Ending: "Rehearsals for Departures" ends with Kate killing herself.
    • "The Trials of Chris Hughes" ends with Chris getting expelled from school, getting kicked out of the country, and having to register as a sex offender.
  • Dramatic Irony: Season five opens with Casey promising Brock he'll find him a girlfriend only to have Brock end up making out with Kay.
  • Dysfunction Junction: The Gang lives at this junction:
    • Brian's mother is a raging alcoholic, with no desire to change.
    • Brock has two moms, which has lead to many angry outbursts against school bullies.
    • Ellen's father walked out when she was young, causing her to be overly cautious when it comes to romantic relationships.
    • Stacy's real father was killed when she only a baby.
    • It's pretty much all but confirmed that Reicther's grandfather was a Nazi.
    • Kate Davison has been dealing with mental illness since the 1st Grade.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: In early seasons, Brock could be just as sarcastic and weird as Reicther. There's even an early Season 2 episode where he shows interest in basketball.
  • Embarrassing First Name: Reicther's first name is Kevin, which is embarrassing to him.
  • Embarrassing Middle Name: Chris' middle name is Langston.
  • Erotic Dream: Season 3 opens with Will having one about Salma Hayek.
  • Escalating War: A Senoir prank war against The Gang quickly gets out of hand in "Special Needs".
  • Everybodyis Single: The Gang in Season 1.
  • Evil Teacher: Mr. Zimmer and Mr. Drake (the substitue in "Comics and Comedians") have no problem openly mocking Brock and Joel for being nerds.
    • Principal Stevens. He goes to great lengths to ruin Chris Hughes' life after he finds his daughter performing oral sex on him. Even worse, he's secretly a member of The Klan and it's hinted that his actions against Chris are racially motivated.
  • Faking the Dead: Brian in "Brian's Odyssey.
  • Fan Fiction: Kirk wrote one entitled Star Trek vs. Doctor Who.
    Kirk: "Reicther found it to be very tolerable."
  • Feud Episode: Casey and Reicther go through this in the episode "Prozac Candy" when they discover they both like the same girl
    • One of the story arcs in Season 5 revolved around Casey feuding with Brock after he made out with Kay.
  • Flanderization: Casey got dumber as the series went along but also more caring and romantic.
    • Reicther got wackier throughout the seasons until the end of Season 5 thanks to some Character Development.
  • Foreshadowing: Stacy mentions she has a thing for Keira Knightley and other female celebrities.
    • When Chris and Kate first meet in "Shades of Gray", she briefly mentions that she was just released from Eastern Psych for having "problems".
    • "The Mourning After" showed Principal Stevens as a member of The Klan foreshadowing his battles with Chris Hughes.
    • In "Quest for the Nintendo Wii", Brian blows off the S.A.T.s to stand in line for a new video game console foreshadowing his struggles in school.
    • Chris doesn't realize that Lorelei is Principal Stevens' daughter even though he first met her right outside his office.
    • Subverted in Season 4's "Rehearsals for Departure". In the previous season, Will had been warned by a hallucination that pursuing Ellen Conner would be "bad" and lead to "nothing but heartbreak". One year later Will sees the same hallucination who admits that he lied.
    Belzer: "Hey, I'm a hallucination. I'm suppose to fuck with you're mind."
  • Forgotten First Meeting: "Secret Origins" showed that Reicther and Mr. Parker actually met when the former was in kindergarten and the later was a student teacher. It's implied that Reicther's insane behavior may have driven Parker to transfer to Centerville High.
  • Friendswith Benefits: Subverted with Parker and Ballard. The two have no strings attached sex and never develop romantic feelings for each other.
  • Fun Personified: Reicther. Since he's the one character who never gets dramatic storylines, he's generally considered by fans as the most entertaining part of the show.
  • Gag Penis: When Kirk goes streaking in "I Don't Mind If You Forget Me", it's definitely a huge surprise for people.
    Brad:"I’m pretty sure they use him to see how deep the ocean is."
  • Garage Band: The Bog Standard, The Jeff Goldblum Experience.
  • Gayngst: Stacy.
  • Genius Ditz: Casey can be ditzy but it's been shown he gets better grades then the rest of The Gang and is enrolled in numerous advanced classes.
    • Kirk may act goofy when high but when sober he's seen reading Time magazine and debating politics with Joseph.
  • Gilligan Cut: In "Guess Who's Coming Out at Dinner?", when The Gang can't decide who will act as Jordan's boyfriend, Brian enters wanting to know what they're talking about. Cut to Brian in the car, on the way to Jordan's.
  • Girl Next Door: Cathy Matthews, until later seasons revealed she's more flawed then people thought.
  • Girl-on-Girl Is Hot: Dave completely forgives Stacy for cheating on him when he finds out with was with another woman.
  • Global Ignorance: Everyone assumes Joseph is from Iran when he's actually from Iraq.
  • Good Parents: Casey's parents. They get very protective of him when he's persecuted for being an atheist.
  • Good People Have Good Sex: Subverted. Most sex scenes are awkward or Played for Laughs.
  • Happily Ever After: Will and Ellen.
  • Heroic BSoD:
    • Brock has one after seeing his mom have sex with Anne.
    • The Gang have a mini version of this when they see Billy Dee Williams on a road trip.
    • Joel was like this for days after breaking with Cathy to the point where he only spoke in Bob Dylan lyrics.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: Kirk and Joseph spent almost every waking second with each other.
  • Hidden Depths: "Time Stands Still" shows Kirk getting serious when it's revealed he cares deeply about music. His aloof stoner persona is completely absent here.
    • Reicther was the wacky comic relief until he meet Laura and grew into a more developed character.
  • Holier Than Thou: The Bible-thumping, Heteronormative Crusader Jordan who ironically is a closeted homosexual.
  • Hollywood Nerd: Subverted. The Gang are more realistic nerds rather then the Urkel or Screech stereotypes.
  • Homage: In the episode "The Lost Weekend", Brian gets into a car wreck with famous actor Jerry Seinfeld. The episodes contains dozens of references to the actor's famous sitcom, Seinfeld:
    Dr. Carter: "Will you sign my puffy shirt?"
  • Homoerotic Subtext: Will with Joel. A recurring joke has Will trailing off every time he describes how handsome Joel is:
    Will: "I keep getting lost in his beautiful, soulful eyes."
  • I Hit You, You Hit the Ground: "You come near me or her again I will end your life. That's not a threat: it's a goddamn promise."
  • The "I Love You" Stigma: The focus of part two of "Time Stands Still". Ellen says "I love you" to Will only to receive a reference to The Empire Strikes Back in return.
  • Inept Talent Show Contestant: Will in "Kirk & Joseph's Bogus Journey". His stand up act is so bad, his own mother gets the audience to boo him.
  • Interrupted Intimacy: Parker and Ballard are in the middle of having sex during a free period when Will and Ellen walk in.
  • Ivy League for Everyone: Subverted. When The Gang graduate high school, most end up going to state or community colleges.
    • Subverted again. Kay actually turns down a full ride to Yale to be with Casey at a state college.
  • I Was Told There Would Be Cake: Chris bribes Brock, Reicther, and Brian with a trip to the pet store to get them to go to a party.
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: Subverted. When Sarah chooses Scott Greenberg over Brock he becomes extremely bitter and stops being her friend all together.
    • Ellen attempts this when Will dates Nadine but it proves challenging.
  • Jock Dad, Nerd Son: Will Cooper and his dad.
  • Killed Offfor Real: Kate Davidson
    • Superintendent Lyndon Brooks in Season 5.
  • Lampshade Hanging: Dr. Carter does this in "The Beginning of the End", in response to the numerous times The Gang have been in the hospital.
    • Casey and Brian were roaming the halls during school when Casey wonders aloud "Why aren't we in class?" Brian responds with an indifferent "Fuck it."
  • Last-Name Basis: Only twice in the series (in the first and last episodes) has anyone ever used Reicther's first name.
  • Limited Social Circle: For a lot of the show's run it is just The Gang. While friendly with various other students, it's implied they just don't want other friends outside the group. This is why they go to such extremes when it looks like Brandon Brim might join their group in Season 4.
    • Ellen mostly just hangs out with Will and Cathy.
  • Local Hangout: The Shake Shop.
  • Male Frontal Nudity: Chris gets caught getting a blowjob and while the girl is fully clothed, she insists that he be completely naked.
    • When Will needs a distraction during a football game he comes up with an idea: have Kirk streak through the crowds.
    • James Kelley shows Will the proper way to fold theater costumes — while being fully nude.
  • Make Upor Break Up:
    • Joel and Cathy: Once. After dating for nearly a year, they break-up in Season 5 after Joel finds out about Cathy's cheating. They get back together briefly after the prom episode but end things forever in the series finale.
  • Mid-Season Twist: Season 4. Episode 8 ends with Stacy discovering she's pregnant a few days before heading off to college.
    • Season 5. The middle of the season saw Chris Hughes being kicked out of school and moving back to England.
  • Mistaken for Gay: Constantly happening to Will. Doesn't help that he takes Brock to the Prom and accidentally made out with Tom Lawrence.
  • Mistaken for Terrorist: Happens to Will and Chris when they say the word "bomb" while waiting in an airport.
  • Mistaken Nationality: Joseph Saïd is a Muslim but others have mistaken him for a Hindu.
  • The Movie: Almost happened. The writers considered ending the show with Season 3 so they could make a feature length movie. This idea was dropped in favor of doing two more seasons.
  • Naked People Are Funny: Chris in "The Trials of Chris Hughes".
    • Kirk in "I Don't Mind If You Forget Me".
    • James Kelly in "The Art of Folding".
  • Nazi Grandpa: It's highly suggested that Reicther's great grandfather was this.
  • No Ending: A lot of early episodes have this.
  • No Social Skills:
    • Both parts of "Time Stands Still" show Reicther literally has no idea how to interact with women he has feelings for. He decides not to talk at all to avoid further embarrassment.
  • Noodle Incident:
    • In "Reality Bites":
    Casey: Brian isn't gonna do anything drastic.
    Will: Remember what he did that last guy that made fun of him? I mean REALLY made fun of him.
    Casey: The Frankie Marks incident...Uh oh.
    • In "Love Conquers All":
    Brian: I don’t want to get into the details but I lost my dog.
    Stacy: You had a dog?
    Brian (choking up): I used to.
    • In "Secret Origins":
    Will: Has Brad ever told you about...the noodle incident?
    Annie: The noodle incident?
    Will: I hope you don't have a weak stomach.
  • Offscreen Breakup: Will/Meadow Le Cerva,Joel/Cathy.
  • Old Shame: Will's Garfield book collection.
    • Joel's love of the musician Prince.
    Joel:"Never lie to me again about having a Prince album!"
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: Quincy, whose real name is Michael Herron. He only got the nickname because Reicther couldn't remember his real name.
  • Only Sane Man: Brock and Mr. Parker are frequently this.
  • Origins Episode: "Secret Origins" depicts the origin story for The Gang and their rivalry with Brad Holt.
  • Out of Focus: Kirk briefly got pushed to the background in Season 3 until Joseph was introduced.
    • Despite getting a large amount of screen time in Season 2, Dr. Sollett soon disappears in Season 3.
    • Any of Will's love interests outside of Ellen Conner.
      • Or his math partners Josh and Emily from Season 1.
    • Mr. Zimmer slowly disappeared once Mr. Parker became a major character.
    • For some odd reason, Cathy suffered from this in Season 4. She only appeared in half the episodes, usually with minimal dialogue or things to do..
    • Margie Mayberry. She's set up to be a big focal point in the show's first season but was never brought up again.
  • Overprotective Dad: Reverend Mark Johnson frequently causes trouble for Kay and Casey.
    • Any love interest not named Ellen Conner.
  • Paranormal Episode: The series had an episode where Reicther's birthday is interrupted supposedly by ghosts but it's actually just a prank by Casey and Chris.
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: Joel's occasional British altar ego, "Nigel Pennyworth."
  • Parental Neglect: Reicther's dad, William. He's very apathetic to the fact that his son has been arrested countless times, suspended from school, and even saw someone die in prison.
  • Parody Episode:
  • Real Song Theme Tune: Marvin Gaye's version of "Ain't That Peculiar".
  • Reference Overdosed
  • Rousing Speech: Reicther gives one to The Gang in "Life's Too Short."
  • Running Gag: Several:
    • Joel's overeagerness to fight.
    • Brian's misuse of the word "liberal".
    • Reicther's bizarre drawings.
    • Casey inadvertently causing havoc in Rev. Johnson's life.
  • Seinfeldian Conversation: Many:
    • The debate about Natalie Portman's chest size in "The Show Must Go On".
    • Will and Ellen's discussing the true meaning of the Muppet song "The Rainbow Connection."
    • "Time Stands Still" opens with The Gang talking about how zombies could be scarier.
    Casey:"Zombies plus wings equals: we're fucked."
    • Characters frequently argue about fictional characters fighting and who would win such as Wolverine vs. Spider-Man and Mario vs. Link
    • The Star Wars conversations. Way too many to list.
    • Likewise, Aquaman is brought up constantly. Will even wrote a screenplay about him.
  • Sequel Episode: "Guess Who's Coming Out at Dinner?" is a sequel to "By All Means" which itself was a sequel to "A Tale of Two Brides".
  • Shared Universe: The Lunchroom exists in the same universe as Better Days and Reporting Live, due to Ron Farmer being in all three.
  • Shout-Out: Has its own page.
  • Sitcom Arch-Nemesis: Principal Stevens, for Mr. Parker and later Chris Hughes.
    • Mr. E, for Mr. Parker.
    • Arthur Winchester, for Will.
    • The Gang, for Brandon Brim.
    • Reicther, for Richard.
    • Rev. Johnson, for Casey.
    • May, for Brock.
    • Jordan, for The Gang.
    • Nadine, for Ellen.
  • Somebody Doesn't Love Raymond: In "Join the Army", Casey becomes obsessed with proving he's not an asshole to his ex-girlfriend Lacie.
  • Spicy Latina: Nadine Santos.
  • Spin-Off: There was going to be a spin-off centered on Stacy's adventures in Chicago but plans were cancelled before any script was finished.
  • Take That!: "She's just talking about Grey's Anatomy or Desperate Housewives or whatever crappy show you girls are watching now a days."
    • "You think Aquaman wanted to be Aquaman? Fuck no! Talking to fish isn’t a power! That’s just some bullshit."
  • Teacher/Student Romance: Subverted in "Forgetting Ellen Conner". Reicther and Ms. Ballard end up kissing in her class but it's only because: 1) He does it against her will 2) He does solely to win a bet with The Gang.
  • Teen Pregnancy:Stacy (raising her child) and Cathy (miscarriage).
  • Terrible Interviewees Montage: Casey's audition tape for the school news.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: After Reichter torments him all night, Brandon Brim lets The Gang have it.
  • Their First Time: Occurs frequently, usually Played for Laughs.
    • Stacy's first time with Dave is painfully awkward, borderline Cringe Humor.
    • Joel and Cathy's first time happens in his family's jeep. Things turn ugly when Joel's mom and stepdad (unaware of them in the back), head off to an important awards dinner.
  • Third Wheel: Will in "Shades of Gray".
  • Time Skip: After Season 2, each season covers one school year resulting in 3-4 month time skips between seasons.
  • Titled After the Song: Several episodes are titled after songs:
    • "Bad Day": Named after a R.E.M. song.
    • "Fast Car": Named after a Tracy Chapman song.
    • "Fooling Myself": Named after a Billie Holiday song.
    • "Trouble in Mind": Named after a Jimmy Witherspoon song.
    • "Instant Karma": Named after a John Lennon song.
    • "Slow Fuse": Named after a Johnny Otis song.
    • "Heart's Place": Named after a Stan Getz song.
    • "Everybody Hurts" Named after a R.E.M. song.
    • "The Last Time": Named after a Rolling Stones song.
    • "Ain't Too Proud to Beg": Named after a Temptations song.
    • "Comfortably Numb": Named after a Pink Floyd song.
    • "A Change Is Gonna Come": Named after a Sam Cooke song.
    • "The Show Must Go On": Named after a Pink Floyd song.
    • "Rehearsals for Departure": Named after a Damien Jurado song.
    • "Time Stands Still": Named after a Rush song.
    • "I Don't Mind If You Forget Me": Named after a Morrissey song.
  • The Talk: "Bisexuals are just liberal wishy washies who can't choose a side."
  • Tooka Levelin Jerkass: Principal Stevens and Arthur Winchester in Season Five.
  • Training Montage: When Ellen trains Will in movie trivia.
  • Two-Teacher School: During the first two seasons, Mr. Zimmer and Mrs. O'Malley were the only teachers that appeared.
  • Twofer Token Minority: Chris Hughes (black and Jewish) and Richard (black and disabled).
  • Unabashed B-Movie Fan: One episode has The Gang obsessing over Morning Zombie, which is about a zombie who only eats humans in the morning.
  • Unfortunate Names: Charlie's prom date, Priscilla Diamond.
    Ellen: It sounds like a stripper who shoots ping-pongs out of her vagina.
  • The Unreveal: It's never revealed what exactly Brian did to Frankie Marks when they were little, but according to Will is was REALLY bad and must not happen again.
  • Vacation Episode: The episode "Fast Car". Stacy finally gets her driver's license and The Gang decide to go on a road trip through Indiana.
  • Villain Decay: Jordan started off as an arch nemesis to The Gang but by the last season they view him as sad, pathetic, and not worthy of their hate.
    • Averted with Principal Stevens. He actually got more villainous as the show when on.
  • Wacky Guy: Reicther.
    • Mr. Parker in earlier seasons.
  • Wacky Marriage Proposal: Casey proposes to Kay even as her father is breaking down her door, threatening to murder him.
  • We Need a Distraction: Will distracts Mr. Parker so he and Cathy can escape play rehearsals by claiming "alien humanoids" are in the auditorium.
  • Wham Episode:
    • The season three finale, "The Last Time" ends with Brian attempting suicide.
    • The last scene of Season 4's "Rehearsals for Departure" where it's revealed Kate Davidson has killed herself.
    • The conclusion of the Blackout two-parter has Superintendent Brooks dying of a heart attack and Principal Stevens taking his place. If that weren't enough, he quickly makes Ms. Ballard the school's new principal in the same scene.
  • Wham Line: From "Comfortably Numb":
    Dr. Millsaps: "Congratulations Stacy. You're pregnant."
  • What Could Have Been:
    • The writers wanted to do a Homage episode to The Breakfast Club in Season 5. Sadly, it was never finished.
    • An early Season 2 idea was to do The Lord of the Rings but featuring the show's characters (with Will, Joel, Brian, and Brock as the Hobbits, Casey as Aragon, Kirk as Gimli, Chris as Legolas, Reicther as Gollum, Mr. Parker as Gandalf, and Stacy as Arwen).
  • What Happenedtothe Mouse?: Will's love interests Rene David and Meadow Le Cerva both disappear without explanation at the end of Season 2.
  • Where It All Began: The last time Chris and Kate see each other in person is at the middle school playground where they had their first date.
  • Whole Episode Flashback: "The Trials of Chris Hughes" shows how Chris came into so much trouble with Principal Stevens.
    • "Secret Origins"
    • "I Don't Mind If You Forget Me"
    • The webisodes "Like Father, Like Son" and "The First Day"
  • Wide-Eyed Idealist: Ms. Ballard starts off this way although as the series progresses she at least understands how someone like Mr. Parker got to be so jaded.
  • Wild Teen Party: Lorelei's party in "The Trials of Chris Hughes".
    • Chris' farewell party in "It Happened One Night".
    • Suberted in "Kirk's Party". Will thinks this is what Kirk's big celebration will be, so he avoids it but it ends up being the complete opposite.
  • Will They or Won't They?: Will and Ellen during the last two seasons.
    • In the end Will and Ellen finally get together after a near death experience.
  • With Friends Like These...: Mr. Parker and Ms. Ballard.
    • Reicther has been this on several occasions especially at the beginning of "See How They Run".
  • Worst News Judgment Ever: When reporting on the War in Iraq, the local paper reports with the headline, "The Shit Hits the Fan for Iraq!"
  • You Are Fat: Bullies frequently use this against Brian.
  • Your Cheating Heart: Amidst a really bad fight,Kay and Brock made out while she was still with Casey.
    • One of Season 5's big story arcs revolved around Cathy having a one night stand behind Joel's back.

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