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YMMV / The Freshman

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The Movie

  • Ho Yay: Harold's admiration for his college's local football star, Chet Trask, can seem like a one-sided crush.
    • Chet Trask lays his hand on his coaches knee at one point. The coach also describes Chet's skills in a flattering way to the rest of the team.
    • Two women outright walk up to each other and kiss on the lips before taking off.

The Visual Novel

  • Abandon Shipping:
    • After Kaitlyn's attitude in Book 3 turned off many readers, a good portion of her fans began shipping Emily and Becca as soon as the latter became available as a Love Interest.
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    • Nathan's reveal as the Big Bad of The Junior turned off most of those who had decided to date him. Most of them replayed the book to go back to their original Love Interests.
  • Anti-Climax Boss: Nathan, Beau and Kassidy from The Junior were taken down in one chapter by a filmed confession despite having been built up as a trio of expert Manipulative Bastards.
  • Base-Breaking Character:
    • People think Chris is lovable, charming and sweet, while others consider him boring and pushy, assuming that Emily has feelings for him even if the player is pursuing someone else, which caused players to see him as a creepy stalker throughout The Freshman, Book 1. The fact that he gets tangled up in a romance with Becca is also controversial, since it makes him distance himself from you. In The Sophomore, his detractors consider him an irresponsible Student Council President for dumping his responsibilities on Arjun and an ineffective football captain for not restraining Manny until Emily and Zig intervened. The former is made egregious by the fact that he is never called out for his behavior, and stops becoming president in The Junior not because he resigned, but because he didn't run again. The latter may be slightly justified by his struggle to adapt to his position, though it still doesn't excuse his initial inaction, especially since he already learned the value of responsibility as president.
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    • Many find Kaitlyn a great option for the romantic interest while others feel she is better suited to simply being Emily's BFF, while others find her too toxic to be either one, considering her an annoying selfish girl who doesn't think about consequences. In Book 3, she also gained more haters during her arc, painting her as a Creator's Pet when the story still makes Emily and her friends help save her grades without any other option. It doesn't help that she has committed several misdemeanors throughout the series such as underage drinking, breaking and entering, trespassing, attempt at slander, vandalism, and fleeing the scene, yet got away with them.
    • James is either charming or obnoxious. While many liked his banter interactions with Emily in Freshman Book 1, the following books made him gain detractors by showing him as neglectful, selfish and pretentious. The discussion even extends to his portrait change, after the game had to change his face because of the likeness to Michael B. Jordan, where either people liked the face either way, or others even declared that they would break up with him just because he had a different appearance despite still having the same dialogue.
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    • Abbie becomes this by Book 3. While some people defend her reactions (especially because one of the conflicts is towards Natasha), a lot of readers agree that she has become very oversensitive and judgemental (especially for Zig's fans). See Unintentionally Unsympathetic below for more details.
    • Zig is either a misunderstood "bad boy" with a relatable backstory, or a hot-headed jerk who flies off the handle at the slightest provocation. The latter also includes his overprotective nature, which detractors find unnecessarily overbearing, such as making a big deal of his sister's college life in The Junior, or bordering on Disproportionate Retribution, such as causing a brawl when someone pushed Emily during Kaitlyn's concert. Even his characterization is subject to this. Supporters consider him one of the series's best developed characters who matures well and tackles important issues like sexuality and discrimination. Detractors consider his characterization inconsistent, such as amassing so many archetypes, that they find it hard to define who he really is and think he's a Creator's Pet.
      • Groups after Book 4 exploded after Zig offhandedly admitted to being bisexual. Some fans expressed disappointment with this revelation (with some girls thinking that being bisexual ruins his appeal), while others applauded the nod. Others were fine with Zig being into guys but disappointed that there was no opportunity to pair him with Zack, or felt it a pointless gesture because it ultimately had no real bearing on his story arc.
    • Even Emily gets this. While she's intended for fans to Self-Insert through her, the ones who treat her as her own character consider her a Black Hole Sue because the story always paints her as a nosy Control Freak obsessed with having a relationship, meddling in her friends' problems and she's never wrong in the conflicts. On the other hand, other fans love her because she is always a Nice Girl who is always trying to help her friends with their problems.
    • The Sophomore turned Becca (previously an Ensemble Dark Horse) into this by essentially forcing Emily to invite her to live with the gang while she remained rude, controlling, vindictive and mean, not helped by the fact that she sabotaged Madison by ruining the pledge event, claiming that Madison betrayed her. Her fans defend her actions by claiming she has a Hidden Heart of Gold and is going through a very difficult time, while others argue that it doesn't excuse her selfish behavior, or feel that helping her should be optional rather than forcing the player to help her.
    • Sebastian becomes this throughout The Sophomore and, to a lesser extent, The Junior. A group likes him after his friendship with Tyler and his genuine change of heart against his father, and doesn't mind forgiving him despite his initially antagonistic attitude. Another group hates him for his Jerkass attitude towards the gang (especially Chris and Zig), points out that he has yet to answer for any of his misdeeds because one of them (embezzlement of election funds) is a serious crime against the university, express anger that the narrative has Emily forgive him, and considers him unworthy of redemption, especially since he could've killed the gang by sabotaging their house after they didn't immediately forgive him. His detractors also find it unfair that some people forgive him right away while continuing to hate on Becca even though the latter, while far from a saint, has done less severe things, never commits crimes, and also genuinely changes for the better. His absence in group scenes throughout The Senior has led detractors to deem his redemption arc unnecessary in addition to being mediocre at best and badly done at worst, given that it boils down to him initially saying that it's hard to be nice, which players find an overdone and weak motive.
  • Broken Base:
    • Book 1 had this about Kaitlyn turning out to be the third Romantic Interest. Some fans already suspected this by the "Relationship Affected" message and were glad there was a gay option. On the other hand, there are two groups who didn't like this outcome. The first criticize Kaitlyn's character for being too selfish and annoying to be a good girlfriend for Emily, while the others think that she was better suited to being the Best Friend character, also adding that it essentially came either too forced or out of nowhere.
    • Book 3 is full of this:
      • Fans argue whether or not to support Chris in Book 3 when he is too busy to hang with the gang because of his duties at the Student Council. One half is fully supportive because his cause is noble by helping with scholarships for the ones who really deserve them; another group can't forgive him for being a bad friend/boyfriend for neglecting them because of this; while others are instead upset with Emily for not giving him space because he is working on something important.
      • Fans often argue if Abbie was right to be pissed at Kaitlyn for not standing up to Natasha's mocking towards Tyler and her, others that Abbie was overreacting and Kaitlyn did nothing wrong (until she started to act like a jackass), and a third camp who was annoyed with both of them and wanted Emily to literally do anything else other than stay in the middle of the drama.
      • After Becca gets Promoted to Love Interest, some fans were ecstatic about this, while others disapprove by arguing that Becca going from bully to love interest makes for a really dysfunctional relationship.
    • Fans either are glad that the series has continued past freshman year, while others think that The Freshman has run its course and Pixelberry Studios should end the series for good instead.
    • The more lighthearted tone of Book 4 was considered by some fans to be a welcome relief from the drama and intensity of the first three books, while others felt that it lacked substance and was nothing more than filler.
    • In The Junior, the revelation that Nathan, the newest love interest, was actually the book's main villain sparked many heated discussions. Many found the twist genuinely exciting and creative, and applauded Pixelberry's willingness to shake up their formula (Aside from Paolo, a minor character in Rules of Engagement who was only briefly a love interest, no other prior love interests in any Choices books had turned out to be genuinely villainous), while others (mainly those who had spent diamonds on him) felt disappointed and betrayed by the revelation.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse:
    • Leila, the Gamer Chick who has a crush on Tyler. She delivers a lot of hilarious shade towards Abbie, who has been giving her the cold shoulder out of jealousy. She becomes more of a Base-Breaking Character in Book 3 for being one of Sebastian's Yes-Man.
    • Also readers and creators seem to love Madison for her perky personality and the fact that she is far nicer than Becca. She is given a cameo in Rules of Engagement and Book 2 puts her in a Love Triangle between Tripp and Logan.
    • After Book 3 Chapter 5, Amara is considered the most likable from "The Gutter Kittens" after apologizing in behalf of her band when they offended Abbie and Tyler, so a lot of players decided to fix her with Darren.
    • Zig started as this since his introduction in Book 3 as the fourth Love Interest. Even some of the readers who had already chosen Chris, James or Kaitlyn began thinking about dumping them to date Zig.
    • Becca became this in Book 2 after she helps the group by providing dirt on Sebastian. And in Book 3, she cemented this position when she revealed a softer side towards Emily, told her parents were divorcing and also gets Promoted to Love Interest.
    • Book 4 made Mr. and Mrs. Liao the best parents ever after Mr. Liao showed up with LGTBQ mugs as a support gesture for Kaitlyn.
  • Foe Yay:
    • Becca and Emily in spades. They can't be in the same room for a moment without going out of their way to rag on each other like a 12-year-old boy with a crush. When Becca and Chris are dating and she rubs it in Emily's face, there's times where it comes across like Becca is trying to make Emily jealous because she likes her and not just because they both like Chris. Becomes canon in Book 3.
    • Natasha and Kaitlyn, supported by some Ship Tease early on. Their first interaction makes it pretty clear there's at the very least some attraction on Kaitlyn's side.
  • Ho Yay:
    • Some fans ship Zig with Zack after Zig reveals to be bisexual and Zack breaks up with Brandon.
    • Many readers ship Tyler and Sebastian, since it was because of Tyler’s influence that Sebastian genuinely starts his Heel–Face Turn. Reinforced by scenes where even Abbie teases them together.
  • Love to Hate:
    • Becca antagonizes Emily without a break and is never called out on her attitude by Chris or other characters. Choosing Chris for the Game of Love special has him wondering what he ever saw in her.
    • Sebastian as well. He becomes quickly The Rival and Evil Counterpart for Chris, to the point his actions even make Becca look good in comparison. Many of the players agree that, while he is very despicable and evil, makes a good antagonist during Book 2.
  • Memetic Molester: Mrs. Twombly has gained this reputation for all the awkward comments she makes about her students’ romantic lives, specially in the extras. During the Valentines book, she let Madison participate with both Logan and Tripp as a polyamory, while in The Sophomore Halloween Special she based all the characters from her novel in Emily’s gang, and went on very graphic detail about the body of Chris’ expy without a shirt. Chris can comment on how creepy is that a teacher has wrote that about him.
  • Narm:
    • Both Rosethorne Park and the excerpt of Emily's essay that Vasquez reads aloud at the end of Book 1 read like amateurs, yet they're both praised by the other characters as exceptionally good writing. This is especially egregious for the latter because it was written by a freshman.
    • The evidence board that you can collect clues for throughout the game is a major plot point in The Junior. However, because six of the eight collectible clues are Premium choices, some players arrive at the finale with only two pieces of evidence (the two car photos). This makes the entire climax unintentionally hilarious when the Alphas can't just rip the two photos off the board and destroy them rather than going through the trouble of throwing the entire clue board in the garbage.
    • If Emily remains single during The Junior and The Senior, Zack takes the role of the significant other for Emily to fill in for any of the Love Interests. The problem with this is that a best friend doesn’t have the same weight as a sentimental relationship, and Zack already has a boyfriend. An example of this situation is the big fight about Zack deciding to move with Grant on short notice, and Emily overreacting at the situation (not helping that the narrative tries to paint Emily in the right, when it’s more of Both Sides Have a Point). Emily moving to her internship in London with a heartbreak feels like an overreaction if the situation is a fight with the best friend instead of breaking up with the love interest.
    • The inspiration board in The Senior is supposed to help Emily get a theme for her thesis. The problem is that the theme is never mentioned, and it comes off more as a schoolgirl’s “precious moments” cork board.
    • Emily's except from her upcoming work at the end of The Senior still reads like a newbie in writing despite Emily's purported skill as a writer by then.
  • Rescued from the Scrappy Heap: The lobster that you can save in The Freshman Book 4. When it debuted, it was ridiculed as being unworthy of a diamond option. Fans took pity on it after a scene in The Junior in which its tank was flipped over by Nathan's gang when they searched for the evidence board in Emily's room.
  • The Scrappy:
    • Book 3 introduced Natasha as the new rival for Kaitlyn's affection. It didn't help that she was very blunt and rude to Kaitlyn's friends even if the player tries to be nice to her. It doesn't help her case when readers compare her to Becca, who also had good Character Development and nice traits as well.
    • The Sophomore introduced Manny, a stereotypical Jerk Jock who never displays any redeeming qualities; he hates Zig for no discernible reason and is extremely sexist and condescending toward women.
      • The end of the first book suggests he may be an Armored Closet Gay/Bisexual, but he forcefully rejects Zig's attempts to help him through his internal conflict as well as any overtures of friendship. His behavior remains atrocious to the point where he ends up being disciplined by the school for harassing his ex-girlfriend.
    • Tyler's popularity took a nose dive in The Junior after he fails to stand up for Emily and Abbie against the Alpha trio, as well as the reveal that he was involved in their scheme. While the last part was unintentional (they had tricked him into helping them), most fans took Abbie's side and consider his behavior to be Too Dumb to Live.
    • Grant is also considered a Replacement Scrappy for Brandon (who disappears from the books after he and Zack break up), as many consider Grant to have no personality, charm or even a fun and engaging relationship with Zack.
  • Scrappy Mechanic: The apartment decorations in The Junior are widely hated for their irrelevance to the storyline aside from making the otherwise bare apartment look pretty and improving Emily's relationship with her Love Interest or Zack.
  • Seasonal Rot:
    • Book 3 with its Broken Base has become one to a fair amount to players. The main issues addressed by the fans were mostly the pileup of drama and that Chris, Kaitlyn and James' problems were too similar and repetitive.
    • Same case with Book 4, which is considered even weaker than Book 3. not helped by the fact that it only lasted 8 episodes, Zack became annoying to many of the readers, the episodes were formulaic and simplistic, and the Premium Options were mostly unworthy (the most ridiculous being the "saving the lobster" option).
    • After Book 1 Chapter 8, fans started considering The Sophomore this, the chief complaints being a lack of a central plot and multiple subplots thrown in, with most of them being completely irrelevant to the narrative, creating a pile up of conflicts. It doesn't help that Emily's only role is to be Audience Surrogate to see what is going on with the other characters (even for minor characters) and to be everyone's life coach; her only personal plots are sex scenes offered as premium choices. (An actual story did develop, but not until the second book.)
    • Even if people were divided by the quality of The Junior’s plot, many felt that The Senior was so underwhelming that it redeemed all the other books.
  • Ship-to-Ship Combat: Now it's nearly impossible to find a forum or group that doesn't feature a poll asking who is the better Love Interest: Chris, James or Kaitlyn. After Book 3 was released, the options also added Zig, Becca or "single" as options.
    • Book 2 has the ongoing debate about who should date Madison: Logan or Tripp?
  • Some Anvils Need to Be Dropped:
    • Book 3 takes a brief moment during Chapter 1 where Emily, Zack and Kaitlyn talk about stereotyping gay people, detailing that sometimes people trying to be nice end up coming across as "Innocently Insensitive", like Kaitlyn's parents, while supportive, starts assuming all of the LGBT people are The Fashionista or know everyone else from the community. Once the conversation ends, the subject is never brought up again and the discussion has no further impact on the plot.
    • The discrimination Zig faces due to his criminal record. He runs into a lot of strawman naysayers and repetitive drama,’s not far from what a lot of ex-cons experience. A lot of people will look at a conviction and stop listening to the rest of the story, even if it was a nonviolent offense or there were good reasons that a person did what they did (such as in Zig’s case). And of course, this applies disproportionately to people of color (also like Zig), who are more likely to be convicted in the first and tend to receive harsher punishments when sentenced.
  • Strangled by the Red String: Readers can feel this towards any of the Love Interests.
    • In Chris' case, players who didn't choose him often comment that Book 1 essentially forced Emily to gravitate towards him.
    • As a case of Broken Base, some fans also consider Abbie and Tyler this in Book 2, because even if Tyler takes Leila to the dance, he and Abbie still end up together during the Time Skip before Book 2 starts. Same deal with Zack and Brandon; they're a couple in Book 2 whether you helped set them up in Book 1 or not.
    • People who stayed single for The Sophomore complain that this default setting forces the player to be with Becca (since the story doesn't offer any opportunities to get together with any of the original four love interests). It doesn't help that there are no options to dump her after all the nasty things she does in the book, forcing Emily to still help her adapt.
    • People have complained that the default setting for The Junior is Emily dating Nathan Sterling, who is the only new Love Interest introduced (and as with The Sophomore, there are no in-story opportunities to choose one of the previous love interests).
  • They Changed It, Now It Sucks!: In October 2017, James's portrait was changed. Fans were not pleased. Many who had been dating him wanted to break up with him, and even complained that Pixelberry should refund any diamonds that were spent on him.
  • Unintentionally Unsympathetic: Book 2 is plagued with this.
    • Kaitlyn's Gayngst in Book 2. While some readers sympathize with her situation after she accidentally outs herself to her parents, she spends more than five chapters locked in her room crying and avoiding Emily altogether. She gets better in the final chapter of the book by simply brushing it off as "I needed space".
      • Things get no better in Book 3 for her. Her personal arc to find herself and a new group to fit in at college, resulting in her joining Natasha's band and rubbing the gang in a bad side. It's still debated who is right between Abbie and Kaitlyn's fight, and many find it difficult to defend Kaitlyn's attitude after she refuses to hear any of Abbie's attempts to explain herself and make peace, but also when Abbie explains that Kaitlyn has been skipping classes after fully joining the band.
      • And this goes even further when Kaitlyn reaches her Jerkass Realization only because she's been placed on Academic Probation for skipping all her classes. While it's at the same time a Heartwarming Moment from the gang as True Companions, readers who feel she doesn't deserve forgiveness are still obliged to help her study with no choice to refuse helping Kaitlyn or dropping her as Best Friend.
    • James gets upset with Emily when he finds out that Professor Vasquez is dying of cancer and Emily knew about it. While his anger is understandable, he takes it out on Emily and insists on taking a break from their relationship, despite the fact that Emily only found out by accident, and Vasquez himself had ordered Emily not to tell him. Even after he forgives her, it still takes him several more chapters before he is ready to get back together if he and Emily are dating.
      • Book 3 averted this during its first half until Chapter 13, when he rejects Emily's help after Yasmin tries to sleep with him. Fans couldn't get on his side considering that he essentially allows sexual harassment from his editor.
    • Abbie. While it's pretty clear that Natasha was introduced to be hated by the readers, many still think that the drama between the band and Emily's group could have been avoided if Abbie didn't jump and get defensive on them. For many of the readers, Abbie was the one who overreacted, got overprotective of Tyler over a tease and, for the cherry on top, started taking it on Kaitlyn for not taking sides, even holding the grudge for days. It didn't help her that in the following chapter she got judgmental on Zig after hearing about his criminal record. The heat against Abbie lowered a bit after she recognized that she got very oversensitive against the band, and also is genuinely worried by Kaitlyn's grades dropping. She officially got Rescued from the Scrappy Heap after showing sympathy towards Kaitlyn by not rubbing it in her face and offering her help as soon as she needed her.
      • However, The Sophomore placed her back again in the hole with her fight with Tyler. While it's understandable that she felt overwhelmed by moving in with Tyler too soon, readers couldn’t relate to her at all, because every time Tyler tried to talk, she either avoided him or started a whole new fight. It got to a point where even Sebastian was the only person actively supporting Tyler while Abbie got the gang supporting her instead of remaining neutral or give Tyler help too.
    • The Sophomore tries hard to give Becca sympathy by explaining she's going through a rough patch after falling from grace. The reason it doesn't work is because she is not even trying to be nice unless Emily reminds her that she's living under their roof, sabotaged Madison (who was nothing but loyal to Becca since Freshman) under the assumption that she backstabbed her and took away the leadership of the sorority, insults people as default reaction, and barely apologizes unless things have reached breaking point.
    • At the same time, Sebastian is shown to be someone players have to accept and forgive despite his horrible deeds, yet he threw a tantrum at the gang for not accepting his gift and sabotaged their house, which could've left them without a place to live or even killed them, erasing what little sympathy people had for him.
    • Emily falls in this during the last chapters of The Senior. She gets upset that the Love Interest (or Zack if single), decides to move out on short notice from the apartment, leaving her with no time to find another roommate or place. Instead of remaining calm and try to get them to see it from her situation, she lashes out, accuses them of being selfish, breaks off the relationship, and decides to take up an internship in London. A year later the Love Interest or Zack have to travel to London to apologize to her, and Emily never even acknowledges any of her own failings, since the narrative places the blame entirely on the other party.
  • What an Idiot!: In the penultimate chapter of The Junior, the Alphas under Nathan steal the board containing all the evidence that Emily has collected as proof of their foul deeds.
    You'd Expect: That Nathan would destroy the evidence on it before Emily appears.
    Instead: He keeps the evidence on the board intact as he disposes of it in a trash chute in front of Emily's eyes.
    Result: Tyler later retrieves the board, and the items on it play a role in ensuring that Nathan (along with possibly Beau and/or Kassidy) is punished for their crimes.
  • Why Would Anyone Take Him Back?: Many players had this attitude toward Abbie when she went back to Tyler after the events of The Junior (when he not only played a part in the Alphas' scheme to harass Emily's friends, but also failed to stand up for Abbie when the Alphas were attacking her). It got to the point that many readers actively hoped for an option for them to break up.

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