High School + TV = memories

October 23, 2009

High School Life

High School Life

For some reason I just love shows about high school life, growing up, going through all that awkwardness and trying to find yourself. It started I think growing up watching The Wonder Years, looking forward at the time to life in junior high and high school. Eventually I did make it to and through both schools, did a lot of things I shouldn’t have, and live with some regret about that now, but did a lot that I would never change as well. I still visit those years too often in my thoughts, not dwelling on things, but just wondering how things could have been done different, and how that might have changed me, both then and now. Anyways, ramblings aside, a few years ago I was introduced to Freaks and Geeks, a truly amazing show IMO, and it’s a huge shame it got cancelled after just one year. It captured so seemingly effortlessly a lot of the feelings of being lost and teenage angst that I went through back in those days. I could connect with every character in the show. Even more amazingly almost every main actor/actress in the show went on to have fabulous careers that are still going strong. Freaks and Geeks was followed up with another short-run series, Undeclared, which was good, being the same director, some of the same actors and writers, but being set in collage didn’t quite catch me the same way. I think it just goes back again to that transition period everyone goes through in high school.

Bringing things up to the past couple years, I’m now planning our 10 year reunion and there hasn’t been much for t.v. that captures the high school spirit as well as these few shows have. However, recently I’ve started watching Friday Night Lights, which to be fair, has the backdrop setting of football, and not being just about high school life. This show has got me watching, and wanting more, I’m almost through the first season, and I’m thankful Netflix can stream season 2 and 3 as well. Being a show about football caught my attention first, I played in high school some, I wasn’t very good, and didn’t play through to senior year, but I would have liked to have, if again, I had done things differently back in those days. The show’s not just about high school football, but TEXAS high school football, which they portray in a community wide, drop everything, it’s football season, kind of way. Everybody is excited about this game and their lives revolve around it, at least at first. The show takes a drastic change into familiar territory with high school life and showing what these teens are dealing with on a daily basis. The main distinction between Friday Night Lights and the others, that really seems to get under my skin and drive me nuts, is that they portray these kids, 15, 16, 17 and 18 as adults. They’re giving them the maturity level of people out of collage. Showing that they have flaws, sure, but they’re rising to meet almost unheard of challenges daily while never reacting in a ‘teenage’ fashion. By this I mean acting out at your parents, showing the emotional angst that’s prevelant in all the other shows. They took the ackwardness out of these teens, and I’m not exactly sure why.

Is this a reflection of our culture? Has it changed so much in the past 10 years that kids now aren’t allowed to be kids. Is this a Texas thing? Are people just maturing faster there? Or could this just be media, just for a show? Anyway you cut it, I think those things are going to keep bothering me as I continue through episodes. I’ll keep watching them for sure, they’re entertaining, and as long as I’m not thinking about their age, which the show trys damn hard to make sure you’re not… (drinking problems, sex with strangers, strippers, adultry, marriage and of course working) then I think I’ll be enjoying them just fine.

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