Teen movies aren’t known for being incredibly realistic. A lot of films aimed towards young adults are filled with expectations and situations that just aren’t true to life. While movies can be great ways to escape reality, sometimes they can are so far fetched it’s hard to see where the filmmakers are coming from. Below are a few of the most over the top unrealistic things that happen in teen movies.
1. You’re Supposed To Look Like You’re 25
If you’ve ever watched a movie that follows a group of teenagers you may find yourself wondering why everyone looks like they’re well over 20. While one hand it can simply be to find a more attractive cast that isn’t going through the trials of puberty and changing bodies, it’s also done because casting minors can be pretty expensive. Labor laws and other restrictions limit the amount of hours a minor can work. Oftentimes movies, especially lower budget films, don’t have the time or resources to accommodate actual teenagers. Although it is still pretty difficult to watch someone who’s supposed to be 16-years-old have a full 6-pack, be over 6-feet-tall and look like he’s ready to put a downpayment on a house.
2. The Halls Are Runways
In teen movies, or even teen shows, you rarely if ever see them wear the same clothes twice. Characters are almost always decked out in the latest fashion. They don’t just wear clothes either, everything they wear are actual outfits that no teen would actually wear. Teen movies turn the hallowed halls of academia into a runway. Usually they are teenage girls who dress on point with the magazines but even teenage boys show off unrealistic clothing standards. Their outfits aren’t just over the top and always perfectly pieced together, they’re also quite expensive. While there are some teens with parents willing to give them a charge card and others who will save up for the best boots around most teens won’t spend their life savings on clothes they won’t even wear twice.
3. Passing Periods Are Super Long
Not only are the hallways runways, they’re also the main set for every conversation, fight, hookup and meltdown. If a character is in school odds are they’re rarely if ever in class. Granted no one wants to watch the main character sit through geometry it does become pretty unrealistic when they never actually make it to class. More often than not in teen movies characters linger at their lockers, casually walk through barely busy halls and spend all of passing period pushing forward the plot. In reality most teens all but run from one class to the next just to make it in time before the tardy bell rings.
Now don’t get me wrong with this one, bullying is definitely still an issue when it comes to being a teenager. It’s something that every generation has dealt with in some form of another. Like most other plotlines in teen movies this is one aspect of teen life that the films can get really, really wrong. Bullying in films consists of being shoved in lockers, backpacks stolen and rumors spread throughout the entire school. In real life bullying is typically more insidious and less obvious. Forty years ago someone might have been given a swirly but modern time not so much. And while rumors are still definitely spread like wildfire in a school odds are not everyone in a high school is going to know, let alone care about, one particular student.
5. Athletes Are Idiots
On the topic of bullying, it’s usually at the hands of athletes. Jocks are almost always one of three things; a bully, dumb or secretly sensitive. While there are definitely still certain labels teenagers still subscribe to they aren’t one-dimensional characters that lack any sort of depth or ability to grow. In fact a lot of athletes are forced to have some sort of grip on scholarly life or they face the possibility of being benched. Or athletes are mean to the point of being just plain cruel. This is one ancient teen movie trope that continues to live on today.
6. Smart Kids Are Ostracized Horribly
The people who are usually falling victims to the evil jocks are the smart kids, or in teen movie terms the “geeks” and the “nerds”. While again there are teenagers out there that suffer through bullying not every kid who understands the Pythagorean Theorem is having their lunch money stolen. Anymore students who are more academically inclined find themselves in a lot of clubs, social circles and are capable of basic social skills. Oh and glasses also don’t mean you’re lame, they just mean you can’t see.
7. “Hot” Teachers
Now this is hands down the sickest and most perverse plotline teen movies, and shows, love to toss in to spice things up. Having a teenage character have a romantic relationship with a “hot” teacher. This isn’t just unrealistic it’s straight up against the law. Adults in positions of power have no business whatsoever romancing a minor in their care. Regardless of how they met, know each other or even if the teacher is in their early twenties it’s still wrong. Across the country teachers, coaches and other adults who are supposed to care about their students are being locked away for taking advantage of children. This isn’t sexy, or daring or taboo it’s pedophila. Aria and Ezra shouldn’t have been end game, Ezra should have ended up in prison.
8. All Parents Know Each Other
While it can be both a blessing and a curse when parents of friends know your parents that isn’t always the case. Even in smaller towns and cities people are constantly moving and changing to the point where odds are people didn’t keep up with everyone in that neighborhood. It can still happen but especially in larger cities you’ll be lucky if you remember everyone in your school, let alone your parents knowing everyone.
9. Absentee Parents
On the flipside teen movies also tend to have absentee parents. Now these aren’t parents who actually abandoned their children, that is a very real issue, these are parents who seem to only provide meals, money and the occasional bad joke. In teen movies parents are all but missing. They seem to never know what’s going on in their kids life or they just don’t care enough to know. Absentee parents make it easier for characters to never do actual homework, go out whenever they want and curfews are not existent.
10. Raging House Parties
Absentee parents also lend a hand to another teen movie favorite, a raging house party. Teenagers definitely party, there’s no doubt about that, but odds are they aren’t partying to the extent that movies show them to be. In teen movies you’ll see one character scream in the hallway their parents are out of town and in a matter of hours a car is in their backyard. Many things are wrong with this. For one thing the majority of people that go to high school together probably don’t know where everyone else lives. Another thing is while parties can get out of control most teenagers probably don’t want hundreds of people at their house.
11. High School Sweethearts Last Forever
I swear I’m not a cynic when I say this but odds are Brad from 5th period isn’t going to be your husband. There definitely are those rare cases of high school relationships lasting forever but for the most part they don’t. The person you were at sixteen isn’t going to be who you are for the rest of your life. Oftentimes relationships run their course during high school, or they inevitably fall apart once the couple goes to different schools. There’s nothing wrong with dating in high school and teen heartache does suck but it definitely isn’t the end of road when it comes to love.
12. How Wealthy And Updated Schools Are
A subtly unrealistic aspect about teen movies is how wealthy and updated schools are. The high schools are almost always two stories, even in small towns, their computers are new, libraries are huge and every classroom is modern. This might seem not that important but it shows how out of touch Hollywood is with the rest of America. Not every school is dilapidated and rundown but a lot of schools look nothing like what they do in teen movies. Many high schools have classrooms that haven’t been renovated since the 80s or they’re using decades old textbooks.
13. Everyone Comes From A Middle-Class Suburban Family
It isn’t just the high schools that are insanely well-off, almost every single character in a teen movie comes from a fairly wealthy family. This has been a trend for decades. Characters, even characters who aren’t the wealthy kids, typically live in two-storied homes in nice neighborhoods. Their bedrooms are huge and they almost always have a car, even if it’s just an older car. The only time a character comes from a smaller, ranch home is when the movie wants to emphasize the fact that they’re “poor”. It can be pretty jarring when a teenager who doesn’t come from lower-income family to see characters living in million-dollar homes.
14. Cliques And Stereotypes
Even though modern teen movies have tried to diversity casts for the most part cliques and stereotypes are still prominent. Almost all characters fall into some category and they almost never mingle with each other, except for the occasional bullying. High school does still have groups that students fall into but teens aren’t limited to just one social group.
In teen movies prom is the biggest night of your life. Prom can definitely be fun and some people really do go all out for it but it isn’t what the movies show. Odds are your school did not rent a club or turned the gymnasium into a club. In reality wealthier schools from wealthier areas can make this happen in teen movies set in a one horse town their proms look like weddings. While prom can be an important night for some students it isn’t the most important moment of a high schoolers life. There are bigger things than who won prom queen.