Hollywood High

Hollywoods idea of high school and how it does not match what actually happens in high school.

The difference between what Hollywood sells as a teenager verses the way actual high schoolers appear.


The difference between what Hollywood sells as a teenager verses the way actual high schoolers appear.

Macy Hutchinson, Staff Writer

Whenever I have a stressful day or am just feeling too tired to function, my favorite thing to do is watch a comforting tv show. I am the type of person that will rewatch the same show as many times as humanly possible. I can very easily quote shows due to this.

I find myself coming back to shows centered around high school. My all time favorite show is One Tree Hill, but looking back, the show is not even close to actual high school.

At least at Sutton no kids are getting married their junior year, leaving school to go on a rock tour, or  sneaking through their girlfriend’s window at night.

Nathan Scott played by James Lafferty. This is in the first season of the show meaning that he is supposed to be 16 to 17 years old. (Pinterest)

Do not get me wrong, I love the Scott brothers, but Chad Michael Murray might not be the best representation of actual high school boys, and Sophia Bush also not the best representation of the actual teenage girl.

Last time I checked most, 16 or 17 year olds do not have that type of muscle definition. In reality you can not get that defined within that age bracket. You can not begin to build muscle until after puberty–the most you can do is tone your muscles.

Boys begin to go through puberty between 9 and 14 causing them to end around 17 as late as early 20’s, meaning the level of muscle definition they have is unrealistic to actual teens. I mean there is the rare chance that maybe he developed early, that is a possibility, but chances are he’s really just in his 20’s and knows he’s going to take his shirt off a lot.

I have always wondered why they do not hire 16 year olds to play high school students. The acne, the body mass, the awkward years, it would all be accurate to the way actual teenagers.

The main reason why actual teenagers do not play tv teenagers is due to the fact of Child Labor Laws. The Fair Labor Standard Act actually prevents teenage actors from getting these roles due to the required working times. Plus children under the age of 18 require parental supervision the whole time on set, meaning more bodies on set, more people in the way of crew as well as they are required to have an on set tutor, which production pays for, so it’s wasting costs that could be used somewhere else.

Mila Kunis (14 at the start of season 1) and her future husband Ashton Kutcher (20 at the start of season 1) playing Jackie Burkhart and Michael Kelso. (HelloGiggles)

It is very rare that minors play their age on Tv, unless you’re Mila Kunis on That 70’s Show. She withheld her actual age. The producer’s asked her how old she was, and she told them that she will be 18 on her birthday, she just slyly left out it wasn’t her next birthday. Young 14 year old Mila Kunis played 14 year old Jackie Burkhart.

Due to the actors having to be over the age of 18, they look a lot different then the normal teenager.

When going through the process of looking for actors who look younger than they are this requires a lot of type casting. This gives many teens the wrong idea.

Things like acne are also rarely found in TV. Acne is most often found on teenagers and begins to grow around ages 10 to 13 and disappear around the early 20s. So when actors that are 25 play high schoolers, odds are they may not have much acne.

This sells the idea that in order to be “beautiful” in high school you must have acne free skin, never have a bad hair day, and be teeny tiny. Maybe this is the part of the problem with the body image issue that is in America.

The new HBO show Euphoria, staring Zendaya playing a drug abusing student. (Men’s Health)

53% of American girls feel unhappy with their bodies. By the age of 17 53% becomes 78%. You can read more of the stats here.

In all my TV watching, I have also noticed Hollywood has a very different idea of what teenagers’ lives are actually like.

Shows like Riverdale, Euphoria, and The O.C. are very unrealistic representations of high school teenager lives.  Maybe it’s just me growing up in a small town where not too much happens, but last time I checked there are no high schoolers getting nearly murdered in a gang fight; high schoolers don’t hide away shooting up morphine in the bathroom.

Part of this could be because of the entertainment piece of it. No one wants to watch a show where a bunch of actors sit in a room, get lectured for six hours at a time with no gang fights, no nothing. That would be a very boring show.

Seeing shows that are not realistic takes away from our day to day lives> It’s a get away, watching a show where the main character’s mother killed her last two ex-husbands as an escape to get out of an abusive relationship, might be a lot more interesting than watching Mr. Loss edit news articles.

Though maybe I’m wrong–he can be very funny and entertaining.