13 Reasons Why. Riverdale. Away. Twilight. 17 Again. DUFF. All of these television shows and movies pigeonhole characters into predictable models of young-adolescent story telling so much that it becomes predictable. Now I'm not saying that all high school dramas--or at the very least, the high school genre--are bad; it just becomes old how cliché it can be using the same cookie-cutter model. It's kind of weird how they place teens today in more "adult" roles (hence, most of media being the "R"-rating). A transition from the olden era was straying away the values of young misbehavior, relationships, and development of the mind. Now, it's all about sex-craved, alcohol-binging, partying "socialites" who get entangled in the trials and tribulations of teenage life. I'm going to go off the list of all the most popular (and easy to copy) roles that today's media focuses on. I know I'm not going to be 100% right, but I'm pretty sure I at least got a 70.
Let's start off easy: the main character. They are the one we root for, and are usually the underdog. Extra credit to them if they are a newbie to the academy. There are two identities that this special bundle of joy could be: "Student A1" or "Student A2." Student A1 is the run-of-the-mill, ordinary fellow within the pressures of pre-algebra, Instagram likes, and what to eat for lunch. Student A2 is a mysterious subject whose past is exploited for the sake of the story. Perhaps they are part of a scandal that spills into the fray; or maybe they try to hide their secrets...pathetically.
The nerd takes the stage next. As generic or as unpopular as the MC is, they are their Number #2. Smart, grade-savvy, and incredibly anti-social, they focused on themselves, before the MC was introduced. All that they desire is a perfect report card, and scholarships to elite universities (which they can and will receive at the finale through their work ethic, not through bribing and pretending that they were on the rowing team). Friends too, if they get the chance. The two complete each other, as they both have traits that the other does not have. They're just two peas in a pod.
Third comes the "anomaly." This character is an add-on that combines the first two with shenanigans that could possibly lead to the tension of the story. The girl who's too good for the sinful earth. The rebel with a heart of gold or a black bloodstream. The president of a club with low presence. The sibling who lives under their famous/infamous sibling's shadow. Hell, they might even be a token minority, in the span of: race, gender, religion, sexuality, ethnicity, social class, GPA, etc. Depending on what route they take, they might even be the show's or movie's breakout character. The third wheel takes a spin in group dynamics and really changes the course of relationships. After all, three is a crowd.
Next into the scene are the "cool kids" the MC are made fully aware of. First, we have popular girl, the socialite of the socialite. Props to them if they are STUCO president. Double props if they are also the captain of cheer team. Triple props if she's filthy rich. Quadruple props if she's a complete bitch; cruel and selfish like the typical "Regina George," the princess that she was meant to be. She has minions *cough cough* her sisters, "besties," who do her entire bid- I mean..totally-tubular-like-whatever life events! She is the hub for all of the juicy drama, and everyone is living for it. Usually the love interest of the MC, they have three obstacles standing in their way between them and a two-week-long relationship: popularity, talents, and the jock she's most acquainted with.
The jock is an academic celebrity...sport-wise only. His GPA ranges from a "C" to "D"-average. But hey, who cares? Hundreds of hours of hard work, dedication, and championship matches got him to be the varsity captain of football. What's that? There are more sports other than football? Nope, not in this lifetime. The only sport that exists in high school is F-O-O-T-B-A-L-L. The all-American dream sport abound with touchdown and concussions. He has the body sculpted by the Gods and everyone wants a slice of him. The jock loves showboating, and lives off of it. Because of this, he can be quite condescending and judgmental, devolving to the most insensitive bully there ever is. If he's a decent, tolerable, respectful nice guy...that's surprising. Yeah, that guy would probably have the MC's back.
And finally, you have the background characters, the one's whose positioned at just the right angle to remind the audience that there are other who go to school as well. "Omnipresent beings," if there ever was the term. If they're not at school, they're swarming social media. They are the ones who attend every single band session, football game, and party. They are the ones who spread gossip about.the cool kids, especially the MC, who they love to torment. They are the filler bitches who take out their phones and start recording fights, instead of stopping it or calling for staff. They are the ones who comprise of cameos, one-trick ponies, and the featured student-of-the-episode (which may upgrade them to the main cast). But mostly, they are irrelevant and their sole purposes are to be a background drop, or a flat out mob.
That's pretty much everything there is to be about high school drama. Get your MC, make them get in trouble, make them an outcast, and see them rise up for the ashes...or fall into the pits. The story of the underdog will ways be present, and thus, it is the writer's job to make them suffer for three seasons straight (if they ever get there). High school can be rough, but hey, it sure does make good entertainment.