Pack of Pop: An Entertainment Blog

There is this popular trend in television shows that takes place in high school. When graduation approaches, usually sooner than writers anticipate, the college years don’t live up to the hype the high school era created. Shows like “Saved by the Bell,” “Beverly Hills 90210,” “Dawson’s Creek,” and “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” are examples of shows whose college years simply did not live up to the show’s reputation and even when they did, the show was too hard to sustain at the college level.

Truth be told, college just doesn’t work as well as high school for conflict. There is, however, one exception to the rule. “Boy Meets World” offered an amazing run in the post-graduation years, giving audiences some of the best episodes ever.

High school is a breeding ground for conflict. For better or worse you are stuck with the people in your grade and your school. It is common to see on television the internal conflicts that drive high school dramas. Friendships end, relationships start, everything happens within this incestual little unit and grudges follow the characters for the rest of their lives. Usually, they all follow each other to college, too. This is what makes the college years of television shows so utterly unrealistic.

Think about it: did you and your best friends and your enemies go to school together? Or when they don’t go to school together they all wind up seeing each other all the time. Let me tell you, I don’t see my best friend all the time. I’m lucky if I see her at times other than school breaks.

This unrealistic tactic to keep a show on the air, as well as the lack of growth, is what kills TV shows all the time. College is about growing and meeting new people; this doesn’t always mean losing touch with the old, but it doesn’t mean hanging on either. People change, they transfer schools, they join different organizations and they don’t wind up roommates. It’s reality.

“Veronica Mars” is a show that is not surviving the college years well. On a new network, it is missing the vital conflicts that were brought on in the halls of Neptune High. Now five returning cast members are at Hearst College and the fluidity of how they got there is lacking.

One current teen drama is going to the inevitable high school graduation, though they spread two years of high school out through four seasons. “One Tree Hill” is about to reach a pivotal moment if it returns for a fifth season. I hope it does, but only if it is done with class. Mark Schwann, the writer of the show, sat down with Buddytv.com and offered a season five spoiler before people are really sure where season four is going. It is possible, claims the article, that if “One Tree Hill” returns it will fast forward five years into the future and have the cast back in Tree Hill after college. This idea seems like it was pulled out of the book of “Dawson’s Creek,” since the series finale brought the show up five years to finish.

I am unsure if “One Tree Hill” will work outside of high school. Tree Hill High School is the basis for everything in the show and Ravens basketball drives the theme. It is not a show that will work in college, as none of them will go to the same colleges or even all go to college. On top of that, picking up five years later changes the entire pace of the show. Does it really make sense to follow adults around? I mean, they aren’t going to sleep with each others’ husbands and throw underage drinking parties anymore. What can they really do with the show without high school?

I don’t want to see one of my favorite shows cancelled, but I would rather see it go out on a high note then just reach the level of ridiculousness that shows like “7th Heaven” (in its 11th season) have reached.

I guess only time will tell.