THE SMOKE SIGNAL

THE SMOKE SIGNAL

THE SMOKE SIGNAL

High School Musical lied to me

No teenager grows up without watching a school dance in a movie or TV show at least once. Main characters experience their romance arcs, the costume department breaks out the fancy dresses and everyone is guaranteed to have a drama-filled time. In reality, school dances are nothing like the film industry depicts.

First of all, movies don’t ever talk about the prep work that goes into dances. ASB plans from a year in advance, but most shows will just have a ‘dance committee’ meet a month or two beforehand if they show the prep at all. Also, people eat at prom. There’s dinner and dessert and seating. Nobody on TV ever eats. There are no security checks. There are no bus rides. Apparently the law doesn’t apply to Disney Channel, because nobody’s allowed to drive themselves to prom anymore.

Real school dances can have media-scale drama. Last year, people I considered friends ditched our group plans to take their prom pictures without me. However, not everyone experiences the cut-and-paste ‘dance arc’ popularized by TV. For example, the main characters will have a love interest without fail. In real life, going to dances with your friends (in big groups or as friend-dates) is okay and normal. As a senior, I will have gone to every single school dance with my friends. Of course, having a date is perfectly fine, but it’s not the end-all-be-all. Also, the court is not as big a deal as movies make it—trust me, I was on it. We can’t even campaign at school. People just vote for other people they know and whatever happens, happens. Prom may be more competitive than my winter formal experience, but it’s nothing like the all-out war it is in the media.

School dances in movies and TV are almost unrecognizable as their real-life counterparts—just like the rest of teen-focused media. Even the youngest film writers haven’t been teenagers for a good few years. Because the minds behind high school-age works are so far removed from it, that media is inaccurate by default. Most kids don’t go to crazy house parties. Most kids don’t attend a school run by an elite group of mean girls. And most kids don’t have a prom arc involving several layers of shenanigans, misunderstandings and romance.

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About the Contributor
Hannah Wobrock, Head Copy Editor
Hannah Wobrock is a senior and the current Head Copy Editor of The Smoke Signal. This is her first year in journalism and she's super excited about it! She is an active member of Hart Show Choir through Sound Vibrations, the acapella group Hartbeat and the program's student leadership team. When she's not attending various rehearsals or completing copious amounts of homework, Wobrock enjoys writing and arranging music, knitting and educating herself on a range of subjects - from Victorian fashion trends to organic chemistry.
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