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16 Apr

20 Character Archetypes You’ll Meet in High School Dramas

Through the years, up until today, Hollywood continues to inform stories set in highschool which have turn out to be a genre of filmmaking of its own. These stories mainly entail teenage characters outgrowing adolescence and navigating the obscure phase of maturity. While a few of its depictions of highschool students on this stage of life are wholly false and unrealistic, in most instances, Hollywood’s portrayal is eerily much like real-life highschool experiences we definitely relate to.

These highschool dramas explore universal themes comparable to friendship, love, betrayal, and self-discovery, and use quite a lot of character stereotypes to create a wealthy and complicated tapestry of highschool life. Whether it is thru a feature-length film or series, these components are crucial to the writing; it seems incomplete without not less than one among these stereotypical characters involved. From the funny fat friend, the special girl, the jock with daddy issues, right down to the socially awkward protagonist, in this text, we are going to analyze 20 character archetypes you will find in highschool dramas.



20 The Theater Kid

Lexi Howard's play EUPHORIA The theatre kid

One the primary characters we first notice in highschool dramas are the theater kids. These characters normally have a flair for music, literature, acting, cinema, history, art, and culture. They’ve Shakespeare’s poems memorized, they know every renowned playwright, and so they have specific actors they’re obsessive about. Apart from the artistic passion of the theater kid, which sees them all the time organizing auditions for the subsequent big school play, this character is usually reclusive and more socially conscious than the audience would assume. During or after the performance, we get an in-depth view of the theater kid’s worldview and message they will only promulgate through music, writing, directing, or stage play. Good examples of the theater kid are Lexi Howard in Euphoria, Gabriella Montez in High School Musical, and Lily Iglehart in Sex Education.

Related: The Best High School Horror Movies, Ranked

19 The International Student

Stig Mohlin Tall girl the international student trope

Otherwise often called the brand new kid, the international student in highschool dramas is generally from a college exchange program. The international student is super attractive with an accent. Every other character thirsts for them, but fails to see them beyond their looks. This character archetype mostly has an enigma to their personality. Yet, they’re similar to every other teenager in the varsity, though as a consequence of their cultural difference and nationality, they are sometimes over-mystified. Stig Mohlin From Netflix’s Tall Girl is a superb example of this stereotype.

18 The Stoner

rue bennett euphoria

How can we not mention the relentless stoner? The stoner is a carefree student, all the time searching for their next high. They’re well-connected to dealers who can supply bags of pills and weed for the subsequent big house party. The stoner is generally portrayed within the two lights. First is the recovering drug addict on their path to sobriety or the junkie who doesn’t care about any consequences for his or her lifestyle decisions. Example of the relentless stoner is Rue Bennett in Euphoria and Slater in Dazed and Confused.

17 The Free-Spirited Skater

Seth Acosta Moxie the skater

The free-spirited skater is a personality who lives life on their very own terms. They wear baggy jeans, earphones connected to tape, oversized hoodies, and for unknown reasons, won’t take off their head warmers. This character is generally seen skating within the background across the hallway and attempting latest tricks down the staircase rail. By way of personality, the skater is comfortable being alone; nevertheless, they’re open to friendships. They make good friends and higher love interests. The skaters wear their hearts on their sleeves. They see and say things for what they’re and are not afraid to call out anyone, not even the protagonist. Examples of characters embodying this trope are Max from Stranger Things and Seth Acosta from Moxie.

16 The Sex God

Universal Pictures

Also often called the women’ man, the sex god is generally the new guy who brags about his sexual conquests. He detests and ridicules his peers for in search of real, healthy romantic relationships. Eventually, he realizes he isn’t as invisible to emotions as he projects himself to be after encountering one other character that makes him query the whole lot about his worldview. One other thing about such a character is, in some movies, the sex expert is a liar who only says what he learned from watching porn. This sort of character includes Jake Ryan in Sixteen Candles, Stifler in American Pie, and Kyle in Lady Bird.

15 The Unapologetic Christian

Jamie Sullivan A walk to remember
Warner Bros.

The unapologetic Christian is the religious character who’s unashamed of their faith. The unapologetic Christian is all the time in a cheery mood, always handing out fliers for bible study and student fellowships. They’ve strict morals, which cause them to encourage their peers to chase purity and righteousness in all they do. Despite their good intentions, the unapologetic Christian can appear too judgmental and hypocritical. Examples are Jamie Sullivan from A Walk to Remember and Laura Lee in Yellowjackets.

14 The Academic Overachiever

Paris Geller Gilmore girls Academic overachiever
Warner Bros. Television

The academic overachiever considers a B+ a failure. They engage in extracurricular activities, from swim class to debates and Model UN. They play the cello amongst every other musical instrument unrelated to their profession ambitions. They tackle ambitious science projects and have maintained nothing lower than a 4.0 GPA since middle school. The tutorial overachiever is decided to get admitted into an Ivy League college which compels them to cross impressive achievements like items on a grocery list.

Although the educational overachiever is capable, they typically require a rival that propels them beyond their boundaries. While this character will be inspiring, we are likely to empathize with them, as they wouldn’t have a life outside academics. They struggle with relationships because they consider themselves too smart to have interaction with other characters of their world. Examples are Paris Geller from Gilmore Girls, Alex Dunphy from Modern Family, and Ben Gross from Never Have I Ever.

13 The Social Justice Warrior

Jessica Davies 13 Reasons Why social justice 

This character cannot stop raving about how they need to tear down oppressive social systems. They’re socio-politically charged students, who’re members or running for office in the coed body. They’re highly social-conscious and may swiftly pick on when one other character is being condescending, mansplaining, racist, sexist, or any act that isn’t politically correct. The social justice warrior is all for equality, justice, and fairness. They care concerning the environment and genuinely intend to make the world higher, one protest after one other. These characters are essential to social commentary in highschool dramas because, through their storyline, other characters and the audience who’re victims of oppression can have a voice. Examples include Vivian in Moxie, Olivia Baker in All American, and Jessica Davies in 13 Reasons Why.

12 That Couple

Blair and Chuck from Gossip Girl
Warner Bros. Domestic Television Distribution

There’s all the time that couple that may’t get their hands off one another. They’re randomly seen making out within the hallway, dining, closet, classroom, car parking zone, literally anywhere. They’re that couple subject to gossip and scandals. To your complete school, they’re the dream couple, whereas secretly, the connection is toxic. Example of the ‘it couple’ is Blair and Chuck from Gossip Girl, Maddy and Nate in Euphoria, Jason and Polly in Riverdale.

11 The Goths, Rebels, and Outcasts

Nancy Downs The Craft Goths
Columbia Pictures

Now, these social misfits cannot wait to complete highschool, so that they can have the liberty to go on tour, go into full-on witchcraft, or whatever endeavor they intend to pursue. They’re portrayed as edgy and cynical, but will be very friendly. Often, they’re in a band meeting within the garage of one among their members. They all the time wear black leather jackets, spiky hair, goth rings, and other punk aesthetic. They’ve troubles at home and are always getting themselves detention. They detest the jocks, the nerds, and anyone they deem to be a part of the matrix of society.

Just like the social justice warrior, the gothrebel is stuffed with angst, but what differentiates the 2 is the initiative to attempt to make things higher. Quite than contribute to alter, they pour their angst into revolt and their hard rock playlist. Examples of the rebel are Nancy Downs from The Craft, Eddie Munson from Stranger Things, Ferris Bueller from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, and Cyrus from 13 Reasons Why.

10 The Horny Nerd

Super Bad
Sony Pictures

The horny nerd‘s life goal is getting laid with a cheerleader before graduation. They do not get invited to parties. They lack social confidence and are prey to bullying from mean girls and jocks. They supply comic relief to the plot, and their humor and genius get them their love interest in the long run. Examples of the attractive nerd are Seth and Evan from Superbad, Sherman from American Pie, and Michael from 10 Things I Hate About You.

Related: The High School Clique Trope — Is it Still Relevant?

9 The Jock

Nate Jacobs euphoria

Is it a highschool drama without this guy? The jock is either the star quarterback or the basketball team captain. He mainly embodies the privileged white male whose future is already guaranteed. He’s the boyfriend of the pinnacle cheerleader and a walking thirst trap for other female and queer characters. His locker is full of flowers and love letters from secret admirers, and his teammates respect him for his pull on girls and his leadership qualities. He’s the alpha male with an indomitable will, and in every situation, he emerges as a winner.

The jock is portrayed in a desirable light; nevertheless, within the shadows, he has repressed childhood trauma, daddy issues, and in some cases, struggles along with his sexuality. The jock relishes the admiration of the entire school, but he’s silently burdened by the pressures that come along with his social status. This often motivates him to crave the normalcy of teenage life, which makes him fascinated by the special girl. Although the jock archetype is about in stone, that does not exempt him from undergoing a transformative character arc that challenges him to be higher. Nevertheless, in some cases, the jock is only a straight-up jerk who probably deserves what he gets. Examples of the jocks are Peter Kavinsky from To All of the Boys I’ve Loved Before, Andrew Clark from The Breakfast Club, Nate Jacobs in Euphoria, and Bryce Walker from 13 the explanation why.

8 The Ugly-Pretty Girl

The Princess Diaries
Walt Disney Pictures

She is a funny, intelligent, and type student, who suddenly realizes how pretty she is when she goes through a makeover, which mainly involves applying makeup, removing her braces and glasses, and adding a number of outfits to her wardrobe. This actualization and alter in appearance begin to garner her attention from the entire school as they now watch the identical girl they once ignored, walk in slow motion across the hallway.

Together with her newfound fame, she receives invitations to the cool kid’s tables and house parties and even gets asked out by a jock. All these cause her to lose sight of herself before realizing her true inner beauty needs no external validation. Also, she surprisingly wins prom queen. Examples of characters who exemplify the ugly pretty girl trope are Dani Barnes in #REALITYHIGH, Mia from The Princess Diaries, and Laney Boggs from She’s All That.

7 The Damned Damsel

hannah baker 13 reasons why

The sad girl with a nasty status. This introverted character is way deeper than anyone would imagine. Just like the outcasts, the damned damsel prefers solitude, not because she desires to; as a substitute, nobody desires to be friends together with her as a consequence of a nasty false rumor that refused to go away or a negative stigma attached to her. To the lack of other characters, she is fiercely loyal and caring to the few lucky to know her on a profound level.

Typically, the damned damsel deserves higher treatment from her classmates, teachers, and even her family. She is a gifted teenager with immense potential to be the inspiring protagonist, but rarely does she receive befitting character arcs from the writing room. So she is usually condemned to be that girl that garners ridicule from other characters and empathy from the audience. Examples of characters on this trope include Hannah Baker from 13 Reasons Why.

6 The Wing Girls

gossip girl monet and luna

These are the wing girls of the Queen Bee. Little is thought about these sidekick characters because a significant aspect of their character arcs revolves across the ringleader. Like their heroine, also they are fashionable, and so they have an enormous social media following. In most movies and series, they fire up or prevent chaos by aiding the ‘mean girl’ in daunting scenarios. Examples include Monet and Luna from Gossip Girl.

5 The Gay Best Friend

eric sex education

The gay best friend is the confidant of the straight protagonist. They’re generally likable, optimistic, supportive, and dependable to their friends. They’re side characters who detail the gossip of your complete school to the socially awkward protagonist and play matchmakers when nobody asks them to. The gay best friend is arguably the laziest and most offensive trope prevalent in modern television. Nevertheless, that’s starting to alter.

With characters like Eric Effiong from Sex Education, we’re starting to see a latest class of queer characters with their very own storylines and purpose within the film somewhat than being accessory plot pawns for his or her straight counterparts or inclusivity rating points for the film’s marketing. Other examples of the gay best friend is Kevin from Riverdale, Kurt from Glee, andCharlie in School Spirits.

4 The Head Cheerleader / Mean Girl

Riverdale Season 7 Madelaine Petsch

The head cheerleader. The queen bee of her kingdom. The apex predator of her school’s social chain. She is the mean materialistic ringleader who wields power and control over her school. Like her jock boyfriend, she is the ire of attraction for many boys in the varsity. She has hundreds, if not hundreds of thousands, of social media followers. Together together with her sidekicks, her cologne and stunning outfit turn necks when she steps into the hallway. The pinnacle cheerleader has a mean exterior; nevertheless, beneath the surface, she just desires to be understood. This type of mean girl includes Heather Chandler from Heathers, Regina George from Mean Girls, Cheryl Blossom from Riverdale, Sharpay Evans from High School Musical, and Santana Lopez from Glee.

Several mean girls on television have solidified their place not only in television but in popular culture. These girls are renowned for his or her iconic looks, quotes, and storylines. While the mean girl is a staple for top school dramas, we have now seen a novel portrayal of this character lately. Anya Formozova for The Take describes her as “The mean girl with a heart.” Unlike other hot-headed cheerleaders who’re unnecessarily mean, besides their looks, these girls are gentle, kind, and empathetic to each character. She doesn’t project her life’s problems onto her schoolmates and maintains friendships with diverse characters. This sort of mean girl is the alternative of the famed stereotype, as she respects her friends and never passes on a learning opportunity to enhance. Great examples are Maddy from Euphoria, Kate Wallis in Cruel Summer, andChrissy Cunningham from Stranger Things.

3 The Awkward Protagonist

STX Entertainment

Then we have now our principal character, the socially awkward teenager struggling to seek out their place on the planet or uncover their identity and purpose. They’re regular students with good grades; they mostly have their gay best friend to maintain them company, which is enough until an inciting incident demands them to turn out to be more lively of their character arc. In some cases, they typically turn out to be popular through one means or one other entirely out of their control.

The socially awkward protagonist is clumsy, is not cool with the jocks, gets rejected by the cheerleaders, and usually struggles to slot in various social settings. One other thing concerning the socially awkward protagonist is how an absent parent is a typical element of the character’s conflict. Examples of these kind of characters are Otis Milburn from Sex Education, Devi from Never Have I Ever, and Nadine Franklin from Fringe of Seventeen.

2 The Inspiring Protagonist

Do-Revenge-Camila-Mendes-2022 (1)

Different from the awkward protagonist, this type of principal character is removed from ungainly. As a matter of fact, the inspiring protagonist belongs to the cool kids club. They’re attractive, confident, driven, and highly motivated to attain their goals. Whether it’s to jot down a fantastic college essay, rebuild their tarnished status, kill some monsters or two, or achieve anything before the tip of the plot, trust them to get it done.

Unlike their counterparts who struggle with relationships, these protagonists don’t have any issues pursuing a love interest or ending one that does not profit them. As a result of their self-confidence and excellent social skills, they don’t have any problems fitting in or convincing other characters to hitch them in achieving their quests. They’re talented, creative, aspirational, and fearless. Often, the inspiring protagonist’s arc is tailored towards an external goal. Nevertheless, because the plot unfolds, they know it’s more intrinsic than they initially believed. Examples of the inspiring protagonist are Amber Appleton from All Together Now, Drea from Do Revenge, Quinn Ackerman from Work it Out, and Buffy Summers from Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

1 The Teacher We Wish We All Had

dead poets society 1989 john keating robin williams
Buena Vista Pictures

These are the teachers that get every student no matter their archetype. These adults understand the struggle that accompanies coming of age. They often display immense maturity, wisdom, and humor while interacting with their students. They provide quotes that function real-life advice for the high schoolers and the audience. Unlike other teachers who try too hard or are nonchalant, their endearing traits make their students easily gravitate toward them. Examples of those great highschool teachers are Professor John Keating in Dead Poets Society, Mr. Bruner from Fringe of Seventeen, and Mario Martinez from Critical Pondering.

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