12 School TV Shows Where No One Seemed to Study
School makes an interesting setting for many shows, especially teen dramas. But somehow, TV writers and producers have clued in on the fact that studying is just not that exciting and end up featuring most of the drama in these shows outside of the classroom walls. Most shows take on social issues, personal drama, and even supernatural villains instead of reading, writing, and arithmetic. Of course, we haven’t heard any complaints from the fans of these shows, but we do have to wonder, just how do these students manage to juggle their exciting lives with mountains of homework?
In a world where high school kids lead very adult lives, it’s not surprising there’s little focus on studying. After all, they have backstabbing and revenge to resolve, mysteries to uncover, and budding socialite statuses to develop. Even when the group moves on to NYU, sex, relationships, and estranged parents take precedence over school. In the latest seasons, school seems to have been completely abandoned as main characters go on to become industry titans and even begin planning royal weddings.
The Facts of Life takes viewers inside the dormitory of a private all girls school, with housemother Edna Garret caring for rich girl Blair, gossipy Tootie, and the naive Natalie. The show occasionally featured the girls taking classes together, but the central themes of episodes focused on issues of morality and lessons on eating disorders, sex, peer pressure, and more instead of classroom learning.
At Greendale Community College, viewers follow a study group originally formed out of a Spanish class on campus. But the group actually does very little studying together, as they quickly become friends and interact in each others’ lives. Paintballing, documentary filmmaking, and even going into labor during anthropology exams take precedence over actual studying, but it all works at Greendale as the group moves on to a new semester.
21 Jump Street almost gets a pass for not actually studying, as the most important characters in the schools were not real students. Rather, they were youthful undercover police officers investigating crimes within the schools. Instead of hitting the books, these "students" were taking down drug traffickers along with alcoholism, child abuse, and even promiscuity. But despite the lack of studying, 21 Jump Street had lessons to be learned, sharing morals about the activity being investigated that week, and often airing public service announcements after episodes.
Saved by the Bell was beloved by kids in the early 90s and even beyond into syndication, but certainly not for its class time. Although the show featured scenes in classrooms, social issues were tackled more often than learning. The students at Bayside typically dealt with important teen issues, including drug use, divorce, bullying, and even death, sharing important moral matters with students. And of course, the impish attractiveness of student Zach Morris.
Beverly Hills, 90210 was an incredible teen drama with a fervent following of not just high school kids, but adults as well. The show followed a group of friends at West Beverly High School, and the exploits of their lives in the upscale community in and out of the classroom, but conveniently ignoring actual studying. Although like so many other school shows, 90210 featured social issues including date rape, suicide, teenage pregnancy, and eating disorders, the show also had plenty of drama. Towards the end of the series, teen issues and studying were pushed aside in favor of love triangles, dramatic lives, and adult issues.
Like 21 Jump Street, the characters of Buffy the Vampire Slayer seem to get a pass for not spending a lot of time studying. How could they when they were constantly fighting vampires? In a typical episode, there was at least one villain or supernatural phenomena to be defeated, tearing the characters away from normal high school lives with plenty of studying and leisure time. Of course, that is not to say that learning didn’t go on, as Buffy and her friends spent plenty of time poring over ancient books to uncover the mysteries of vampires and other villains in myths and lore.
In its time, A Different World offered a visionary premise: a look into the lives of students at a historically black college. Despite being set on a college campus, we don’t actually see the students attending class, with many of the scenes taking place at the campus hangout, The Pit. Nonetheless, A Different World offered an accurate depiction of life in college (outside of class, anyway), especially a Black college. The show shared important issues facing students on historically black college campuses and beyond, including sexism, rape, and drug abuse.
Just like Buffy and her friends, Veronica Mars seems to be constantly plagued by a villain or mystery to resolve, sometimes becoming the target of evil herself. Although Veronica is presented as a star student, her study sessions are often interrupted by her duties moonlighting as a private investigator and professional meddler. Of course, when your best friend’s murder leads to the downfall of everything important in your life, solving mysteries tends to take precedence over Algebra equations.
This show follows Cory Matthews and his friends through their lives as pre-teens and into adulthood. Although the show is primarily set at school, the group tends to deal with serious issues more often than studying. Young love, family reunions, and learning to cope with the roller coaster of life steal the focus on Boy Meets World as the young Cory Matthews grows into an adult.
Friday Night Lights is often set at school, but its main focus is on football and small town life, following the personal dramas, injuries, and triumphs of high school football players in fictional Dillon, Texas. This show shares little in the way of academics, but serves up plenty of the drama of football in small Texas towns. Watch as the show examines how football impacts so much more than just the players, including their coaches, families, and the entire town as they wait to see if the team will win it all.
The wildly popular show Glee features very little studying, and we’re pretty sure the show’s viewers are just fine with that. Instead of studying, Glee‘s characters spend their time carrying out diabolical plots, examining teenage pregnancy, high school romance, discrimination, the reality of being different on campus, and obviously, singing. Of course, the show does share an education in music, especially hits from the rock group Journey.