Role call: High school shows get graded

Celeste Casella, Editor-in-Chief

The American high school experience is portrayed all over television. How accurate are these portrayals? Not very. The real question is, Which American high school portrayal is most entertaining: Euphoria, Never Have I Ever, or Riverdale?

In true high school fashion, each show will be graded on a rigorous set of standards. Their report card grade will be based on the following: relatability will be 50% of the grade, as outlandish as these shows can be, I still want to be able to see myself in a character or make connections to my own life, even in small ways. Comedy will be 30% of each show’s final grade. Real high school is grim enough and I want to laugh when watching it on TV. Writing will be 20% of the grade. Awkward dialogue and plot holes not do not meet the standard and will receive lower grades.


Starring Zendaya, Hunter Schafer, and Jacob Elordi, it follows the life of a high school student, Rue Bennett, who turned to drugs after losing her father. 

Euphoria covers serious topics including identity, addiction, abandonment, and family issues. Depending on the viewer, people might be able to relate small parts of Euphoria to their everyday lives, while others see it as an extreme exaggeration of life that was made purely for entertainment and shock value. I side with those who see the value in highlighting important issues that teens face, although I can see why people may be turned away by these topics. Taking all of this into consideration, I’ll give Euphoria a 75% in relatability. 

Being such a serious show, there aren’t many moments for comedy to shine through in Euphoria. There are some lighthearted moments, though, which is why it gets a 70% in comedy. 

Finally, Euphoria is one of the most well-written shows I’ve seen. All the characters have complicated storylines that intertwine. Additionally, the character development is complex, making the story even more sophisticated. Euphoria gets a 95% in writing.

Never Have I Ever

Starring Maitreyi Ramakrishnan, Poorna Jagannathan, and Darren Barnet is a coming of age story of a high school-age Indian American girl: Devi Vishwakumar. She faces the clash between her family life and school life. 

It deals with many issues high school students today face, like young romance, family and friend conflicts, and arguably most important: fitting in. One of the best things about Never Have I Ever is that it makes all of these themes easy to understand and sympathize with. This is a show many teens can sympathize with and is a great representation of an Indian American teen. Never Have I Ever gets a 90% in relatability. 

Overall comedy-wise, Never Have I Ever is entertaining and funny. They aren’t trying too hard to be funny and can create natural and fun characters with quirky moments. I give it an 80% in comedy. 

At the end of each season, all loose ends are tied up, each person, especially Devi, learns a lot about herself and the world. The story is sweet and very well done. I give it an 80% in writing. 


Starring Lili Reinhart, Cole Sprouse, K. J. Apa playing Betty Cooper, Jughead Jones, and Archie Andrews respectively, following a confusing series of events. 

A group of high school teens navigates life after the death of a classmate, ultimately solving the mystery of his death. They also deal with the rivalry of two gangs in their town. It turns into a musical for a small time and explores slight themes of rich versus poor. While parts of the show can be relatable, the randomness of these themes all put together makes it become confusing and lose its impact. Riverdale gets a 70% in relatability.  

I’m sad to say that due to the serious nature of this show, there isn’t any comedy to redeem the odd storyline. There are two different comical situations in Riverdale: they try to be funny, but it comes out awkward and unfunny, or there’s a moment that’s supposed to be serious but turns out awkward, making it funny. Because neither of these situations achieves the goal the writers were going for, Riverdale gets a 50% in comedy. 

Riverdale is notorious for being overly dramatic and poorly written, with many people referencing how unrealistic the show is. I’ve seen countless social media posts showcasing the awkward writing in the show and confusing moments. This plus the puzzling storyline results in Riverdale getting a 40% in writing. 

Finally, who is the valedictorian this year? Cue the drumroll…. With a final grade of 85% It’s Never Have I Ever! It remained strong through my tests of relatability, comedy, and dialogue. Never Have I Ever is a beautiful coming of age story that I believe many teens can relate to. Coming in second place, Euphoria had a final grade of 77%. Finally, Riverdale came in last place with a final grade of 58%.