14 Years Of The High School Experience Through The Eyes Of MTV

mtv high school

When it comes to encapsulating high school, MTV has never been shy about experimenting.

Their method on such shows has long been this: find something that’s pure on-the-nose zeitgeist, make it fast, and abandon it the second it shows signs of going stale.

A few have been hugely successful. Many have been forgettable. Sort of like the moments that make up a real-life high school experience.


Daria was like a little Larry David -- and though the network would eventually swing back to the outcast idea, they've never replicated it quite as brilliantly.

Total episodes: 65.

The series also covered college students and twentysomethings. It aired late-night -- this was risque for MTV back then -- and filled out the reels of then-unknown stars Adam Brody, Chad Michael Murray and Brandon Routh.

Total episodes: 222.

Tommy Hilfiger's daughter, Ally, let the cameras follow her and her friends during senior year in Manhattan and on weekend trips to Mustique. Normal kids were officially out.

Total episodes: 10.

The tanned, self-obsessed spawn of California millionaires made for one of the network's best-rated series ever.

Total episodes: 43.

Why film high school hallways when you can tape the wedding-sized parties of wealthy teens?

Total episodes: 61.

The 'Laguna' kids were dominating the catch-all thing, so MTV turned to this series, which followed an Alabama high school football team (and was a not-so-subtle real life 'Friday Night Lights').

Total episodes: 16.

Total episodes: 8.

Supposedly, producers were set to film another journalism staff at a Texas high school -- but they ended up zeroing in on Liz Lee, a sci-fi geek who couldn't relate to the pageant-ready girls in her class (you can tell she's disaffected from her crappy posture).

Total episodes: 21 and counting.

Meanwhile, the ultra-opposite of wayward rich kids -- hardscrabble teen parents -- were taking over the dial.

'Laguna' seemed like a distant memory when, in 2009, MTV launched the twin cultural lightning rods '16 and Pregnant' and 'Teen mum.'

Total episodes: 52 (for the combined franchise) and counting.

Like the grownup HBO show 'Hung,' 'Berger' had a somewhat obscene hook -- the title character is famously well-hung. But the comedy is really about another outsider looking in on the in-crowd.

Total episodes: 24 and counting.

The docuseries is meant to give kids at various high schools a window into the cliques they're not in.

Total episodes: 12 and counting.

And, thanks to low ratings and parental/advertiser uproar, it promptly tanked.

Total episodes: 10.

Yeah, they're trying so hard to hit the teen vernacular that after testing the title 'That Girl' (as in, 'You don't want to be that girl'), MTV went ahead and made the most overused word ever the show's name. 'Awkward' will follow a main character who's the subject of an unfounded suicide rumour. Here's the trailer.

Tags: Awkward., MTV Shows

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