Congratulations, Class of 2012
It’s that time of the year. You know the one…fresh-faced eighteen-year-olds throw off the shackles of their high school prisons and greet the “real world” — or most of them greet the crazy-college-world-that-is-nothing-like-real-world — with excitement. Their heads are filled with cliches and platitudes about taking risks, finding themselves, and how their purpose is their rudder in life. Their hands clutch their yearbooks and their hearts cling to high school friends and relationships. They are sure of themselves or completely confused, or more likely a combination of both.
Yes, it’s high school graduation time.
Television has given us many high school graduation episodes. Usually, it’s the end of one part of the series and the beginning of another (usually less successful) portion where the beloved characters are yanked from the familiar hallways and thrust into campuses full of new faces and adventures. These episodes tend to be bittersweet, as real high school graduations are. The graduates — and the audience — are happy and excited about this momentous occasion, but sad to see the familiar and comforting slipping away. This week, let’s talk a little about some of these graduation episodes.
Where to start? That’s easy. Only one show has given us a high school graduation episode that remains true to the series, shows off how far our characters have come, keeps with the theme of endings and beginnings, and shows how irreversible the moment of graduation can be.
I’m talking, of course, about Buffy the Vampire Slayer. In the Season 3 two-part finale, Joss Whedon and his team gave the audience a Big Bad to fight (possibly the best in the entire series run), a way for the whole team to gear up and contribute meaningfully, the poignancy that comes with any graduation, a giant snake, and every high schooler’s secret fantasy: blowing up the school.
Yes, that’s right. Buffy and crew blew up Sunnydale High during graduation.
I don’t think there’s any clearer way to deliver the message “you can never go back to high school.”
Of course, then Buffy went back to high school as a counselor in Season 7, but that’s another subject altogether.
What are some other graduation episodes that struck a cord with you as a viewer?