So apparently they’ve picked good ol OPRFHS for the new reality show High School Reunion.

This is totally fucked up. OPRF is about the weirdest HS you could choose for this. As one of the talkbackers at the AICN article here pointed out — damn school is huge. It had something like 3600 people when I went there (’84-’87) and has about 3000 now. You cannot have class labels in a school that large. Class labels and social niches only work if the class acknowledges them. At OPRF everyone traveled in little groups of like 100 people tops and no one knew anyone else or at least they didn’t seem to. The producers must have picked these niche-named contestants from just one of the many, many social groups at the school.

Here are some of the people they picked:

The Nerd
I was a huge nerd in HS, sure. But so were like about 100 other people. Those many, many AP classes had to be populated by _someone_. All nerds, let me tell you. I’m betting this guy was only a relative nerd, not really a member of the nerd social circle.

Second problem with the nerd — he’s a guy. One of the weird things about OPRF was that the nerd social circle was heavily female. Our valedictorians? Girls. DnD games? Run by girls. The sponsor of the Sci Fi club was a woman and a large number of its officers were girls. The best math and science minds were girls. Nerd boys in some ways were pretty irrelevant (though often very entertaining).

The Bully
Bullies can do their work really well in small circles. If all you have to do is move out of their tiny, tiny sphere of influence, their power is pretty much void. It’s too easy for them to become a target themselves. Attempts I saw by bullies to reengage in Jr. High antics were met by cold stares and were quickly stifled. So I’m not sure what this guy actually was supposed to have done in HS.

The Popular Girl
She was popular? Who cares? Being the popular girl suggests that nearly everyone likes you or at least knows who you are. I’m betting several hundred of her classmates didn’t have clue.

The Homecoming Queen
Again, who are you? I like her name, though: Pingle. It’s got a neat sound.

The Loner
The loners I knew generally had huge posses. Whatever.

The Gossip
All I can say is this must have been one busy person.

The Class Clown
There were probably like 20-30 class clowns in any given year.

The Shy Girl
You and about 300 of your fellow coeds. Please.

The Pipsqueek
It’s like the Shy Girl. You and the entire class, buddy.

The Tall Girl
Again, which one? I don’t think any of the girls were 6′ 6″ so we didn’t exactly have someone we could call THE Tall Girl. One of my friends was a Tall Girl — one of the valedictorians and general thorn in the administration’s side….

Also, what a strange moniker, The Tall Girl. It’s not like there weren’t tall guys.

This is like half of the players. There is also the Jock (again who?), The Player (they wish), the Misfit (happens but rare), The Chubby Cheerleader (weighed, what, 110 pounds?), The Bitchy Girl (OPRF had way more than its share, see “drama” below), the Flirt (plenty of targets to chose from), and the Artist (along with all of the other artists — the school had AP Art, for crissakes!).

I’m kinda terrified that someone will watch this on TV and think they are seeing a good representation of OPRF. No. For one thing, these people are way prettier than most of the folks at that school (where is the horrendous acne?).

Second, the school, despite being in two of the more affluent suburbs of Chicago, actually has a good socio-economic mix (I had friends whose parents were very wealthy, others who were working class, and saw many many examples of the midwest middle class lifestyle in other families). I’d bet this mix will not be clear from the show. At least they aren’t all white, I guess.

Worse still, one of the most important social groups at OPRF seems to be unrepresented. Where are the drama people? The actors, props crew, and set people cut across social circles at OPRF. The musicals were really popular and nearly everyone had an opinion about who they liked and didn’t like. If OPRF could be said to have a center, it would have to include those people — we even produce a real actor from time to time. How odd the drama group was completely left out of the show (or at least it’s not obvious from what I’ve seen that they are involved).

The Diva was an important social niche at OPRF.

Also missing:

The Unicorn (don’t ask)

The Renaissance Faire Groupie (there were many, many of these!)

The Marxist (there’s always one)

The Computer Hacker (we had these even in the days of the PDP 1144)

Finally, it should be noted that unlike every other HS in middle America, OPRF has no parking lot. This entire show involves a group of HS students who probably didn’t have or drive cars. Very odd, I think.

So why did they pick this school again? They should have picked Lincoln High in Chicago, or something like that. Or something in Galena.