Pop Culture

TV’s Greatest Graduations

I work at a university in the communications department, which means this week I will be spending several hours covering different graduation ceremonies. This is the first year the school is holding commencement exercises in April – which is super, super early – but it’s exciting for the seniors, who are ready to get out into the real world. 

All this talk about graduation has of course led me to start thinking about my favorite ceremonies on television. Some shows, like Beverly Hills, 90210, were on the air for so long that you saw multiple graduations (and pranks, like when the high school kids changed the Hollywood sign to read “W Bev Hi 93,” and then later in college when Steve arranged for confetti to explode during the ceremony). For TGIF fans, an immortal graduation scene came courtesy of Cory and Topanga on Boy Meets World, when Topanga asked her curly-haired beloved to marry her at the end of the ceremony. I wonder if they’ll share this story with their daughter in the new spin-off, Girl Meets World.

While those examples are still crystal clear to me, there are a ton of graduations that I barely remember. Saved by the Bell, for example, was a show I watched every week. However, all I can recall is Kelly crying while getting her diploma. I used to tune into Dawson’s Creek and The O.C., both sudsy classics that included graduation scenes in which I remember nada. It looks like I will be spending the night on YouTube, expanding my knowledge of fictional high school graduations from the 1990s.

Do you have a graduation episode that you remember fondly? Or maybe one that seemed so far removed from real life you can’t forget it? Share in the comments!

By Catherine

Catherine is a Southern California based freelance writer, whose work has appeared in everything from the New York Times to Entertainment Weekly. The highlight of her life (so far) was being featured on MSNBC for a story she wrote on Hello Kitty wines...she knew one day her love of all things HK would come in handy.

11 replies on “TV’s Greatest Graduations”

Saved By The Bell is a weird one because there were two graduations. They had the graduation with the original crew and then had that extra season where Kelly and Jesse had left and Tori was there and there was another graduation with her. What the heck was up with that season anyway?

I’ve always loved the two-part graduation episode from Buffy the Vampire Slayer (season 3), which aired the summer before I entered high school. Aside from being a great episode to cap off a really fantastic season (IMHO, the best and most consistent writing of any BtVS season), it also had the line “Fire bad. Tree pretty.”, which I still use to describe when my brain isn’t working right.

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