It doesn't matter if it's Moby Dick, The Scarlet Letter, or even The Da Vinci Code. Whatever is being discussed in a teen drama English class will be exactly related to whatever the main characters are going through that week. Hmm...wonder why network tv high school classes are never discussing A Raisin in the Sun or Uncle Tom's Cabin? Oh well, a question for another day.
Real life: You're assigned reading is The Crucible, you think "wow, wouldn't it be dope to be a witch?" Then the bell rings, you leave your book in the classroom, and forget all about it until next week. Meanwhile, you struggle with whether or not to buy regular cheetos or cheeto puffs from the snack shop.
Who uses flyers? Better question, who actually reads flyers? It's common knowledge that flyering is the sole reason for recycling. Yet in teen drama world, people find out about everything through a damn flyer. The scene always starts out with someone walking up to someone else's locker and saying "Have you seen this?" while shoving the flyer in their face. The other character says, "What the winter carnival? You're not seriously thinking of going, are you?"
Real life: "Allison just texted me, the winter carnival is this weekend."
Back to this ridiculous English class where they've chosen to have high schoolers read their own works of poetry in front of other scumbag teenagers. This trope is a quick and dirty way to show the characters being vulnerable while releasing their true feelings in a public place and it would absolutely never happen. No English teacher is so out of touch to make teenagers do that. Most adults would never do that, unless it's Def Poetry Jam night in 2003 at Coffee Shop Cool Place Cafe.
Real life: The English teacher asks you to read an essay you wrote about the themes in Pride and Prejudice. You stand, never look up from your paper, jangle your thousand bracelets against each other, and sit down immediately as you finish the last sentence.
Yes she's popular, but that's not all! She's actually really into books and music and stuff and you would know that if you were a dorky boy she started unexpectedly dating. Did we mention her home life is kind of complicated and messed up? Let's give popular and beautiful people the benefit of the doubt by looking deeper than their appearance. But don't get it twisted, nerds are still nerds! Unless they're hot, and then they're "nerdy" dudes who date the cool girl.
Real life: Popular Girl calls herself "sensitive" because she has an older brother who makes fun of her grades. She loves Katy Perry, watching dudes play soccer, and UGG boots.
Every tortured teen drama character has some sort of "secret place" they go to when the world just gets to be too much! That secret place is also where they take someone as a sign that they are opening up to them. Conveniently, they also recite a monologue about why that place is so special to them, usually their dead loved one once picked a flower for them in that meadow or cooked the best burger they ever had on a big rock there or something.
Real life:You accidentally tell the person you're into about your parents' messy divorce at a Burger King when they ask "why are you crying on your chicken fries?"
"Wait a minute... you like The Beatles? No way! I thought no one had ever heard of them. I've got everything they own on vinyl." Who are these cool kids who collect vinyl in high school? Do all relationships start with people seeing a sticker in somebody's locker and knowing that they wanna bang? When will they stopped being shocked that other people listen to music?
Real life: "You like the Beatles? Cool. You're still the girl who cut her hair with safety scissors and ate it in 4th grade so...see ya later!"
Teen dramas use this trope to make the characters think about the future and the kind of person they want to be when they are older. Well, this just in from the past: it's stupid! No real high school has buried a time capsule since the 1950s, because none of that stuff matters anymore! Everything is online now, including all of your livejournals. ALL OF THEM.
Real life: The unofficial online 'time capsule' Tumblr account for the class of 2015 gets hacked by Braden Young, resident coder and class clown.
Teenage characters are the only kind of people who get into fights while riding in cars and then insist that they'll just walk home. They always happen to live in the kind of town where that's completely safe and also possible? The pinnacle of these scenes is when the driver decides to take off without them and the wayward traveler yells something angry at the car as it drives away. It's the equivalent of people yelling at their tv screen. They can't and will never hear you.
Real life: You're in a fight in a car and to avoid more conflict you sit quietly looking out the window, or check Snapchat on your phone, or put on your headphones, or think about if you want a penpal from another country this summer, or try to make your toes snap just like your fingers do, or you do anything until you arrive at your destination before you get out in the middle of the road!