TV's Completely Implausible High School Heartthrobs

Jordan Catalano, My So Called Life

I’ll accept that somewhere on earth, there’s a dyslexic, song writing (curious dynamic, there) Calvin Klein model who still shows up for school even though ~13 years passed before anyone noticed he couldn’t read; I’ll even accept that we live in a world where a self-aware and introspective young girl has mostly superficial but all-consuming feelings for a man who speaks few words and reads even fewer. These circumstances are unlikely to me, but I’ll accept them. The most perplexing thing about Jordan Catalano is that, over the course of two seasons, you never see him even speaking to another girl who doesn’t have something to do with Angela. You don’t hear girls gushing over him in the bathroom. His friends allude to him being a ladies’ man — so where are the ladies? Oh, only Angela happened to notice the brooding Adonis leaning on the same locker every day? Angela was the only one perceptive enough to see that piece of ass and think, “Do me [when I’m ready to lose my virginity, whenever that is]”? The hottest guy in high school, the deep-as-a-belly-button ‘ladies’ man’ only got laid one time during the show’s run. By Angela’s best friend. OH, OKAY.

Shawn Hunter, Boy Meets World

On what planet do orphaned kids move in with their teachers? Where how and why is that okay/ legal? To refresh your memory, Shawn’s mother bails on the family and his dad Chet (LOL) chases after her, leaving Shawn to fend for himself because the heart wants what it wants or whatever. Shawn moves in with his best friend Cory, but ultimately decides that a warm, caring family with whom he grew up isn’t the right fit. The better fit is to live with his English teacher, the too-sexy-to-be-a-father-figure Mr. Turner. Pretty sure that a shared leather collection isn’t enough to keep Child Protective Services at bay, but rock on.

Chuck Bass, Gossip Girl

I’m not clear on what any of the Gossip Girl kids did at school other than like, wear bows and sleep with each other’s boyfriends, but I do know Chuck’s extracurricular activities included sleeping with hotel maids, going on benders, and purchasing a burlesque club where he taunted his best friend’s ex-girlfriend until she performed a striptease which culminated in backseat-town-car sex. You know, just typical teenager sh-t.

Zack Morris, Saved by the Bell

Zack Morris’ greatest feat wasn’t bugging Jessie’s bedroom or convincing Screech to dress up like a woman multiple times. No, his best scam unfolded over time and was seemingly unintentional — he managed to kiss three (five, if you count Tory and Stacy Carosi, which no one does) friends and NO ONE CARED. I mean, Screech cared when Zack kissed Lisa, and Slater cared when he kissed Jessie, but the girls were all like, “Oh, you too? So cute! You guys should go for it!” (Actually, Kelly might’ve been a little peeved re: Jessie but I’m not sure she has much leverage since she let Slater and Zack double dip for like, two seasons). Also, owning a cell phone in 1988? Who are you calling with that thing, Knight Rider? GTFO.

Ryan Atwood, The OC

Ryan Atwood takes orphan-chic to new levels when a trip to jail lands him a sweet pad, a new wardrobe, and a girlfriend who seemingly has unlimited access to painkillers (not that he would take them — pills are for sad rich people). His lawyer basically pulled the “Ain’t he cute? Can we keep him?” on his moneyed wife until she agreed that Ryan could stay for a while (like, five years or something). Because kids from broken families are exactly like puppies in that if you find one on the street, you can basically just pick it up and bring it home with you, no questions asked. Bonus points if it’s adorable!

Dylan McKay, 90210

Oh, come on. TC mark

image – My So Called Life


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  • Mfrances

    My mom is a high school teacher and she has had legal permission to keep students who were either taken from their homes by CPS or going to be put in foster or moved to a new foster family. It was always sort of a long-ish process but if the child is estranged from their family their case worker can sign off as long as said teacher passes background checks and home checks. Most only lived with us for a few months until they found a more permanent home that wouldn’t require them to change schools. Just saying. 

    Also, funny read. You forgot ALL the guys in One Tree Hill. Vom.

    • Lala

      were they ever hot? that scenario sounds like it would offer sexy possibilities

  • random


  • thegreendoor

    This was really great but can someone please spellcheck these articles? Pretty sure there’s a few commas missing in this thing.

  • Sparsons252

    this is amazing

  • Jennifer Renee Beatley

    I’ll never stop loving Jordan Catalano and those beautiful blue eyes

    • kelli nastasi

      I’m pretty much living out my childhood fantasy right now by dating a French guy who looks eerily similar to him. Win win win. 

  • Guest

    Dylan McKay of “Beverly Hills, 90210”, you mean?

  • Ashlee

    Brandon was OBVIOUSLY the hotter 90210 guy.  I used to have the Brandon and Dylan 90210 dolls. True story.

  • Tanya Salyers

    love love love all of this.

  • The CXO

    From a guy’s angle – Topanga from Boy Meets World. She was so cute. 

    And then she got fat and dated Lance Bass (who got gay).


  • Lady

    I must defend two of these scenarios, that being Boy Meets World and the OC.  Because, I, myself was (in a legal sense) abandoned by my mother who was an alcoholic.  When I lived with my mother, we were as poor as poor could be.  But when she went to texas when I was 16 to live with her sister and I stayed where I was, I was essentially going back and forth between living with a couple of well-to-do doctors in the richest part of town, and ALSO a high school teacher, who, impossibly enough, ALSO lived in the richest part of town.

    And I am totally adorable:)  

    In the case of Shawn Hunter and Ryan Atwood, you are dealing with people born into out of the ordinary circumstances, which means that their lives are riddled with out of the ordinary circumstances.  Far stranger things have and do happen.  

  • Guest

    My So-Called Life is pretty widely known for only having 1 season, which ended with a huge cliff hanger. 

  • Banana Hammock

    I always loved how the Saved By the Bell kids were on every team, in every club, formed the student government and won every honor and award in school…but for some reason let the village idiot hang out with them…

  • Meera Shah

    AHHH dylan mckay <3 i started watching bh 90210 last year and he was/is such a hottie

  • Bethanie Marshall

    Ryan Atwood… Only reason I watched silly teen dramas post age 13.

  • Jaime

    Honestly, in real life I wouldn’t be interested in these dudes… but on TV?  Frak yes.  Can I just tell you how much I freaking love Chuck Bass?  And Jordan Catalano?   I was more of a Brandon Walsh girl in the early years of 90210 myself, and I definitely liked Cory over Shawn in Boy Meets World when I was a pre-teen.  But you know what?  On TV these guys just work.  In real life, not so much.


    “Also, owning a cell phone in 1988? Who are you calling with that thing, Knight Rider? GTFO.”  AHAHAHAHA EXACTLY.

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