Many popular TV shows explore the high school experience. By having full-grown adults pretend to be teenagers. In case you didn't know how old your favorite fictional teens really are, we put together a list of some of the oldest high schoolers to appear on TV: 

 

Freaks and Geeks

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Freaks & Geeks was also committed to realistically portraying adolescence -- the writers drew most storylines from their own high school experiences -- and they stuck to this by casting mostly teenage actors.

 

The O.C.

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They're happy because they just pulled off the greatest con: making you believe that Ben McKenzie was 16 years old and Adam Brody was an uncool geek. Also, Ben McKenzie and Mischa Barton played lovebirds despite their 8 year age difference and despite the fact that Mischa Barton was under 18. But if you think that's weird...

 

My So-Called Life

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No wonder Angela thought that Jordan was so good at leaning on things. In reality, he was 8 years older than she was. He had put in a lot more years practicing that lean.

 

Veronica Mars

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The reason Veronica Mars seemed sharper than the average high schooler is because Kristen Bell was well into her twenties when she played the teen sleuth.

 

Glee

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These are the ages of the cast when Glee started. The age disparity between actors and characters only grew as the seasons passed. By the time his character graduated, Mark Salling was 30 years old.

 

Teen Wolf

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Werewolves are supposed to be metaphors for how weird and supernatural puberty can feel, right? So maybe the werewolves on Teen Wolf are metaphors for the crazy transformation the actors undergo to play naive teenagers.

 

Buffy the Vampire Slayer

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When you realize that Sarah Michelle Gellar is 20 years old, not 16 years old, her relationship with Angel, a 200 year old vampire, becomes slightly less creepy. But then you remember that in the "Nightmares" episode, Nicholas Brendon, a 26 year old man, imagined himself naked in a high school classroom, and everything is creepy again.

 

Video Game High School

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None of the leading actors on this show are within 8 years of their characters' age. This show is about gaming so, honestly, it makes sense that the main characters are twenty year olds playing teens; gamers pretend to be things they aren't all the time, like a little boy or an astronaut earthworm.

 

90210

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Trevor Donovan was 31 years old when she started playing sophomore Teddy Montgomery. That's more than twice the age of the average sophomore in the United States! It isn't right that he was the mainstream representation of a fifteen year old human male since he had more body hair than all the 15 year old boys on Earth combined.