Movie Reviews

High School: Every Main Character As Tegan And Sara Songs

Freevee‘s adaptation of Tegan and Sara’s memoir, High School is a “teenage dream” according to Entertainment Weekly, and a “heartfelt look at queer adolescence,” according to The Guardian. Throughout the series, the twins explore their individual identities, navigate new relationships, and discover their mutual interest in songwriting. Although the show caters to fans of the band, the authentic storylines and characters will resonate with anyone who has ever been a teenager.

Tegan and Sara are known for writing thoughtful lyrics and catchy melodies that create anthems for people who feel out of place, heartbroken, or misunderstood. In addition to Tegan and Sara Quin, the Freevee series also follows their parents, friends, and love interests as they experience a wide range of emotions that seamlessly connect to Tegan and Sara’s song lyrics.

Tegan and Sara’s mom, Simone, carefully balances parenting her twin daughters while getting her Master’s Degree in social work and moonlighting at a crisis helpline, which can weigh on her and her longstanding relationship with her boyfriend, Patrick. Although Simone “speaks only clearly, loudly” about her opposition to marriage, Patrick “said he was incomplete,” without the traditional commitment.

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Despite her inclination to drive away and leave her stressful life behind, the one thing that brings Simone back to reality is a call from her daughters. Even when Simone is emotionally drained from work, if her daughters need a ride home from a party, she’ll lean on her motherly obligation and say, “Yes I’ll come get you, and I will bring you home.”

Patrick is Tegan and Sara’s stepdad, and he has a great father-daughter relationship with them since he is more present than their father and provides support when their mom is at school or work. After things take a turn, his heartfelt apology to Sara gets his relationship with her “fixed up in no time,” even though his relationship with Simone still needs work.

An unexpected loss makes Patrick realize, “This love is all I have to give,” and he proposes to Simone. Even though Patrick knows Simone’s stance, he craves the traditional stability of marriage, and hopes for the best. But when their dynamic changes, he understands that, for Simone, “There’s not a lot for you to feel if you’re not feeling it.”

Sara falls madly in love with her best friend, Phoebe, who insists on keeping their relationship a secret. While Sara seems confident in her sexuality, she also wants to please Phoebe, but tells her, “I need to know the rules if you want me to play,” which includes passing notes and having sleepovers, like most teen girls in the 90s.

Although Sara appears happy with their arrangement, she starts to realize, “You treat me like your boyfriend. And trust me like a – like a very best friend.” Hiding their relationship from the world is challenging, but Sara goes along with it, until Phoebe caves to her homophobic mother’s demands and breaks up with her.

After spending months apart, Phoebe acts as though she only wants to be friends with Sara because it’s easier. Even though Phoebe can’t commit to a public relationship with Sara, she still wants to occupy Sara’s thoughts, which rings true in Tegan and Sara’s lyrics, “I just want back in your head.”

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Phoebe sincerely regrets how cold she was to Sara, which relates to the lines, “When I jerk away from holding hands with you, I know these habits hurt important parts of you.” She strives to find a better balance between secretly dating Sara and hanging out with her friends, but any suspicions Phoebe’s friends could have about her sexuality make her want to “run,” when she “gets a little scared.”

Silence speaks volumes in High School, and Ali says so much with her stare or a simple touch. Sara starts to develop a crush on Ali and envies everyone who gets to kiss her. Their feelings for each other are inferred by subtle body language, including when their knees touch on the bus ride home from a rave. All they want to get is “a little bit closer.”

They only get to “feel the rush before they touch” before something or someone gets in their way, but Ali and Sara have palpable on-screen chemistry. Although they don’t talk to each other often, small flattering comments go a long way, so “it’s not just all physical.”

Lily wears her Goth wardrobe like armor over her teenage insecurities. She gets embarrassed when her boyfriend, Evan, implies she isn’t a fan of Green Day. Lily’s lack of self-esteem could drive her to make pointed comments at Evan, such as, “Look me in the eye and tell me you don’t find me attractive. Look me in the heart and tell me you won’t go.”

High School features realistic teen characters, including Lily, who handles her breakup with Evan off-screen. After it happens, she wonders, “Where do you go, with your broken heart in tow?” It’s hard to understand, “Where does the good go?” after a relationship ends, but Lily channels her energy into her friendships and helps Tegan and Sara book their first gig.

Natalie showcases her enthusiastic energy as she argues for gender equality in drama class and gets a leading role in the school play (even though she improvises most of her lines). Natalie is always the life of the party, the center of attention, and usually the go-to person for psychedelic drugs.

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For Natalie, whether she’s stone-cold sober or flying high, “Everything is awesome when you’re living out a dream.” She is a steadfast friend who believes “side by side, you and I are gonna win forever,” and she would totally shout, “Let’s party forever!” at a rave or a Tegan and Sara concert.

After Phoebe introduces her friend Cass to Tegan, they instantly bond over their mutual love of Nirvana’s Nevermind and bicker over which Canadian shop makes the best donuts. Their sweet friendship grows over the last couple of episodes, while Maya is notably absent from Tegan’s life.

Cass happily accepts any invitation from Tegan for “hanging tonight,” and although she doesn’t appear to “sweat this,” she gets a little nervous when she decides to trust Tegan with a big secret. When Tegan implies that Maya doesn’t support her music, Cass shares wise words similar to the lyrics, “Hang on to yourself, no good will come from being untrue.”

Maya effortlessly defends Sara from the school bully, and they quickly bond over music and high school gossip. As layers of Maya’s home life are revealed, she thinks, “right now, I wish I was older,” since she is often overlooked by her parents. Maya tries multiple times to get Tegan’s attention by saying, “Hello, I’m right here,” but she’s unable to pull her away from secretly making music with Sara.

Without Tegan by her side, Maya starts “drinking with nothing to lose” and making questionable decisions to numb her pain. Maya clearly has romantic feelings for Tegan, and all she wants to say to her is, “you might not believe this, but you’ve changed me so much.” But when Maya spots Tegan hugging Cass at her gig, she once again feels unwanted.

Tegan goes from showing off her right hook to repeating the same hook throughout the series: “Hey, I’m just like you.” When she feels abandoned by her sister, Tegan seeks companionship at her new school and befriends Maya, who is also “a little messed up and new.”

Tegan and Maya “never feel invisible” when the other one is around, and they develop a fast friendship. Although Tegan believes, “I’m so happy that we’re friends, me and you,” Maya’s feelings grow deeper, and her intense stare shouts, “It’s you and me against the millions.” If the show gets renewed for Season 2, Tegan could end up with Maya or her new friend Cass, but either way, her “fate is on fire.”

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