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TV graduations: 7 shows at the top of the class

With graduation season upon us, it’s once again time to be reminded of how we first experienced the pomp and circumstance of it all: through our television screens. Watching our favorite characters don caps and gowns, give inspirational speeches (because, valedictorian, naturally), and accept their diplomas was as monumental to us as it was to them.

Over the years, we’ve witnessed countless graduations and shed more than a few real tears for our favorite fictional grads. (I know it’s not just me.) With the help of fellow contributors to the EW Community, here’s a list of the graduation episodes that we feel should have a spot on the Dean’s List. We know there are many other worthy contenders, so make sure to let us know which shows get your top grades in the comments below!

Gilmore Girls
Over the course of its seven seasons we witnessed not one, not two, but three graduations. While Lorelai’s graduation from business school was definitely a reason to celebrate (even though Rory questionably chose that very day to ditch school and catch the always reliable public transportation to NYC, which, shockingly, prevented her from witnessing the moment), it’s Rory’s graduations that are the milestones of the series.

As the Valedictorian of Chilton (sorry, Paris), Rory chooses to forego the typical motivational speech for her graduating class and instead makes it all about her and Lorelai (typical). Regardless, her tribute to “the dazzling woman from whom I received my name and my life’s blood” is everything GG fans love about this show, and this duo. Not crying … not crying …

Rory’s series’ end Yale graduation is equally moving, as it caps off seven years of watching her grow from an awkward teenager to a … well … slightly less awkward adult. The Yale graduation marks not only Rory’s achievements, but is, once again, a reminder of the woman who has been a large part of her success. Still not crying. Michelle Newman

rory grad yale

Beverly Hills, 90210
The high school graduation of the Beverly Hills, 90210 gang is most remembered for the events that took place leading up to it: Donna is expelled for drinking at prom and the entire senior class chants “Donna Martin graduates” outside a school board meeting until the decision is reversed. Donna joins her friends for an epic graduation episode chock full of fun flashbacks to memorable moments of the show’s first three seasons. —Tamar Barbash

90210 graduation

There were a couple of graduations on Greek, but season 4’s ceremony is the one that will always stick with me. Casey graduates along with the most of the other bigs at Cyprus-Rhodes University, and we are all left wondering how Rusty will deal without his big sis. I saw this show when I was still a high school student myself, and it prepared me for what college life would be like … or so I thought. Their graduation reminded me that it was almost my turn to start the college journey that I had just seen them finish. —Morissa Schwartz

Saved By The Bell
Kelly Kapowski wasn’t the only one who needed a tissue at commencement; graduation day for the Bayside class of 1993 also served as the series finale. There was, of course, minor drama leading up to the ceremony. Zack was one credit shy of earning his ticket to freedom and had to dance in a ballet recital to make up for it, and Jessie and Screech went back and forth over rights to the valedictorian title and speech (which Zack ended up giving anyway.)

sbbell grad

Mr. Belding admits how much he cared about this particular group of Tigers, and he and Zack hug it out during the diploma hand-off. No senior class has ever said good-bye with a better song than “Farewell to Bayside” (an original composition, no less!). And for the parting shot, the gang tosses caps in the air to the wailing guitar of the series’ theme. —Wendy Hathaway

Boy Meets World
The graduation episode of Boy Meets World is memorable for a lot of reasons. Eric serenades Mr. Feeny in the middle of the ceremony, and Topanga — after working her whole life to beat Minkus for valedictorian — gives up her speaking time to Shawn, who announces “I could have done better.” But the moment that really stands out is Topanga proposing to Cory in the middle of the ceremony — choosing him over Yale — and the rest of us waiting all summer to find out his answer. —Samantha Swank

With her caustic observations and “Help, I’m surrounded by idiots” attitude, Daria Morgendorffer was the voice of sanity for 90s grrrls — and regular girls, too. In “Is It College Yet,” the hour-long Daria finale, we find our favorite Lawndale High Schoolers grappling with their post-graduation plans, complete with some of the race, class, and privilege issues that dog those decisions in the real world: Where should I apply to college? How can I maintain my current relationships when everyone moves away? What if I don’t get a scholarship? Should I pick a school to please my parents? And what’s the point of college, anyway? (All of that while working in a noblesse oblige joke and allowing Quinn to ask, “What do I look like, a hoodoo expert?”) The episode ends with Daria winning the Dian Fossey Award for Dazzling Academic Achievement in the Face of Near Total Misanthropy, allowing her to give a speech that’s much like the show itself: sharp, direct, and full of truth. —Sara Netzley

Buffy The Vampire Slayer
Most seniors are stressed about exams, but for the graduating class on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, it’s all about making it past graduation alive.  For “Graduation Day (Part 2),” the Sunnydale High students — and our beloved Scooby Gang — band together to stop the mayor (who just so happens to be transforming into a GIANT DEMON SNAKE!) from killing everyone. This moment sums up, in a weird way, high school: No matter what clique you were in or classes you took, you all stood together as a family every day for four years. These classmates joined together in their time of need to save everyone in one of the most action-packed (and explosive!) graduation scenes. —Justin Carreiro


TV Families | EW.com
Mark Harris
February 23, 1990 AT 05:00 AM EST

The Bradys are back, with a passel of 90’s hassles. Do they represent the typical American Family? Did they ever? Who does? Stare and compare!

Kind Of Family
TheBradyBunch 1969-74: Blended
The Bradys 1990-: Enormous
Married…With Children 1987-: Postnuclear
Thirtysomething 1987-: Extended
The Flintstones 1960-66: Modern Stone Age

Family Pet
The Brady Bunch: Tiger
The Bradys: Alice
Married…With Children: Buck
Thirtysomething: Grendel
The Flintstones: Dino

Typical Guest Star
The Brady Bunch: Davey Jones
The Bradys: There’s no room
Married…With Children: Sam Kinison
Thirtysomething: Carly Simon
The Flintstones: Ann Margrock

Expression Of Joy
The Brady Bunch: Groovy!
The Bradys: Ritual hugging
Married…With Children: ”Oh, great.”
Thirtysomething: ”Of course I’m happy for you. Really. But what about me? Why does it always have to be about you?
The Flintstones: ”Yabba-dabba doo

Expression Of Rage

The Brady Bunch: ”Hmmm…”
The Bradys: ”If you back away from something you really want, then you’re a quitter!” (the angriest any Brady has ever been)
Married…With Children: ”Aaagh, God, take me from this miserable life!”
Thirtysomething: ”I’m not angry, OK?”
The Flintstones: ”Willllmaaaa!”

Typical Problem
The Brady Bunch: Marcia and her rival both want to be the prom queen.
The Bradys: Bobby gets paralyzed.
Married…With Children: Al doesn’t buy his family Christmas presents.
Thirtysomething: Nancy gets cancer.
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney are staying out too late.

Typical Solution
The Brady Bunch: The prom committee decides to have two queens.
The Bradys: Bobby gets married.
Married…With Children: They hate him.
Thirtysomething: If only we knew…
The Flintstones: Wilma and Betty decide to follow them.

House Style
The Brady Bunch: Conservative but mod, circa ’69
The Bradys: Conservative but mod, circa ’90
Married…With Children: Roach motel
Thirtysomething: Enviable
The Flintstones: Suburban cave

Clothing Style
The Brady Bunch: Early Osmonds
The Bradys: Made in the USA
Married…With Children: Flammable fabrics
Thirtysomething: Eclectic earth tones; nice ties
The Flintstones: One-piece

Most Annoying Character
The Brady Bunch: Alice’s cousin Emma, the substitute housekeeper (too strict)
The Bradys: Marcia’s husband, Wally (chronically unemployable)
Married…With Children: Steve (supercilious)
Thirtysomething: Ellyn (goes through Hope’s drawers, babbles, changes hairstyle every other week, generally mistreats her friends)
The Flintstones: Mr. Slate (bossy)

Attitude Toward Sex
The Brady Bunch: Never heard of it
The Bradys: Omigod — even Cindy does it!
Married…With Children: Peg: Yes. Al: No.
Thirtysomething: They didn’t get all those kids by accident.
The Flintstones: Prehistoric

How Spouses Fight
The Brady Bunch: They don’t.
The Bradys: Infrequently, but it happens
Married…With Children: Tooth and nail
Thirtysomething: They stop talking
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney go bowling while Wilma and Betty max out their charge cards.

How Kids Get Into Trouble
The Brady Bunch: Greg takes a puff of a cigarette.
The Bradys: Carol’s grandson steals her business cards and sticks them in the spokes of Bobby’s wheelchair.
Married…With Children: By committing felonies
Thirtysomething: Ethan plays with a forbidden toy rocket.
The Flintstones: They don’t.

How They’re Punished

The Brady Bunch: ”It’s not what you did, honey — it’s that you couldn’t come to us.”
The Bradys ”Next time, ask.”
Married…With Children: By the authorities
Thirtysomething: It blows up in his face.
The Flintstones: They’re not.

What Family Does For Fun
The Brady Bunch: Takes special three-part vacations to Hawaii and the Grand Canyon
The Bradys: Has flashbacks
Married…With Children: Exchanges insults
Thirtysomething: Talks
The Flintstones: Attends showings of The Monster at the Bedrock Drive-In

Unsolved Mysteries
The Brady Bunch: How exactly did Carol’s first husband and Mike’s first wife die?
The Bradys: What’s with Marcia’s new face and Bobby’s blonde hair
Married…With Children: What kind of hair spray does Peg use?
Thirtysomething: Why did Nancy take Elliot back? What do Gary and Susanna see in each other?
The Flintstones: How does Barney’s shirt stay on if he has no shoulders? Where do Fred and Wilma plug in their TV?

Worst Behavior
The Brady Bunch: The Brady children once made Alice feel under-appreciated.

The Bradys: Marcia’s son Mickey watches Bobby’s car-crash tape for fun.
Married…With Children: The Bundy’s kill their neighbor’s dog.
Thirtysomething: Elliot has an affair and talks about it.
The Flintstones: Characters don’t wear under-clothes.

Best Reason To Watch
The Brady Bunch: This is what life should be.
The Bradys: They’re all grown-ups now!
Married…With Children: Terry Rakolta hates it.
Thirtysomething (Tie) This is your life. This isn’t your life.
The Flintstones: This is what life might have been.

Best Reason Not To Watch
The Brady Bunch: Blurred vision from rerun overdoses.
The Bradys: You’re all grown-ups now.
Married…With Children: She has a point.
Thirtysomething: After a while, you think it’s real.
The Flintstones: The Simpsons

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