children's writer

School Days - Favorite Teen Underdogs

Dec 15, 2015
( This is from the archives. I first published this post in August 2013.) I've always had a soft spot for underdogs. Whether they're dodging school bullies, walking around with their skirt tucked into their underwear, or just trying to blend into the crowd - they're just so dang-on relatable. As a salute to my high school years, when I was a bit of an underdog myself, these are my top five favorite teens everyone just loves to hate. I can't help but love them.

5. Jerry Mitchell

Three O'Clock High is a classic teen flick. And in my opinion the holy grail of teen movies. The protagonist, Jerry Mitchell, is a not so popular guy who unluckily gets paired up with the not so nice new guy Buddy Revell. Buddy is the classic leather jacket wearing, scowling bad boy who also happens to be a touch freak. What happens after Jerry gives him a friendly slap on the arm is both hilarious and ridiculous.
Buddy Revell: You and me, we're gonna have a fight. Today. After school. Three o'clock. In the parking lot. You try and run, I'm gonna track you down. You go to a teacher, it's only gonna get worse. You sneak home, I'm gonna be under your bed.
Poor Jerry! I guess what I really love about Jerry is that in the beginning he makes a lot of classic mistakes. The same mistakes I would have also made having been in his situation, like cowering in the corner instead of standing up to Buddy. For that I think Jerry is the kind of guy anyone who's ever been bullied can relate to.

4. Tina Belcher

I'm definitely new to the genius of Bob's Burgers. But since discovering it on Hulu, I'm glad to say it has replaced Family Guy as my top favorite adult cartoon. Tina Belcher is my second favorite character on the show after her younger sister Louise. She loves unicorns, writing erotica, and a boy band called Boyz 4 Now. She has stage fright, she's gullible, and of course has a crush on one the most popular guys in school. In a lot of ways, Tina reminds me of my thirteen-year-old self - minus the erotica bit.

One thing that I admire about her is that despite her awkwardness she always seems to get the guy. She's kissed more guys than I did in junior high. Even with her skirt tucked into her underwear, she's pretty cool.

3. Samwell Tarly

I couldn't finish up this list without mentioning at least one character from Game of Thrones. I think Sam won me over with his lack of ninja skills during his Night's Watch training. And then when he admitted he was also afraid of heights I thought he couldn't be any more perfect.

His story is pretty heartbreaking and I guess it's why he and Jon get along so well. They're both underdogs. I love Sam's love for reading, Gilly, and his loyalty to Jon - who is so far is only friend at The Wall. Sam is a nice guy who unfortunately lives in a world where being nice gets you killed. Don't worry, Sam. We're all rooting for you.

2. Tate Langdon

Who's the worlds most lovable psychopath? If you're thinking Tate Langdon from American Horror Story season one then you're right. I could go down the list of horrible things Tate has done - one of them being setting his mother's boyfriend on fire - yet still after all of that I can't help but like him.

He didn't have an easy childhood. He was pretty much neglected by his mother and to fill that void befriended the ghost of a woman who'd lost her baby. In retrospect, Tate shouldn't be attractive at all to anyone. He's toxic. He is the darkness. Though one thing we can't argue with is his love for the teenage girl who's family moved into the house he's haunting.

Tate always puzzled me. How can someone be so evil and have any room left for love? I guess he's just one of those guys you'd hate to fall in love with.

1. Simon Bellamy

I've bet you've heard of that cool UK show called Misfits. If you haven't, let me at least introduce you to the best underdog in the history of underdogs - who also happens to be a superhero - Simon Bellamy. Oh, Simon! They just don't know what they're missing.

Remember that kid no one wanted to sit with at lunch? The kid who had cooties or the cheese touch? Well Simon is that kid. He's soft-spoken, likes going on the internet, and making videos. He's a pretty friendly guy, yet everyone gives him crap. Simon is me in elementary school, middle school, high school, and dare I say even now. He's pretty misunderstood. All he wants is to be loved.

I guess the fact that he can turn invincible whenever he chooses makes up for all of that, and he also happens to be a pretty wicked dancer in my opinion. His best asset, a part from those big doleful eyes and his keen fashion sense, is that if you do give him a chance he'll be a very loyal companion. 

I'm not sure how old Simon is, but he's a great way to end the list.

Who's your favorite teen underdog?
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