Date of Completion


Thesis Type

College of Arts and Science Honors


Film and Television

First Advisor

Sarah Nilsen


coming-of-age, sitcom, young adult, homeschool, John Hughes, reality television, Mean Girls


Through three episodes of a sitcom titled, “Character Building”, Hannah Varin, a homeschooled preteen, and her sisters, face the reality that growing up isn’t always like the movies. This creative thesis explores different tropes present within the genre of coming-of-age in film and television over the years and how they contrast the actual experience of coming-of-age. Each episode focuses on a specific era of the coming-of-age genre (John Hughes and the 80s, early 2000s romantic comedy, and mid to early 2010s reality television). Being homeschoolers, and thus outsiders of the societal norm for coming-of-age, the girls take control of their narrative in shaping what coming-of-age means for them.

The accompanying packet extrapolates creative choices made in the scriptwriting process while providing additional context for the conversation of how the genre of coming-of-age is discussed in the academic world.

The recorded table read showcases scenes from the sitcom that best highlight the overall message of the thesis more tangibly.