Pranking the Audience: A Review of Dash Shaw's "My Entire High School Sinking Into the Sea"

Updated on November 7, 2019

"My Entire High School Sinking Into the Sea" is a comic, surreal venture into the mind of Dash, a high school journalist with limitless stories and zero readers. A misfit at school, Dash has been ostracized from his peers for his ovebearing personality and exaggerated articles. There seems to be no hope of acceptance for Dash until, while snooping through the school's archives, he discovers a secret that could make him a hero.

Tides High has reached a breaking point. While warring social groups erode the school's psychological foundation, its rotting floors and infrascture threaten literal collapse. Yep, this place has some serious building code violations; one small tremor could send it sliding straight into the sea. Dash tries to warn his peers about the danger, and what follows is a harrowing, epic tale of death, love, and sacrifice!

At least, that is what Dash wants us to believe.

This film is a classic exercise in unreliable storytelling. Shaw's zany, 75-minute rollercoaster hurls viewers from one oddity to the next. There are sharks, fires, post-apocalyptic gangs, and superhuman lunch ladies. Each encounter is more absurd than the last, and Shaw's crude, playful art style makes us believe that, in his world, all we see is true. This is an animated film, after all. Anything is possible!

The genius of this film lies in its ability to deceive. Beneath Shaw's sophmoric humor and criticism of teenage hierarchies, a subtler joke is being told. Dash escapes his watery hell but, strangely, comes under fire for exaggeration when he publishes a story on the event. Dash and his friends have survived an ordeal that defies reality: a crisis with multiple survivors and televised news coverage. How could Dash find words to inflate such a bizarre story? How could anyone deny the authenticity his experience?

Unless, of course, he made the whole thing up.

In a word, "My Entire High School Sinking Into the Sea" is a fiction within a fiction: a fantasy told twice to both us, Shaw's audience, and to the film's characters. Is it any coincidence that both the director and protagonist are named Dash? Mr. Shaw is a true pransker, duping viewers by playing on our presumption that the events in an animated film, while separate from our own reality, must at least be true to the world on screen. His comedy might lack the elegance of Ocelot, Moore, or other indie animators, but it is a creative farce worthy of its genre and well worth the watch!

© 2019 Evan Vernon


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)