Desperate Schoolboys is commonly known for being a drama show that breaks taboos, and thus it is made up of, among many other things, recurring themes that can be found in between the lines of its ongoing and/or episodic stories. A rundown of some of the most remarkable themes of the series can be read below.
- See main article: Deaths
Death is a major part of the series, as a total of over 30 characters have been killed off on the show, and more than 40 deceased characters have been featured. Character deaths usually serve as either a catalyst in a plot, a means of driving the story further along, or as a 'full stop' in said story, meaning a character's story is ended with their death and it serves as a convenient climax.
When more important characters die, the remaining living characters often find themselves dealing with the psychological and real-world repercussions of said demises, such as James Clark's death in the pilot episode, crushing the four other schoolboys, or Ali Sword's death taking a toll on Rena in season one and Emma Swift's death taking a toll on Ben in season four.
Desperate Schoolboys is known for being a drama show, but some of the dramatic storylines stem from the schoolboys family life. This includes Rena's season one storyline where he starts to learn the truth about his mother, Justine, or Josh's season four storyline where he has growing suspicions about his stepfather and stepbrother. The family life for the schoolboy's is also the key to how they became troubled from Joe's anger issues to Rena's sketchy past.
One of the most iconic aspects of Desperate Schoolboys is the strong bond shared between the series' four main guys, Ben, Joe, Josh, and Rena. Several friendships have been formed and disbanded in the show, but theirs is inarguably the most notable. Despite the occasional fights and feuds, this quartet manages to somehow overcome every obstacle to their ties and remain the best of friends for the majority of the whole series. They often engage in conversations with each other in which they share details of their private lives and ongoing problems. Nevertheless, they never share every secret about their lives, and these tend to come out sooner or later and eventually cause more strain on the relationships. Therefore, the process becomes somewhat of a vicious cycle.
See main article: Mysteries
With mystery being one of the three major genres of Desperate Schoolboys -- the other two being comedy and drama -- = every season has presented a long-running mystery plot, primarily focused on a new character having arrived to Wisteria
The series' main mystery -- ignited by the suicide of schoolboy James Clark -- served as the catalyst for the series and as a means of introducing all of its main characters.
In the subsequent three seasons, new mysteries would be introduced in the season premieres and generally finish being solved in the finales, with several twists and turns presented through the run of the seasons to throw viewers off-track and for shock value.
In the final season, the four protagonists of the series finally found themselves as the mystery stars for a change, all being involved in a dramatic storyline that found them burdened by a horrible murder cover-up and a continuous blackmail.
- See main article: Relationships
One of the more notable sub-genres of Desperate Schoolboys could be given as "romance", as several of the main long-running stories revolve around the main characters' romantic relationships. The series' supercouple (a key element of most soap operas) consists of the Ben/Liz pairing, as their friendship turned romantic relationship is at the center of most of the intrigue regarding those characters' stories over the course of the first 2 seasons, and they were introduced as the pairing viewers were meant to root for when the show started.
Rena and Mary have often been credited as the second main couple, with a reputation of having endured through many threatening obstacles without resorting to separations. However, this came to an end in late season 4 for several episodes leading to the season finale, however, Mary returned and the two picked up where they left off.
The third main couple of the series would be the Josh/Dean pairing. Co-protagonist Joe Hadland remains the character without many stable relationships, only having two notable, one, Silvia who never truly loved him, and was using him for her own evil purposes, and then Katie who he only started dating towards the end of season four.