Is it just me, or has there been an onslaught of college-centered movies and television shows lately?
There was that film College last year and ABC Family has “Greek“ and their new show “Roommates“ premieres on Mar. 23. Not to be outdone is MTV, which has two new shows – the unscripted “reality” show “College Life” and the sketch comedy show “The CollegeHumor Show.“
The trend is even taking over the airwaves with “I Love College“ by Asher Roth. Just another reason to avoid mainstream radio.
Of course, as with any thing to appear on the small and/or big screen, there come a number of stereotypical images to university life. And as much as I’ve fallen victim to certain agendas of the media (i.e., the Snuggie, the ShamWOW, “The City“), there are a couple of college clichés I’ve managed to avoid during my tenure at UC Davis.
The faculty-student romance. Films like Loser and shows like “Felicity” and the classic “Saved by the Bell: The College Years“ perpetuated the idea of sexual relations between the hot college ingénue and the older (but hot) scholarly professor or TA. I entered college with a mix of terror and excitement at the prospect of such illicit hook-ups – would I be the easily influenced co-ed-turned-lover of an older, much wiser man?
The answer: Nope. I only ever had one professor I found remotely attractive, and even that wasn’t reason enough to attend class on a regular basis.
The toga party. Okay. I’ll admit it, I’ve gone to a few frat parties, some of which may have been themed. (Hey, we were all freshman once). I’ll also admit that I’ve participated in a couple of seemingly “bro-ish“ activities – I’ve shotgunned a beer or two, played Beirut, done some daytime “dranking“ on Picnic Day, so on and so forth.
But despite all these worldly experiences, one clichéd aspect of Greek life I’ve yet to encounter is the toga party, as popularized in films like National Lampoon’s Animal House. No wrapping white bed sheets around myself in an attempt to resemble the Roman garment, no fevered chants of “toga! toga!” through the frat house, no dancing along to “Shout“ by the Isley Brothers. I guess I could remedy this with my own take on the toga party – an entirely ironic one, of course – but I can’t imagine the results to be too far from the original.
Co-ed bathrooms. I had a slew of worries once I got my acceptance letter, and among my unfounded misconceptions about dorm life was the possibility of a co-ed restroom. (I blame shows like “Boy Meets World“ for this). I’m all about liberal living arrangements, but the potty room is a completely different territory – I don’t have brothers, and I had trouble with the idea of doing my bizness within the same vicinity of unfamiliar girls, let alone unfamiliar boys.
The college sweatshirt. Not that I’m not proud to go to UC Davis or anything, I’ve just always been, um, unavailable to do university-spirited things like various sports games and stuff. In fact, I finally attended my first – and last – football game in fall quarter 2008.
So it shouldn’t be too surprising that my apathy to school spirit has a place (or lack of place) in my wardrobe. The sole sweatshirt I ever purchased at the UC Davis Bookstore hangs in my mother’s closet, proud but unworn.
Also, something seems off when you realize that, oh hey, a dude nearly twice your size is basically wearing the same thing as you, a girl no more than 108 pounds. It doesn’t really help the fact that I already have the androgynous fashion sensibilities of a confused 15-year-old boy whose favorite store is Urban Outfitters.
RACHEL FILIPINAS has one quarter left to fulfill or avoid even more college clichés. Encourage or discourage such behavior at firstname.lastname@example.org.