How College Movies and TV Shows Can Be Harmful to the College Image - Citing Animal House, Van Wilder, Blue Mountain State, Accepted and Good Will Hunting

How College Movies and TV Shows Can Be Harmful to the College Image - Citing Animal House, Van Wilder, Blue Mountain State, Accepted and Good Will Hunting

The American college movie, Animal House made in 1978, Featuring John Belushi and the other hooligans of the Delta house, it was an instant classic. Van Wilder produced in 2002 starring Tara Reid and Ryan Reynolds, An American comedy staple. Accepted, premiered in 2006 featuring Justin Long and was successful comedy that appealed to most high school students. Blue Mountain State A comedy on spike TV Showing the Shenanigans that a State school football team get into. Think though; are these movies and shows that the teenage population fell in love with a little harmful to the college image? The movies listed are all misleading, as well as highly stereotypical. College movies also portray images to people that is nothing like the actual college experience people will have or are having, as well as showing a highly cliquey society where one can stereotype the “jocks” “nerds” and “druggies” by just looking at them. The last thing this essay will discuss is how the “college movie” put down the student body and sells the students short of who they really are.

The movies that we have come to love such as Animal House are somewhat harmful to the college image. The movie can impact the personality of a student going into college greatly. Animal House depicts a group of misfits banding together to form the delta house and oh do they party. The term “toga party” was practically coined by this movie. Yes this movie is hilarious and has sealed itself at the “must see” comedy, but look closer at it, and the impact it had and still has on society is huge. The movies viewed are corrupting minds of the teenage youth

The affect these movies have on people is that they are not anything like the college experience in anyway, the movies such as Animal House and Van Wilder portray a “fake college” type of experience where very few if any people experience in their four years in college. The image of partying and beautiful women drinking and getting slutty is one of pure imagination and Hollywood makeup artists. This misleads teens to think differently about how college actually works, the actual college experience goes a little more like: study, stress, test, and repeat.

A misleading part about these movies is the fact that you rarely if ever see the characters in class, they are always out drinking no matter what hour of the day it is, and this seems to go with out any consequences. In the movie Van wilder the protagonist Van Wilder never ever goes to class, all he seems to do is throw parties and woo women. This would be a major concern if the script had not included Van Wilder attending Coolidge for 7 years of his life. One problem with this movie is that Van would have most likely been put on academic probation and not just have all of his grades swept under the table, the college would have taken action, and most likely kicked him out after his first year.

One more instance of this constant drinking and partying is in Spike’s new show Blue Mountain State where the Goats, a Nationally ranked football team party their ass’s off all day. However it is a little funny that even though this show is about a football team, yet you never once see them playing a game. In fact in one episode “Marathon Monday” the boys drink from sun up to sun down, this seems slightly like Hobo day, However the unbelievable and down right crazy part is that Everyone is just walking around campus drinking and partying, this would never happen on a real college campus. The campus police and even the local P.D. would be all over the place handing out minors left and right. Blue Mountain State is both misleading and harmful students because it sends a message to future students that drinking is accepted around campus by authority figures, when it is clearly not in real life.

The movies and shows put on to entertain college and high school students mislead the same group that it appeals to. While watching Animal House or Blue Mountain State one receives a fake impression of what college is like. A high school senior watches Blue Mountain State, all the viewer sees is constant partying, drinking, and beautiful women taking off they’re clothes. It is harmful that these shows show all of this because it glorifies the drinking in college, and makes it socially acceptable, Blue Mountain State in a way actually promotes underage drinking, the main character Alex is just a freshman and slams beers like its his job, yet never once in that show do the writers state his age, because Alex is obviously underage. The underage factor is not morally correct, yes underage drinking does occur, but Blue Mountain State is a show that glorifies underage drinking and that is immoral. Now in Animal House the underage drinking was never a problem because the movie was made in 1978 and in the majority of the states the legal drinking age was 18 or 19.

In the comedy classic Animal House the movie tells the tail of a failing Delta chapter frat at Faber university. The boys of the delta house have been known to get into a good amount of trouble and somehow miracuasly get away with it with nothing more than a scolding from Dean Wormer. However this aspect of the movie is troubling and misleading, yes the 70’s were a more innocent time then now but the Delta house couldn’t get away with half of the stuff they did. The big climax of the movie, after the boys of Delta get kicked out of college they Bluto rallies the troops and they decide to crash the homecoming parade. The Delta gang causes mass chaos and disruption; this would be enough for today’s standards to land one in jail for a long time, yet all of the boys all escape. Yes this is clearly fiction, but that is not the argument. The argument is that these movies are wrong and misleading. This scene will make viewers believe that they can do anything they like without consequences.

College movies are also harmful to the college image. The movies such as Animal House and Accepted basically take a dump on the college image. Accepted shows a fake college where college applicants who do not get into real colleges go to for a “education” this of course will never happen and it shows the college experience as a joke where in real life college is something that should be taken very seriously by students if they would like a good education and any chance of getting a good paying job in their life. Another prime example of the movies making college seem like a joke to people is in the film Animal House, the main characters never seem to go to class, in fact the only time you see the boys of the DeltaTau Chi frat in a classroom is when they are having their probationary hearing for possibly getting kicked off campus. A good quote to show how the directors of Animal House portray college as a joke is when Otter says “take it easy, I’m pre-law” in which boon replies “I thought you were pre- med” and Otter states “what’s the difference.” Now this is funny joke, but it also puts down college institutions across the nations and makes by making a crude joke at their majors and minors.

Another negative aspect of the college movies such as Animal House or Van Wilder is that the put down the college student body as a whole. These two movies portray college students as hardcore partiers, druggies, and slackers. Look at Animal House for an example, to be specific John Blutarsky, Bluto for short. The main character in Animal House is a complete slob, and a total drunk. He has been at Faber for seven years in this film, three years more than what is generally assumed it takes to get a master degree in a subject. Bluto is also a drunk, as well as is the entire Delta house and this is a very common image in the “college movie.” When looking at actual college students of the 21st century very few college students if any are like this many students are more like the 1997 movie Good Will Hunting, where they study and become great students and achieve at the highest level of the colleges education standards. Many students do drink, that is a fact it is a part of the college experience, but the students keep in under control and do not let it become such a huge part of their lives that it ruins their lives such as John Blutarsky did in the comedy classic Animal House. In hindsight the college movies actually ruin the image of the students have and portray them as ruthless party animals that do nothing besides smoke pot, drink beer, and party.

First off the movies that portray college parties and the college experience are also sexist towards women. Think, while watching these comedies have you ever seen a prude girl? No because there are never any prude women in these films everyone is a slut or a whore. The image of the college girl is not thought of as a hard studying glasses wearing sweater sporting women, but instead a sexy blonde with big boobs a plump ass, and of course she’s sporting a revealing low cut that shows off her double D rack. Look at the 2006 film Accepted for an example; the supporting actresses are all beautiful women who fit almost all of the criteria listed above. Around campus there are few if any women sporting this attire. The more appropriate or greater seen outfit worn on a women is; hair tied up in a ponytail, sweatpants, and a sweatshirt, basically the girl is going to wear whatever is the most comfortable for her to sport to class, and not what is likely to attract hordes of horney sex crazed men. In real life the women of college are going to look more like a Jane Smith, then a Jessica Alba.

Secondly, the men in the movies and shows are always portrayed as the big, tall, cut studs. Look at the movie Animal House for a prime example of the stereotypical college boy the prime suspect in this case Douglass Neidermeyer one of the many protagonists in John Landis’s Animal House. Neidermeyer is tall, handsome, not to mention ripped. Doug is the Picture child of college boys he has a good-looking woman and seems to be involved in many school extra curricular activities at Faber. Now, there may be a fistful of Neidermeyers around the run of the mill college campus, but not many, the majority of college boys are much more or less just trying to make it through their 4 years. Many men are not good looking enough to be male models, and certainly are not involved in as many activities as he is. Think the majority of the college students are a happy medium, in between Bluto, and Neidermeyer to form the average joe college student.

The stereotypes of people in these movies are horrendously bad, the druggies, nerds, and jocks. Talk one look at a person and it can be instantly be decided whether what “clique” the person is from whether they are a jock, nerd or a party boy. Look at Van wilder for instance the nerds in the movie are dressed in dorky out of style sweater vests, they have uni-brows and taped together glasses, and of course are sporting a comb over. There are partially no people who dress like this around the South Dakota State campus. The “nerds” don’t dress like anything out of the ordinary, and they most certainly cannot be spotted by just a glance like they can be in film Van Wilder.

Jocks, the typical enemy of the “normal people” in the college movies are portrayed as people wearing letter jackets, and designer jeans, and typically a hat with a pre-frayed brim. The jocks prey upon the nerds, and in these movies the jocks will beat up on the nerds to instill fear upon them. This stereotype of jocks is the most wrong and harmful out of all the stereotypes. Jocks don’t wear letter jackets, or wear a hat; the way they are portrayed in these films is mean to the image of the athletes, they get a bad reputation in theses movies. The “jocks” I know are usually very smart and well rounded individuals, not the dumb apes that the college movies portray them as. Granted there are a select few individuals like this, but these individuals are not as easy to point out as they are in these films.

Looking back at the movies listed, Animal House, Accepted, and Van Wilder all of these movies have two things in common. One the movies are all funny, some more than others. Two these movies are also misleading, once again some are more misleading than others. First, the movies listed lead students on about college, making the students believe that all they will be doing is partying and getting laid. Second, the movies are also harmful to the college image; they portray college as a joke and something to not be taken seriously. The movies also attack the group that they aim to please by portraying college students as drunks and sluts. The last the movies such as Animal House and Van Wilder do is play on the stereotypes of people such as nerds and jocks.

Works Cited
Hoover, Eric. "'Animal House' at 30: O Bluto, Where Art Thou? (Cover story)." Chronicle of Higher Education 55.2 (2008): A1-A36. EBSCO MegaFILE. EBSCO. Web. 9 Dec. 2010.

Logan, Michael. "Darin Brooks Gets Blue." TV Guide 57.47/48 (2009): 88. EBSCO MegaFILE. EBSCO. Web. 9 Dec. 2010.

Blue Mountain State Wednesdays 11PM/10C." SPIKE.COM: Check out the Premier Online Destination for Men! Web. 09 Dec. 2010. .

National Lampoon's Animal House (Widescreen Double Secret Probation Edition). Dir. John Landis. Perf. John Belushi, Karen Allen, Tom Hulce. Universal Studios, 1978. VHS.

Good Will Hunting. Dir. Gus Van Sant. Perf. Robin Williams, Matt Damon, Ben Affleck. Walt Disney Video, 1997. VHS.