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Top 4 college shows to watch freshman year

Photo from YouTube screenshot. 

TV shows are fictional, but on occasion they do a great job of portraying real life scenarios. These four college shows will help incoming freshmen have a sense of what it means to be a “college student.” Between the suitemates, frat parties, sororities, lifelong friendships and college relationships, you will quickly learn that there is much more to learn than just in the classrooms. So get out the popcorn and take some notes for the fall!

Community

Stream on Hulu

Community is a sitcom created by Dan Harmon that premiered on NBC in 2009. The show is about a group of students attending a fictional community college in Colorado called Greendale Community College. It starts off with a lawyer named Jeff Winger (Joel McHale) who is disbarred and suspended from his law firm when everyone finds out he was lying about his degree from Columbia. He finds himself with no choice but to go back to school at Greendale Community College. Jeff proclaims himself to be a “board-certified tutor” and starts a study group to impress a girl. His study group ends up being a diverse group of college students consisting of a socially-challenged film student with an unhealthy obsession for pop culture, a boisterous single mother hoping to start her own business, a millionaire who enrolled in school just to keep himself busy and an injured athlete who lost his scholarship and must now attend community college.

Each episode is named after a fictional college course, such as “The Politics of Human Sexuality,” “The Psychology of Letting Go,” and “Geography of Human Conflict.” Harmon is clearly obsessed with pop culture as every episode has a reference to movies, TV shows and video games. The best thing about the show is its sentimentality. The characters are relatable and represent the types of people you actually meet in college. This show portrays college as what it is: a very diverse group of people with the most specific tastes and interests. And just like Community, you can end up being friends with people you never expected to meet, much less like. With its strong character development as a foundation, every episode is a new adventure with valuable lessons to learn.

Undeclared

Available for purchase on Amazon

If you’re a fan of Freaks and Geeks, you will love the spinoff Undeclared. Undeclared is a 2001 sitcom created by Judd Apatow, an executive producer for Freaks. It features a group of college freshmen who attend a fictional college called the University of Northeastern California and stars Steve Karp (Jay Baruchel) as an awkward high school graduate who wants to change his reputation as the “school dork” with a fresh start in college. With the help of his three roommates, they try to decipher their identities between late-night cram sessions and wild parties.

Undeclared does a solid job of capturing the freedoms of college and the awkwardness that comes with the transition into adulthood. The characters are portrayed so authentically that they could honestly be some of your best friends. It centers around the usual main themes of freshmen year of college: exploring sexuality, contemplating life, working the social scene and falling in love for the first time.

Greek

Download on iTunes or stream on Xfinity

Into the fraternity/sorority life? This show is perfect for you! Greek is a comedy-drama TV series that aired on ABC in 2007. The show focuses on students of a fictional Ohio university who must navigate the school's Greek life. Featuring three fictional fraternities and a fictional sorority, Greek has the obvious college mix of family, humor, life lessons and moral dilemmas. However, it doesn’t avoid experimentations with alcohol or sex, which makes the series more serious and honest about college life.

Greek accurately portrays the complicated relationships and situations faced in college. Every character makes a fair share of mistakes, but learns to grow and develop, as we all do in our first years of independence. With messy relationships, friendships and frat parties, it shows that college life is not simply “black and white.” Greek shows college students at their best, worst, and in-between, revealing what university life is all about: a four-year adventure where one's morals and beliefs are tested and often changed.

Felicity

Stream on Hulu

Felicity is a drama series produced by J.J. Abrams that aired on The WB in 1998. The plot centers around Felicity Porter (Keri Russell) who spontaneously changes her college plans to attend University of New York (based on NYU) instead of Stanford in order to pursue a boy she was secretly in love with during high school. While at first it may seem like Felicity would be another sappy, over-romanticized teen drama, the show ends up being so much more than that.

While we hope no woman would change her college plans and move all the way across the country for a boy, the series is a lot more relatable than one might think after reading its description. By depicting the development of a young woman who takes a huge risk in her life for the idea of love, Felicity develops into an intriguing exploration of learning to be independent and learn what we really want out of life, lessons that many of us are still attempting learn ourselves. Felicity gives insight into what college life is like outside the classrooms or the dining hall. It is a strong and believable story of a young person transitioning into adulthood and going through the heartbreak and triumphs that come with boys, relationships, friends and finding out what type of person you’re going to be. Last, but definitely not least, the viewer is enthralled in the complicated love story that sparks the central plot of Felicity.

akhan@theeagleonline.com


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