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TV shows try to recreate college student life

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by Ryan Mac Donald
Staff Writer

Ben loves Felicity. Felicity loves Ben. Felicity cheats on Ben. Ben sees the “cheating” picture of Felicity on the Internet. Ben gets really upset. Sean, Ben’s roommate, has testicular cancer. Megan, Sean’s girlfriend, is wicked. Elena, Felicity’s best friend, is in love with her boyfriend, Tracie, but he will not sleep with her because he loves God too much.

Is college life always so interesting?

Like the above show “Felicity,” the portrayal of college life has become a familiar subject-matter to many television networks, and with this recent emergence, collegiate students are beginning to develop intimate relationships to these televised dramas and their characters.

“‘Felicity’ is the closet thing to a college setting,” said junior Cambria Smith, a diversified major. “This show is like real life. They encounter real situations and that is why so many students are connecting to the show. The situations and the emotions are so similar to our lives.”

Shows like “Felicity,” “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” and “Beverly Hills 90210,” all follow a similar theme in following the central characters into college, and with endless parallels to reality, actual college students have connected to these shows on personal levels, regardless of the amount of realistic aspects.

“The issues they deal with from drug abuse to rape to family problems are very realistic,” said junior movement and sports science major Katie Aimone.

The images of plush dormitories, intellectual conversations, raging parties, and drunken mistakes, are portrayed through a mediated reality to convey a realistic atmosphere, but when compared to those conditions of actual college life, the circumstances and outcomes would probably be resolved in entirely different fashions.

“Some of the places they live and work at are a bit unrealistic, but that part does not really affect the direction of the show,” said Emily Tollefson, a sophomore.

The characters would probably have a tremendous amount of difficulty coping with real dormitories, relationships, expenses and life. However, Tollefson noted that these shows are “a realistic portrayal of college life through everything. With relationships to school to work, these shows mirror our existence in college.”

Ranging from attending the University of New York to California University, these students also somehow manage to attend the same collegiate institution as all of their hometown friends.

“It [‘90210’] was family bonding time, and we all watched as they [the characters] went off to college,” said Aimone. “I just didn’t think that it was realistic because when you leave high school you need to break off from your friends and go to college and meet new people and learn from them.”

Like many shows like before it, “Felicity” is a coming of age story that follows a young woman who goes off to college. But in this college, the students are attractive, and their lives are always melodramatic and interesting.

“If they were ugly, I would not watch,” said Tollefson. “If Ben was a dog who would want to watch? There is obviously some bit of fakeness in having so many people be so attractive, but if everyone wasn’t good looking, it would be difficult to watch.”

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