Growing up, you probably saw university on TV and thought “Wow! That looks so cool! I can’t wait to do that!” Then you got to university and discovered the expectation was very different from the reality. Here are ten times university on TV was nothing like real life.
The university from Hellcats was one of the most ridiculous ever seen on television. It had everything. A scandal involving pay-for-play footballers, students paying other students to write their essays, a man who had been wrongfully thrown in jail, a professor having an affair with a student, students having affairs with each other, sportsmen taking drugs, teen pregnancies, secret siblings… Did I mention this show was about a cheer squad? The show started on a mystifying premise when the main character, Marti, got into the university on a cheerleading scholarship despite never having been a cheerleader. Once she was there, she barely ever showed up to her law degree classes but somehow still got a man out of jail. Trust me when I say that real life university is far tamer than this. The most realistic part was when the whole cheer squad came down with strep throat. Disease travels fast at university.
Clique could never be accused of making university look too glamourous. It is quite possibly the most bleak depiction of university ever shown on TV. Even so, it is not very realistic. The first season focuses on a group of girls who work for an internship programme within the university’s economics degree. Except these girls are treated like goddesses. They are given their own townhouse in the city, they have parties at a mansion on the beach, and they all somehow work full time for their professors whilst still studying for their degree. Then, of course, it turns out the entire internship scheme is corrupt and the girls are being abused. Whatever happened to lazy students who sleep all day?
3. Sabrina The Teenage Witch
As television college goes, Sabrina was pretty close to the truth – ignoring the whole magical witch aspect. She moved into a dorm with a group of students who could not be more different. Sabrina also finds that her aunts have empty nest syndrome since she left and now keep showing up unexpectedly to spend time with her. All very realistic university experiences. What was not realistic was when Aunt Hilda deliberately bought the coffee shop where Sabrina worked part time, or when Aunt Zelda became a professor at the university. If your loved ones are going to that extreme to supervise you at college, you might need to see a family counsellor.
4. Gossip Girl
In Gossip Girl’s defence, not everyone went to the same university – so that’s a good start. However, Blair Waldorf showing up on day one of college planning to become the “Queen Bee” is simply baffling. There are not queen bees at university – there are far too many people and the majority of them never meet. Someone you knew from your younger years moving into a dorm with you with the ambition to turn you into an outcast is equally as bizarre. University students are adults – it is not high school.
5. How To Get Away With Murder
First of all, going to university will not cause you to become embroiled in a murder plot with your professor. It is also pretty unlikely that your professor will choose you to be an intern at their business in your first year. It might happen eventually, but you would normally be in your final year before anyone starts offering you jobs. Thankfully, though, hiding a dead body is not something you should have to do at university.
6. Buffy The Vampire Slayer
The Buffy depiction of university was fairly realistic to start with as Buffy was placed in a dorm with an infuriating roommate who played Celine Dion’s My Heart Will Go On on repeat. However, the realism faded as the seasons went on. Somehow, Willow and Tara managed to adopt a cat and keep it in their dorm room without anyone noticing. By the end of season four, Buffy and friends were almost never seen at any of their classes and none of them ever appeared to complete their degrees. Amazingly, despite this, Buffy became a high school guidance counsellor with no qualifications. Trust me, you cannot just skip the entirety of university and walk into a job. Stick in and study hard, everyone!
When the McKinley High glee club members graduated and moved to New York City, they had an interesting college experience. Somehow, Rachel ascended from high school glee club straight into the Broadway cast of Funny Girl, not to mention being given her own TV show, whilst Santana was cast as Rachel’s understudy. That is very unlikely to happen. You need a lot more experience than that to get a stage role. On top of that, the McKinley graduates all move to New York together to attend the New York Academy of Dramatic Arts. Do not let this fool you – the chances of all your friends choosing to move to the same city or go to the same university as you is fairly low.
8. Saved By The Bell: The College Years
There is a reason Saved By The Bell: The College Years only lasted one season – it was not the best college show in the world. It was yet another series where a group of friends all go to college together and somehow end up in the same dorm – but this time, with three beautiful roommates! There was nothing realistic about it. Kelly showed up in the second episode to enroll in the university out the blue and after the term had already begun, the girls were always falling for the lecturers, and Zack and Kelly get engaged. It’s just not the university experience.
9. Veronica Mars
The most unrealistic part of Hearst College was how good the food court looked. This is a college – not a shopping mall! At most universities, you are lucky if you can find a cheese panini and a chair to sit on. It was also fairly unrealistic that any university would let a freshman student like Veronica snoop around, interrogate professors, and generally get involved with things she shouldn’t have. That said, Neptune was a pretty strange town. Once again, though, do not expect all your school friends to go to university with you. It does not work like that.
10. Scream Queens
To be fair, I doubt anyone watched Scream Queens and thought it was a realistic depiction of college life – but just in case you did, I have sad news. Scream Queens is about as far from a true to life university experience. For a start, the likelihood of you joining a sorority which includes Ariana Grande and Billie Lourd is exactly zero. More than that, if any of your friends ever told you to name yourself after them, you should probably run for the hills. Scream Queens, while showing a glamourous sorority life, also made university out to be a horror movie where a serial killer threatens your every move. In reality, your biggest threat at college is sleep deprivation.