Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Long Hallways to the Chancellor's Office...

...make me nervous too. A couple of quick reactions to Tommy Lee Goes to College, with two back to back episodes last night on NBC, and a few more coming up this month:

  • Reviews were wildly mixed, some finding the show not funny (I thought it was amusing), and others irritated at the unreality of a supposed reality show, such that Tommy did not live in a dorm at Nebraska during filming, though most of the first episode concerned his "choosing" a roommate (more on that) and then pimping out the room, and he wasn't really enrolled in classes. But as observations on university life, I found it intriguing.
  • His smorgasbord of classes, including chemistry, English, physics, really does mirror what most students go through at large universities. He tries to pay attention in a large lecture to formulae scratched on a whiteboard, and attempts to keep awake in a slow English discussion.
  • One reviewer remarked that it would have been more interesting if he had taken courses for which he was suited and engaged, such as music. Apparently he liked his hort class the best, which includes on the spot grilling by the professor at various trees on campus.
  • He is advised by his chemistry professor. I don't know about Nebraska, but this does not occur at this Moo U, and I doubt it happens in Lincoln. Undergraduates are advised by "academic advisers" who are administrative/professionals, except in certain small areas that pride themselves on faculty doing academic advising, such as agricultural education. Undergraduates and faculty can avoid one-on-one contact.
  • The sequence where Tommy chooses his roommate is of course false, but it enacts the fantasy of perhaps every freshman, to really find someone with whom one gets along, rather than being assigned based upon a questionnaire.
  • His only small discussion class is English, a literature class led by an earnest looking woman dressed quite plainly, who has never heard of Tommy Lee. His comments in discussion show flashes of inspiration.
  • Both Nebraska and Tommy hope to get something out of this venture. Nebraska, in spite of reservations by some, went ahead with the venture last fall as the chancellor did not want to turn down national prime time exposure. The university does look very attractive, in an idealized sort of way.

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