collegiate issues on various screen sizes

There are a couple of interesting college-oriented shows headed our way – one on the big screen, and one on the small screen! I thought I’d fill you in if you hadn’t seen the incessant commercials (especially for the TV one).

What’s particularly interesting is that both of these features are really timely. Though they deal with different topics (one with common disillusionments on the front end of the college experience, and one with common disillusionments on the back end of the college experience), both reflect growing trends – trends that have only accelerated in the recent economic difficulties.

Post Grad (movie opening next Friday)

Remember, one of our key jobs as college ministers is successfully preparing our students for the years immediately following. Post Grad could be an interesting take on the now-standard (and yet still-unexpected) post-graduation meanderings, even something that might be useful for students. We’ll see on Friday, I suppose.

Here’s the synopsis from the official Fox Searchlight synopsis (via Rotten Tomatoes):

Ryden Malby (Bledel) had a plan. Do well in high school, thereby receiving a great college scholarship. Now that she’s finally graduated, it’s time for her to find a gorgeous loft apartment and land her dream job at the city’s best publishing house. But when Jessica Bard (Reitman), Ryden’s college nemesis steals her perfect job, Ryden is forced to move back to her childhood home. Stuck with her eccentric family – a stubborn do-it-yourself dad (Keaton), an overly thrifty mom (Lynch), a politically incorrect grandma (Burnett), a very odd little brother (Coleman) – and a growing stack of rejected job applications, Ryden starts to feel like she’s going nowhere. The only upside is spending time with her best friend, Adam (Zach Gilford) – and running into her hot next-door neighbor, David (Santoro). But if Ryden’s going to survive life as a post grad, it may be time to come up with a new plan… – © Fox Searchlight

The official site for this movie seems pretty cool, honestly – starting with the clever Craigslisty loading page and even including tips for college students and a blog by one of their interns, a UC Santa Cruz student (go Banana Slugs!). While I can’t vouch for anything on there or in the movie, you might still want to check out the site.

Community (TV show premeires September 17th; pilot available until August 21st)

With plenty of students (and their parents) looking at the Community College option these days, why wouldn’t somebody make a TV show about this world?

“Community” is the newest addition to the famous NBC Thursday night lineup. It’s a comedy, so we shouldn’t look for all kinds of “teachable moments” – although the pilot is surprisingly happy and makes a pretty strong argument for non-relative truth. But again, I’m not expecting lessons a’plenty.

At the same time, those of us who work with college students might appreciate the chance to laugh about (and occasionally think about) students and their situations which, though caricatured in the show, we observe every day. The community college world itself receives some fairly harsh ridicule, but it certainly reflects both common stereotypes AND the actual inscrutability of many Two-Year-College tribes.

(I’m sure it’s wishful thinking, but it would be interesting to see religious campus organizations introduced in a “Community” episode. Sadly, that’s probably unlikely – not because Hollywood’s uninterested in spiritual things, but because Christian work at community colleges may not be prevalent enough to warrant attention. Ouch.)

Wanna check it out? The pilot is available to watch until Friday night. [After the deadline, they now appear to have a preview up in its place.] You have to go through some Facebook rigormaroll to get there, sadly, but it’s easy enough. (BONUS LEARNING: Even if you don’t watch the pilot, Fast Company has a helpful article on NBC’s poor choices on that matter.)

The show’s official site is here, but a pretty clever site for the fake Greendale Community College is here. The Straight As of Greendale, according to that site? Accessibility, Affordability, Air Conditioning, Awesome New Friends, A Lot of Classes.”


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