Thursday, April 9, 2009

Blech-y Badger

MTV has broken my heart once again. Heidi Montag and Lauren Conrad have replaced Daria Morgendorffer and Jane Lane as MTV's most prominent original female icons. "The Hills" as the new "Daria?" This only shows how far MTV has sunk from being the preeminent voice for American teen culture.

And now, MTV has managed to suck even more, with its new show "College Life." Sure, I haven't seen the show, which premieres on Monday night, but does that matter? No, because I've lived it. You see, I have to come out, DI faithfuls. I've been to Madison, Wisc. where "College Life" takes place. My best friends are Badgers. I know, I seemed so normal, right?

"College Life" gives eight UW students cameras to document their freshman years. MTV doesn't want to see the emotional turmoil and ever-increasing despondency so intrinsic to that first year of college. What MTV hopes to capture, and undoubtedly did, is the reckless drinking, sex, and other assorted bad decisions that often come with moving away from home for the first time. I bet we'll never see any of these profiled freshmen in class, either.

So where do I fit in? I lived 38 "College Life"s. That's how many Facebook friends I have who are currently enrolled at the University of Wisconsin in Madison. I've visited the school's campus twice. Am I the foremost authority on all things Wisconsin? No. But do I have a blog and lots of time? Yes.

My first trip to Madison was the stuff MTV execs salivate over. There were hookups, heartbreak, and even a little hand-holding. There was a lot of drinking, a lot of partying, and a few relationships that still haven't recovered from all that went down. There were mistakes aplenty. A girl dirty danced with my then best friend, another girl made out with a guy at a burrito place, and two guys peed off a balcony. Can you say "ratings?"

But that isn't the point. Sure, people will watch "College Life" and get a boneheaded and inaccurate view of what life in college is like — for better or worse, the University of Wisconsin is not representative of any other college than itself — but just because something is entertaining doesn't mean it should be broadcast, no matter how badly the stars want to be filmed.

Shouldn't freshman year be a wonderful secret? No one can live yours for you, and no one can dictate how it's supposed to go. It's this one dumb ritual college students can all look back on and see how far they've grown. You know, like kissing your best friend or buying a Toby Keith CD.

With "College Life," MTV is making freshman year less of a mole and more of a beauty mark, something cosmetic and completely artificial from something that should be distinct.

— Meryn, who will give you all the details on Madison, if you ask her.

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