Lessons I've Learned From TV: Blue Mountain State
I may or may not have written about Spike TV's college comedy "Blue Mountain State" before. However, as I am about to graduate college, it seems fitting to go back to one of my first impressions of what my college experience would be like. For those unfamiliar with the cult comedy series, it follows a division one football team at a state school. While the athletes, at least some of them, work hard to maintain the school's strong football reputation on the field, they spend most of their time off the field partying, drinking and doing drugs in excessive quantities, having sex and just fooling around on campus. The show has shown a lot of controversial things that actually happen in college, like hazing and rioting for example.
The reason I believe nobody has ever complained or made a big public deal about the show's glorification of drug and alcohol use and stereotypical college culture is because the show's depiction of all these things is so exaggerated and ridiculous that, while people watching know these things happen, everybody knows it is being blown out of proportion. However, the first question any high school student will ask you after watching an episode is, "Is college really like that?" Well, is it? Sadly, it somewhat is. While it is over the top and exaggerated for the sake of comedy, there actually is a lot more realism in "Blue Mountain State" than anyone may like to admit.
In the show, the athletes are treated as gods among students by both the university and the student body. They live in dorms the size of mansions fully furnished from the wildest imagination of a Rent-A-Center owner. Does this happen in real life? Yes and no. While it's fair to say that universities do take care of their athletes, I would be surprised to find out that they are constantly filling their living spaces with copious amounts of drugs and alcohol, prostitutes and vibrating king size beds.
While the partying is exaggerated and glorified, there is a somewhat real depiction of college culture. "Blue Mountain State" is almost like a college student's dream. It's a university where everything is easily accessible, and there are no rules or consequences for your actions. We see a lot of drinking, drug use, casual sex and strange things happen on campus, but nobody is concerned about using protection, getting diseases, drinking too much or overdosing on drugs. Every single night, the students party and constantly repeat the cycle with absolutely no consequences. This is obviously not realistic, but to an extent is this not how people treat college? Society in general tends to brush off and ignore the things people did in college. It's almost treated as its own little world where students will party and drink to excess constantly while hooking up with strangers. In the real world, people are judged for these things, but in college, it is somewhat brushed off as the norm, no matter what school you attend.
There are a few honest moments of truth I noticed throughout the show where heavy partiers reflect back on their time spent in college to realize that they have not accomplished anything. One student discovers he has not even been enrolled in the university for two years. The main thing any freshman, high school student or anyone with time left in college should take away from this show and shows like it is that you can and should have fun in college, but you shouldn't imitate what you see on TV. Partying in college is normal, but it should be done safely, and one should always have their future in mind. We can and should laugh at "Blue Mountain State" since it's meant to be laughed at, but we have to remember this is quite possibly satire and not a documentary. Have fun in college, but don't be stupid and don't break any laws.
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