Polter-Cow (spectralbovine) wrote,

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Undeclared? More Like Underwear!

A couple years ago, I blind-bought the Freaks and Geeks DVDs from areacode212, having never seen an episode (or met him, for that matter...which still hasn't been rectified). I'd heard nothing but good things, although it didn't seem like my kind of show. I wasn't blown away at first, but by the end I lamented the cancellation as much as everyone else did. That was good high school drama there.

Now, I remember when Undeclared came out, and I didn't remember it being received very well, so I figured it wasn't very good. But then it came out on DVD and all these people I knew began singing its praises. So jenelope let made me borrow her DVDs (and when she comes to take these back, I'm letting making her borrow Freaks and Geeks).

All right, guys, say it with me: damn you, Fox! Daaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaamn yooooooooooooooooooooouuuuuu!!

Maybe it was ahead of its time—no-laugh-track half-hour comedies are totally in right now. Well, totally in LINE TO BE CANCELLED. Undeclared is not the best show ever, but it's funny, endearing, and enjoyable, and it should have lasted longer than it did. Its major strength, like that of Freaks and Geeks, is how true-to-life it is. It's so what college is really like. I don't recall many other half-hour dramedies about college life. No, Saved by the Bell: The College Years doesn't count.

I know the exact moment when I realized that the show wasn't afraid to present college as it really is. In the second episode, Hillary, the head R.A., says that she lives on the top floor, and then she extremely dorkily adds, "Because we like it on top! It's...just kind of a motto...that I came up with. We're making sweatshirts; they're going to be so cool, when they come back from the printers." And it's so entirely awkward, and of course I was instantly reminded of Jones 4th North and their "It's better on top" shirts. It became clear that every college ever had some dorm with that slogan on a shirt of some sort, and it was also clear that the joke isn't funny at all unless you actually identify with it. So many television shows use the typical college stereotypes, but this show uses the actual college stereotypes. On an unrelated note, I will applaud the first television show or movie to exploit the stereotype of Indians as motel owners because HELLO. I'm tired of seeing Indians running convenience stores. There's a street in Dallas on which every single fucking motel is owned by Indians. There's an Asian American Hotel Owners Association. Come on, if you're going to make fun of us, DO IT CORRECTLY.

And that's what makes Undeclared so great, the fact that it takes the sorts of things we actually went through in college and turns it into comedy. One episode's subplot revolves around roommates fighting over the volume of music and what to play (sidenote: the music used on the show really takes you back...it's all those late nineties hits you thought you forgot about! Example: the aforementioned subplot relies on the use of OMC's "How Bizarre"). Another involves a character not wanting to tell his parents he's changed his major.

The other thing that makes the show so great is the cast. I'm starting to believe that even the crappiest show can be rescued by a great cast. You get a great cast with great chemistry who just nail their characters, and the magic just happens. Sure, good writing helps, but the cast can make up the difference. According to Jay Baruchel, though, it was easy for everyone to nail their characters because the writers cast them first and developed their characters around them. I wonder if that was true for some of the recurring characters, of which there are many, because they helped flesh out the world and provided lots of the humor. I love Perry.

I knew next to nothing about any of the characters or the storylines before I started watching, so you know what? I'm giving you that luxury. I will discuss such things in the comments. All you need to know is Lizzie is pretty and Lloyd has a hot accent. And the show is really good and you should watch it. Whores.
Tags: being indian, freaks and geeks, lj friends, new show squee, rice, tv, undeclared

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