By Laura Smith, Hollywood Staff
While the high school experience has been culturally immortalized on television through countless shows, the experimental college years have rarely been captured accurately on screen. The UK series Fresh Meat perfectly illustrates this magical time period of false confidence, sexual missteps, perpetual poverty, and substance abuse... or, as we know it, higher education. With its third season premiering on Hulu, this UK import is slowly gaining an audience stateside for its college hijinks with dysfunctional twist.
The familial cultural markers of beer pong, fraternities, and dorms may be missing, but the spirit of awkward inhibition remains the same. The brilliance of the show lies within the diversity of the cast. Five freshman: Vod, Oregon, Josie, Kingsley, JP and one upperclassman live in shared housing off-campus where they're forced to interact mostly with each other with some occasional interlopers.
No longer the clueless freshmen they once were, the crew returns to their decrepit lodgings in Manchester to deal with the fallout over break and a new semester. As anyone who's dealt with random roommates, their chemistry arises out of their contradicting personalities and the way they ground one another while also forcing each other out of his or her comfort zone. Theirs is not a glamorized experience. They work part-time jobs, sleep with their professors, discover bodily fluids in odd places, pull coke-fuled all nighters to write poetry and make mistakes just like the rest of us.
The collegiate experience calls for a tenuous balance of drama and comedy, but that is what Fresh Meat does best. In the end, these forged friendships happen organically and make for some of the most quotable television moments to date. As Fresh Meat enters the annals of timeless college TV series alongside Undeclared and Felicity, let's take a look back at the dismal track record of some of our American collegiate series.
The problem with many of our beloved teen sitcoms when they transitioned to the college years lies in two parts: one - many of these shows continued past their prime and their character arcs, and two - the whole appeal of college is the excitement of new characters and not dealing with the same drama from high school. Ditching the lockers for dorm rooms does not a successful series make.