The Real World: Northwestern. The Sorority Girls Next Door. Lake Michigan Shore.
Laugh now, but if Northwestern lands a spot on reality TV these may be some of the plotlines streaming into living rooms throughout the nation. It’s not a completely farfetched idea; according to The Huffington Post, Princeton University is developing a reality show that “aims to portray an ‘insider look’ at Princeton undergrad life.”
If Princeton can get its own show, who’s to say we can’t follow suit? There is a host of reasons the spotlight should be on Northwestern.
We have one of the best drama programs in the country
Year after year Northwestern is nationally recognized for its drama — program, that is. With such talented performers congregated on our campus, there’s no question that Northwestern has enough drama to fuel a reality TV show. And if there’s one element on which reality TV thrives, it’s drama. Catfights, breakups and make-ups are characteristics that define these types of shows, and who better to portray the trials and tribulations of college life than trained theater majors?
“It’s competitive,” says Matt Kuyawa, a freshman theater major. “The relationship you have as friends is totally separated from the relationship you have as majors. You can be happy that your friend got a part [in a show], but think they may not deserve it.”
Clearly, if nothing else, a look into the world of acting at Northwestern has the drama factor that alone would be enough to hook audiences.
And if that’s not enough, take a look at some of our alums. Entertainment heavyweights like Stephen Colbert, Zach Braff and Seth Meyers — all School of Communication grads — got their starts at Northwestern. Tomorrow’s stars could be among us, and the road to fame — whether it is in entertainment, politics, medicine, or engineering — is undoubtedly worthy of reality TV recognition.
We are a Big Ten school
Where was the Princeton football team on New Years Day? Not at the Outback Bowl. From the championship games to the pre-games, there’s something about being in the Big Ten that makes Northwestern a perfect match for reality TV. Maybe it’s the pure competition to win. Maybe it’s our school spirit. Maybe it’s the fact that we’re more known for our academics than our sports programs yet we continue to bring home national titles.
Whatever the reason, being in the Big Ten could mean big ratings. If MTV could create an entire reality TV show about a high school football team (remember Two-A-Days?), then there’s grounds for a plotline surrounding Northwestern athletes and the atmosphere of Wildcat pride that pervades our campus. After all, Two-A-Days was high school. This is the Big Ten.
The end of the year is approaching, and that means one thing: Dillo Day is upon us. This weekend, while Regina Spektor, Nelly, Super Mash Bros. and Guster take the stage to help celebrate the completion of another academic year, the members of Mayfest will also be celebrating the success of bringing a nationally recognized party to Evanston. How does Princeton compare? It doesn’t.
The Dillo Day planning process alone is worthy of a reality TV show. An entire show dedicated to booking acts, maintaining secrecy and, of course, the madness that ensues Memorial Day weekend, has the foundation for a plotline that could be America’s next pop culture addiction.
We’re smart, too!
Drama, sports and parties are all good and fun, but when that is taken away, what’s left is the main reason we’re here: academics. Northwestern, commonly referred to as the Ivy of the Midwest, has its fair share of nerdiness. But who says bookworms can’t make for entertaining TV?
Late night study sessions, grueling deadlines and midterms lasting from Week 3 to Week 8 are some of the rigorous academic expectations Northwestern demands of its students. Add extracurricular activities and a social life into the mix and you’ve got one busy schedule. Stefanie Groner knows what it’s like to juggle such an agenda. The Medill freshman is on her dorm’s hall government, writes for a campus publication, is heavily involved in Northwestern Jewish activities and is a CA for the upcoming school year. The five classes she is currently taking rounds out the schedule of a reality TV star in the making.
“At the end of the day I’m amazed at how it all gets done,” says Groner. “Some days I don’t think anything will get done, so I don’t know how exciting it would be, but I think everyone should try to live their life like it’s a reality TV show.”
Constant pressure to keep up motivates Northwestern students to churn out some amazing work, and the process of doing so could be TV-worthy. We may not be Princeton, but we’re not far behind.
What exactly would a Northwestern-centric reality TV show look like? Maybe it would follow engineering students as they create inventions that will shape our future. Maybe it would highlight the women’s lacrosse team in its quest for yet another national championship title. Maybe it would track the planning process of Dillo Day or another campus-wide event.
Or maybe it would get down to the core of who we are as a community; putting average Northwestern students in the spotlight to get a sense of what it’s like to be a Wildcat. From drama with friends to drama on the stage, there’s no shortage of material that could fill a TV timeslot.