July 17, 2011


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The Late Show with David Letterman
My sense here is that Letterman was making a Vassar-related joke more or less all week, but I was able to catch this one clip. Since I missed the original joke, it’s now just a unanchored punchline and I really don’t know what it was about.

Thanks to Stephanie Burkland for the tip.

Leap of Faith
I've known about this since the day after it aired but it took 10 years to locate a copy. The show was canceled after 6 episodes and completely sucked down the memory hole. A laughtrack-free sitcom on life in the big city for a single young woman. Here our protagonist meets up with a former childhood friend; their life paths have diverged, and the friend is high-society, while our protagonist is more spunky and down-to-earth. Ugh, I know. But the Vassar punchline's not bad.

Cedric the Entertainer Presents
This short-lived television variety show starring a major black comic is one of only three clips I know about with the reference coming from African-American characters (the others are the sitcoms Girlfriends and Living Single). This is a recurring character—the sassy Cafeteria Lady. Vassar as a character point but I can’t quite say for what.

An original movie for Lifetime, Jenna Elfman is on trial in this scene for stalking her married boyfriend. Her psychological problems start to become more and more apparent. Vassar as character point, but unless it’s a marker for “nuts”, I don’t really know what it speaks to.

Thanks to Angela David Beatty ’93 for the tip.

Igby Goes Down
Unusual and interesting movie about some quirky young New Yorkers. Claire Danes refers in this scene to her parents’ intellectually rarefied profession. (See other unusual faculty on Batman.)

Thanks to Susannah Renzi ’93 for the tip.

The Time Machine
This scene was shot at Vassar—according to the Quarterly, they filmed in Rockefeller and New England, but this little bit is all that made it into the movie (or at least, all that was recognizable). The students are Vassar students working as extras.

The Banger Sisters
Comedy about a reunion of two friends who were groupies together when they were younger. Now parents, this is just a character point for a place for a wealthy and intelligent girl.

Thanks to M. Davis and Stephanie Burkland for the tip.

The Hebrew Hammer
My personal favorite in the whole collection. The scene is brilliantly funny, and the Vassar joke just makes it all the better. Vassar as an aspirational place for Jews.

Girls Will Be Girls
A super-campy movie with drag queens playing their own personas. Here they discuss their sordid pasts. Vassar as character point for a very sexual place.

Undercover Christmas
A wretched made-for-tv movie, where cocktail waitress Jami Gertz witnesses a crime, and is taken home for Christmas by the investigating detective for protection. She meets his mother, Tyne Daly, and they do not mix; Gertz is uneducated, Daly a socialite. In this scene, they finally make a connection...and then go out for the inevitable makeover montage scene. Vassar as character point for sophisticated and elegant.

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