July 17, 2011


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Book of Daniel
Points for obscurity on this one—it’s a show that lasted only four episodes in 2006. Aidan Quinn is an Episcopalian priest, as is his father. His sister-in-law’s husband has run off with $300,000 of church funds and he’s here confronting the sister-in-law about a mystery woman the husband was known to be sleeping with. A secret, and a great Vassar reference, is revealed.

The scene doesn’t really look it, but the show is about a post-nuclear-war America, with the survivors rebuilding life in the Midwest. Vassar is revealed as a character point for a former IRS agent.

Thanks to Jessica Forsyth ’95 for the tip.

This is a late episode in a long-running sitcom focusing on African-American middle-class characters. It’s especially interesting as there are references from black characters. (The others are Cedric the Entertainer Presents and Living Single.) In this clip, the wealthy fiancée of one of the main characters is being brought into the circle of the three main women (two of which don’t like her), and she reveals some of her history.

Thanks to Stacy Long for the tip.

Running With Scissors
Semi-autobiographical film on Augusten Burroughs's childhood, with him living under the care of an oddball psychiatrist in the doctor's home.

Thanks to Pirilti Onukar '16 for the tip
Veronica Mars
In the second-season finale of this detective show set in a high-school context, Veronica Mars is having a dream where she’s seeing her friend who was killed in the prior season. Vassar seems to be a good choice in the afterlife as well.

Thanks to Lauri Friedman Scherer ’99 for the tip.

Georgia Rule
This movie’s not nearly as bad as its reputation, although you may not believe me from watching these scenes. Lindsay Lohan is a wild child whose mother (Felicity Huffman) has parked her for the summer before she goes off to college in Idaho with her grandmother (Jane Fonda). Lohan’s sexual forwardness is somewhat at odds with the sedate Mormon lifestyle of the nice young man she meets. Here she’s being introduced to his girlfriend. In later scenes, Lohan’s fighting with her mother and grandmother about her future plans is lagely oriented around whether she’s lying to them about her stepfather sexually abusing her.

The Education of Charlie Banks
This movie takes place at an unnamed college. It was shot at Brown, but from a couple of references that place them in Poughkeepsie, it would appear that it’s supposed to be Vassar.

The L Word
Drama about a group of LGBT people - emphasis on the L. In this scene, Cybill Shepherd is the now-lesbian ex-wife of Bruce Davison.

Cold Case
This procedural investigates old cases - sometimes more than a century old - and uses dramatic re-enactments. Downton Abbey, it ain't.

American Dad
Seth MacFarlane of Family Guy fame has this show about a superpatriot CIA agent. It draws heavily on post-9/11 right and center-right tropes for its humor...and this entry takes the Vassar-girl-as-radical joke a little farther than usual.

Me & Orson Welles
Claire Danes makes her second appearance (see Igby Goes Down) in this period piece about Welles’s Mercury Theater. A character point for an intelligent woman.

Hamlet 2
A funny film with English comedian Steve Coogan creating a very crazy theatrical production that stirs up some community ire in Tucson. Saturday Night Live alum Amy Poehler delivers our line, playing ACLU attorney Cricket Feldstein.  A character point of no particular moment.

Thanks to Chris Larkosh ’87 for the tip on this one.

Generation Kill
David Simon's series about modern warfare, following a company of Marines through Iraq is a very rough, crude ride. In this clip, some of the Marines are chewed out for making sexist comments toward a female soldier. 

This comedy series about a detective with obsessive-compulsive disorder finds him needing to question a chess master. His partner’s daughter comes to the rescue, with money and skills.

Friday Night Lights
A popular tv drama set in the world of Texas high-school football, here a substitute guidance counselor is learning the ropes from a veteran. Nice to see Vassar treated as a good school!

Thanks to "Big" Dave Landres '95 for the tip.

Nothing But the Truth
This terrible, self-important film is based loosely on the story of Judith Miller, the New York Times journalist who went to jail to protect her source, mixed in with the Valerie Plame story about outing a CIA agent. (Can you think of a more miscast screen couple than Kate Beckinsale and David Schwimmer?) Beckinsale, the journalist, has revealed the identity of a CIA agent and is being threatened with jail if she doesn’t reveal her source. In the second scene, she’s doing a TV interview from jail with someone who’s supposed to be a Barbara Walters-type.

Thanks to Avery Chenoweth ’80 for the tip.

The Cleaner
This short-lived A&E show about a, wait for it, rogue/underground substance abuse counselor, has people hiring Benjamin Bratt to get their loved ones off drugs when they can't go through above-board channels. Here's a scene of one of these initial consultations, about a Vassar woman who's starting to lose it.

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