July 17, 2011

2014 – 2016

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Here's a fairly standard sitcom reference, just putting forward Vassar as a metonym for a good college. Which I suppose it is since I know what a metonym is.
Thanks to Stephanie Burkland for the find.

Silicon Valley
Mike Judge's satire of the tech development/venture-capital world offers a wide taxonomy of geeks; this scene nails the interaction of two particular phyla.

Thanks to Mads Vassar for noting this. There's also this simply fabulous bio of the character on the (fictional) website of the site they're launching on the show. Whoever came up with the name of the Vassar a cappella group...genius.

The Blacklist
Another "Vassar cracks the case," here our heroes get the tip that leads them to realize the person they're chasing, known as the Judge, who runs an underground operation dispensing "eye for an eye" justice on officials who have wrongly convicted people, is a Vassar grad. I suppose it's not so bad to be associated as a place whence come social justice warriors.  
Thanks to Sara Falkove '96 for passing along the tip.

Twice-canceled police procedural about a woman with a perfect memory who helps the cops. I'm not even bothering watching—episode description reads that her "high school reunion is suddenly cut short when an alum shows up dead. Carrie has to remember back 22 years to understand the events that led to this crime" and the clip is a standard police procedural character point for cops reviewing suspects.

A Canadian detective drama where, if I'm following correctly, the object of the search -- a former undercover operative -- has stolen a bunch of money and has fled to Vancouver. As one does.

Set Fire to the Stars
This British movie, about Dylan Thomas, centers on John Brinnin (who, if this is to be believed, bears some complicity in Thomas's early death). This opening scene over the credits has Brinnin discussing his plans to bring Thomas for an American tour, and one of the panelists notes where he met John. For the first time in more than 200 clips, one of Vassar's publications is mentioned.

Jersey Boys
The story of the Four Seasons, this scene has a rather odd Vassar joke, clearly meant as a gay slur but I have to confess I don't get it.

The Exes
Seems like every contemporary sitcom squeezes a joke in somewhere. Here she's pretending to be her brother's wife and has to vamp when she runs into somebody who thinks they know her.

Criminal Minds
Toward the end of the episode of this long-running FBI procedural show, the intrepid investigators discover the culprit behind this week's kidnapping by realizing that her Vassar background makes her smart enough, and manipulative enough, to do e-e-e-e-e-vil. 
Thanks to Kate Saragosa '96 for the tip. 

Orange Is the New Black
This one needs no introduction.

Unreal (7 episodes)
This is a scripted drama taking place on the set of a Bachelor-style reality show; the main characters here are the producers, who manipulate the contestants into creating the kinds of character archetypes (villain, good girl, etc.) they're looking for to create the conflict and jealousy that makes for good television. In seven scenes across the first two seasons, the main character -- the assistant producer who excels at manipulation due to her narcissistic personality disorder -- is seen working the contestants, interacting with crew colleagues, and ultimately falling in love with her boss.

Bojack Horseman
A wonderful, animated Hollywood satire of a town populated by anthropomorphic animals and humans, Bojack Horseman is a washed-up actor from a popular '90s sitcom now trying to make a comeback. As a horse, he's landed the lead role in a biopic of Secretariat -- playing Secretariat. His director's daughter (named Irving) has run off for the day; she reveals her ambitions to Bojack's friend, and in a later scene, the director gives one of all-time great Vassar punchlines. 

Chasing Life
A family show centering on a young and ambitious reporter who is diagnosed with cancer. Vassar shows in two episodes as minor character points, just speaks to them being smart.  

Drama about a corporate law firm, and this is fairly self-explanatory. Just a character point for one of the regular cast members. 

A high-concept science fiction movie where fifty strangers are taken by aliens and placed in a room where they are forced to vote on who among them is the next to die. Failure to vote results in a random choice by the alien death technology. The movie shows them negotiating among themselves who is worthy to be spared. I think this was written by someone who suffered through too many bad meetings at the office.

Life in Pieces
New single-camera comedy for the 2015-2016 season, decent Vassar joke in the first season, at the expense of Sarah Lawrence grad Jordan Peele.  
Thanks to Stephanie Burkland for the catch. 

Childrens Hospital
The very clever Adult Swim short offers a devastating(ly accurate?) portrayal of Vassar a cappella.

The wonderful, high-velocity satire of our political system opened its fifth season with a great Vassar joke. Knowing the characters makes it funnier but it stands well on its own.

A comedy-drama about a divorced woman dealing with her wastrel rich brother living with her after his life crashes. Vassar as character point only.

This film came and went without much notice but has a great cast and focuses on Thomas Wolfe's time in New York around publisher Maxwell Perkins, and authors F. Scott Fitzgerald and Tom Wolfe. Here Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald speak briefly about their daughter Frances ('42 represent).

American Housewife
Another tired sitcom, but something of a...random...Vassar joke. If you can figure it out, leave a comment.

Thanks to Stephanie Burkland for the tip.

Good Girls Revolt
This show focuses on women clawing a place for themselves in the male-dominated industry of news, in the 1960s. Vassar as character point, for a smart and hardworking young woman.

Thanks to Scott Mendelsohn '93 for the catch.

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