James Franco’s USC reality show may not be so bad

Not every University can say that they have a reality show about them.

But then again, not every school is USC.

This past week, the internet went aflutter with the release of the trailer for “Undergrads” – a pseudo-documentary series from Dave and James Franco.


Featuring real-life SC students – you might recognize a few from your classes – the show is supposed to be documenting what really goes on at this famed University.

Highlights from the trailer include a drunken game of Twister at a tailgate, a fierce dismissal of a boy in front of a frat, calling girls fat and of course: parties, parties and more parties.

Reactions have included everything from horrified to honored to embarrassed. After all, this is a school that has weathered storms from sexist emails to sex on a roof – not much can shock us anymore.

I find the show quite hilarious-looking. I mean, if you can’t laugh at yourself then you can’t laugh at anything. And if anyone tries to say that what the producers portray in the show is the antithesis of SC life, then they’re in fierce denial.

I’m not claiming that all Trojans are party-obsessed hounds. But people are forgetting the fact that Dave Franco went to this school; he’s not pulling the situations out of thin air. We have to stop trying to prove we’re something we’re not. There’s no harm in admitting the facts: we like to party.

The school has already released a statement declaring that it could have been filmed on any college campus, (see a blog with the full statement here) and I agree. It just so happened that SC was chosen.

As long as people realize that A) this is scripted, B) the painful acting is not representative of our incredible Theatre programs and C) it embodies a small portion of our population, then there’s no reason why we can’t all just laugh and have a good time.

View the trailer for “Undergrads” here.

15 replies
  1. Anonymous
    Anonymous says:

    I think it should be pointed out that the person who wrote this ‘article’ is a member of the Greek community.

  2. Sorry for partying
    Sorry for partying says:

    Sorry I’m a sweet bro who likes to party.

    Don’t even try to argue the fact that minorities have all the power at this school. I’ve never encountered such widespread racism promoted through “diversity” as I have st USC

    • Seriously?
      Seriously? says:

      Wow. I don’t even know where to begin responding to this post. “Minorities have all the power at this school,” and, “widespread racism [is] promoted through ‘diversity'”?

      White students make up 40.9% of the total USC undergraduate student population, an overwhelming plurality. Black (4.6%), Hispanic (13.9%), and “other” (5.8%) students comprise a paltry 24.3% of the student body. Asians make up an additional 22.6%. The rest (12.3%) are international students, who may come from any one of 115 different countries, so it’s impossible to say with any certainty whether they are “minorities” by your definition or not.[1] I suppose if you define “minorities” as “nonwhite” students (including Hispanic students), then the “minorities” edge out the whites by 6.0%. However, even using this incredibly broad definition, your supposed “minorities” hardly hold a huge concentration of power (they are still, remember, a plurality). Moreover, the demographics of USC (at least with respect to the white v. nonwhite dichotomy you seem to be so concerned about) essentially mirror those of the State of California overall, where white non-Hispanics make up 40.1% of the population (so actually, USC has at least .8% more whites per capita than California overall).[2]

      In summary, the facts do nothing to support your baseless claims, which I honestly find not only racist, but downright xenophobic. Perhaps you’re just a Bruin trolling this site trying to make Trojans us look like ignorant racists. If you are a USC student, however, this repugnant comment has embarrassed you and it has embarrassed your University. I suggest you take a good long look at USC’s University Philosophy and take heed of its call to “respecting the rights and dignity of all persons.” As the Philosophy says, “We nurture an environment of mutual respect and tolerance. As members of the USC community, we treat everyone with respect and dignity, even when the values, beliefs, behavior or background of a person or group is repugnant to us. This last is one of the bedrocks of ethical behavior at USC and the basis of civil discourse within our academic community.” “We try to do what is right even if no one is watching us or compelling us to do the right thing.”[3]

      Sources cited:
      [1] http://about.usc.edu/facts/
      [2] http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/06000.html
      [3] http://scampus.usc.edu/principles-of-community/

  3. GreekFails
    GreekFails says:

    I don’t respect anything about the greek system at USC. I find it highly racist and closed off toward minorities. I am a very outgoing and social guy but the fact that I’m not white was used against me when it came for bidding. It amazes me that in this day and age racism is still prevalent. What’s even more amazing is that it exists at the very school I attended. And you might say this is untrue that there are minorities in every house. Well look at the numbers. There are probably 1-2 Asians in almost every house. I hate to say that I definitely regret my decision to attend this university, mostly due to the close minded Greeks that attend this school. Another point case for example is when I was walking by the SAE houe, I could hear snide comments because I was Asian. In my opinion the Greek system needs a major change with someone from the university to step up. The way that this college is run the world will NEVER be a better place. Let’s stop kidding ourselves and say what the Greek system really is. It’s a club for white people to feel superior and privileged and is exclusive to all other races. I’m ashamed to have Greeks apart of USC.

    • Gyro sandwiches are good
      Gyro sandwiches are good says:

      You’re stating the obvious. Greek life was started by WASPy college students. As an Asian-American person and alumnus of SC myself, I don’t think you should get bent out of shape over it. You can join an Asian frat, or just be one of the many “regular students.”

      I grew up in a predominately white, WASPy neighborhood with Asian peeps being the biggest minority group. And you got Asian peeps who want to blend in with the white kids i.e. whitewashed Asian peeps; you got the FOBs; you got the Asian-pride-gangstas; the Korean pop/drama fanatics, etc. You got to find your own niche.

      I used to get upset that there weren’t enough Asian people in Hollywood, pop music, pop culture, etc…But what do you expect? Hollywood is run by…not gonna say it. It’s not racist. It’s just human nature. People stick to their own..and I don’t need to explain why.

      • GreekFails
        GreekFails says:

        No a lot of white people are racist in the inside they’re just good at hiding it. Who would want to join the Asian frat at USC? Let’s not kid ourselves. People stick to their own because white people think they’re better then everyone else. Another example, is growing up going to white parties they wouldn’t let Asians in just because the fact we were Asian. It’s funny how the Greeks always say that minorities aren’t really interested in rushing in the first place. The reason is because they don’t want us there in the first place! I assure you if the Greek system or I should say what it really is, if WHITE people weren’t so close minded there would be a greater diverse group of people. Just because you were born a certain color does NOT make you any better then another group of people. I think the Greek system needs to do MORE to integrate all ethnicities at USC. Isn’t the whole point of college to have a new experience? When you can’t even have that what good is USC? How do you grow as a person? I laugh when I go to these events and each house brags about how diverse they are. When I look around there’s only 1-2 asians, 3-4 blacks. Their definition of “diverse” is cool people/hipsters/nerds

        • GreekFails
          GreekFails says:

          I think the Greek system and the whole row should be abolished until there’s a major change within the structure. I mean you basically have a whole block where white people are the majority. And when I say majority I don’t mean 70/30. I mean 98/2. They’re not even subtle about how racist their community is still. It’s transparent and blatant. It’s 2012 and there’s still no progress it’s a damn shame. What’s important here is that it’s sending a message to the rest of the USC community which is that you’re not welcome. And when I say “you” I mean any non-whites. How ridiculous is it that in this day and age there is still segregation? I didn’t know we were still living in the early 20th century. It’s like they’re putting themselves on a pedastool in society. Imagine if the tables were turned, and instead of the Greek row being a majority of White people, the majority was black or Asian people. The white community would be in an uproar claiming racism. I assure you there is HEAVY discrimination when it comes to accepting non-whites within all levels of the Greek system. Leaders of the USC community need to step up.

  4. Anonymous
    Anonymous says:

    Ms. Watson, minimal research on my part shows me that you may be a tad biased regarding this situation. Your title evokes only what the largest minority group at our school feels. You raise an excellent point in mentioning we Trojans enjoy having fun, and I’m not denying that. The error Mr. Franco has committed is the inaccurate representation of our community. After watching the trailer I feel embarrassed about attending our school because of the picture it paints about our student body. What makes USC unique is our diverse community and our passionate students. We celebrate these uniqueness with extravagant events, and I’m not denying how much fun they are. Liking parties and other social functions does not translate to feelings of pretentious self-entitlement and aloof douchbaggery. Being a USC student is not as displayed by this “scripted” show. Everything contained in the trailer is what I dislike most about our school, and regretfully it will probably what we will be remembered for.

  5. Nick P
    Nick P says:

    “As long as people realize that A) this is scripted, B) the painful acting is not representative of our incredible Theatre programs and C) it embodies a small portion of our population, then there’s no reason why we can’t all just laugh at have a good time.”

    those of us who are actual students have first-hand experience, and can effectively refute or testify to what is portrayed in this show. The same isn’t true of the other millions of people in the country, and billions of people in the world. It paints us in a bad light, and I doubt it’ll be obvious to the public that it isn’t authentic.

    Also, most colleges like to party, but it should be a mockumentary of an anonymous school. We really aren’t any different than other schools in respect to our social lives.

  6. Dan the Man
    Dan the Man says:

    You don’t speak for everyone at USC, and people who don’t want to be associated with the frat image aren’t in denial. The fact is that this destructive way of life is slowly dying out here, and this series makes it seem like we are all sexist, drunken, selfish losers like the semi-fictional people in this video. Where are the nerds? The hipsters? People who aren’t white? Dave Franco obviously has little respect for his alma mater. You may get a little contrarian buzz from saying we’re all too sensitive, but I’m not going to laugh this off because it’s disgusting that these people hope they can make money off of smearing us as jersey shore west.

  7. HannahK
    HannahK says:

    We can make fun of ourselves, but not by this show that is mocking us in front of the whole public in the U.S. We may be able to laugh at ourselves, but is this show really that funny for our upcoming freshmans’ parents? Also, the show did not choose to call “an anonymous school in LA” even if it didn’ t have our school’s authorization. It is completely targetting us for being party animals, and that is quite not acceptable even if many of us actually are. The show claims that it is “very accurate.” Hmm.. really?

Comments are closed.