Tuesday, September 22, 2009

What NYU Is That? Da7e & Muse Correct Gossip Girl

Gossip Girl, a show we’ve been watching since season one because of its fast-paced soap opera plotlines and endless attempts to remain the vanguard of fashion and hip dialogue; mildly bemusing in its modest successes and endlessly entertaining in its failures.

The first two seasons saw the colorful cast of characters wage social war in the fictional halls of Constance Billard School for Girls (around 93rd st and 5th ave), sleeping with each other, models and members of the teaching staff. The finale this spring allowed Serena, Blair, Dan, Nate, and Vanessa to head to college (though it turns out Serena wasn’t psyched about the idea). When things picked up last week on the season three premiere, Nate was about to attend Columbia while spiting the Archibald name by dating Bree Buckley and Serena was train-wrecking. The rest of our college-bound cast were off to NYU.

Which is great for us, because that’s our alma mater – at least that’s what they remind us during their phone drives for donations.. Now, outside of scoffing at Judy Blume name drops from Dan Humphrey, we can increase my scoff quota to include blatant NYU inaccuracies and Freshman year in-the-city faux pas. Faux pasi? What’s the plural?

SEASON 3, EPISODE 2: The Freshman.
Aired: 09/21/09
We went to NYU: 2003-2007

Gossip Girl’s NYU:
During the move in montage, we get our first look at Erlich Residence Hall, where student assistants in red shirts greet parents and their kids with rolling carts to carry their belongings.


- Erlich Residence Hall doesn’t exist. A sign using a font similar to NYU’s official font was place over the text on the awning that actually spells out the dorm’s address: Thirty Five Fifth Avenue. It’s called Rubin Residence Hall.


- The carts are real, but grey industrial plastic with NYU stenciled on them.

- This is something you’ll learn about NYU very fast: No one comes to you, you wait in line to go to them. Red shirts, my ass.

Both my parents couldn’t make it to my move in date and my mother didn’t want to go to New York alone, so she brought her friend and everyone thought I had two moms for, like, a week.

Chuck makes a reference to the "public showers" at NYU dorms, but one of the reasons NYU is so badass is that all the dorms are like apartments, huge, with their own bathrooms, some freshmen dorms even with kitchens. I hate it when NYU is depicted like it DOESN'T cost 46,000 a year. We do get private bathrooms for wasting spending that hunk of change.

Gossip Girl’s NYU:
Blair lectures other freshman in her dorm when she learns that her and Georgina are roommates. Georgina says this was random, though we saw her request Blair as a roommate at the end of season 2.


- To be nitpicky: that’s not how the dorms in NYU are laid out, especially not in Rubin, but we’re not expecting accurate sets here.

- From the Student Housing License:

Condition Of Premises: (A) You shall maintain the room in a clean, safe, and undamaged condition at all times. You and any other persons assigned to the room shall be jointly responsible for cleaning and maintaining any kitchens, bathrooms, or other common areas. (B) You shall not alter the room or any furnishings therein in any way without Housing’s prior written consent.

That means Blair’s wallpaper is a no-no.

- From The NYU Housing Guide:

Communication is key to a harmonious residence hall living experience. Residents receive their roommates’ contact information along with their assignment notice in early August. Talking with roommates about how to arrange the room, how to decorate, and what items each person will bring (refrigerator, lamps, etc.),

God, what would happen if there were too many lamps?!?!

- If you are going to request a roommate, the Department of Housing requires both roommates to sign a document basically to avoid the exact sort of situation featured this week.

- There would have been a nametag made out of construction paper taped to the doors of the rooms with “Blair W.” and “Georgina S.” or something. That’s like, a minimum requirement of your Freshman RA.

I did not contact my roommate, Ari Friedman, who I pre-judged to be a Hasidic Jew. Ari, a talented guitarist now studying to teach History to high school students, saw: “David Gonzales from Colorado” and assumed I was an overweight Mexican cowboy.

Muse:My freshman year roommate thought I was goth when NYU...or my mom...or someone sent her my picture. Despite my being not at all remotely goth. She was dreading meeting me. I was psyched cause she looks like Angelina Jolie and I thought that was cool.

Gossip Girl’s NYU:
Georgina says: “Go Bobcats!”


- Bonus points. That’s the real mascot, though the origin is kind of lame: The bobcat animal was only chosen because our library, Bobst has a catalog system best abbreviated as BOBCAT. Hence the new mascot. Yup, the fighting library catalogue system. It’s better than the original NYU mascot: The Violet.

There actually is an NYU costume character bobcat. I met the thing (pictured above). I guess s/he goes to sporting events. We’re good at fencing, which is a sport that needed mascots if you ask me.

Gossip Girl’s NYU:
Dan and Vanessa meet Georgina shopping for books at Bleeker and Macdougal streets.


-The Official NYU Bookstore is at 18 Washington Place, just off the park and visible because of its gigantic purple banner. It has a revolving door at the front, which makes lines god-awful and no big windows to let lots of light in like in the show.

Why buy textbooks? For one of my introductory classes, I just made trips to the bookstore every other day and ripped out the pages I needed from a textbook I hid at the back of the shelf. Then again, I wasn’t a Humphrey VanDerWoodsen-Bass.

The bookstore that is providing texts for the Fauxshmen looks to be McNally Jackson books on Prince St. in SoHo. Not on campus.

Gossip Girl’s NYU:
Blair holds a sushi/sake party in the common room.


-For the first few months, people had lots of sex in the common room. You’re not supposed to, but until you know your roommate well enough to kick him or her out, where else are you supposed to hook up?

Also, I don’t think a whole bunch of sake is allowed in the freshman dorm, though I suppose if you signed in a sushi chef and tipped them some sake, the dorm guards will let you in.

If Blair has enough power to throw a sushi and SAKE party in a freshmen room dorm and got in on a favor from someone really important, you'd think she could get in the best freshman year dorm also...which is obviously Hayden :). Or I'm bias? But that's not REALLY relevant.

You’re bias. We used to call you guys the Hayden Hipsters behind your backs…and to your face.

Gossip Girl’s NYU:
Georgina makes friends with a Orientation Week kegger on the roof of the dorm.



- We don’t think we’ve ever been on the roof of an NYU dorm. Yeah, three people committed suicide by jumping to their death our freshman year, so this might be a fairly recent thing. But still. Only one of those three jumpers leapt from a dorm room, the others plunged from the library.

- Lets say you did get on the roof (say you could access certain roof areas in the Third North Dorm by removing some protective window hardware?), you’d have to keep it down, not haul in the keg, the kiddie pool, a DJ who loves Cobra Starship…and Christians.

- Props for the red cups at a kegger, if only the kegger was realistic. It’s be bottles, because that’s what the bodegas that don’t card freshman during Orientation Week sell you. Because they’re expensive and you just want to get wasted.

Gossip Girl’s NYU:


Georgina and Dan wake up on the roof after Georgina’s party. They’re on a couch. There’s a bike in the background.


-What freshman brings a bike to college the first week? Even if you did, who brings it to the roof for a random party? Then leaves it there overnight?

- Moving a couch out of your room is forbidden, unless everyone in the hall moves their furniture against the elevators and stairs. Then you need to quickly draft a declaration of socio-academic autonomy and no one can stop you. Except maybe your RA Andy. But it’s okay, Andy was cool in hindsight.

I’d also suggest to Georgina that sleeping on Dan’s lap while wearing hoop earrings, to me, says that the earring is going to get caught on his fly and rip out of her ear. Just sayin’.

Closing Thoughts On “The Freshman:”

I can only hope this show is going to tackle NYU dive bars and stereotypes amongst the various schools, but who knows if we’ll even get that specific?

This episode wasn’t GG’s best, but I foresee many NYU inaccuracies in the season (seasons?) to come. At least until they move off campus.

Muse: A Lady Gaga reference would have been more fitting than Chuck's reference to Liza (even over Madonna at this point). There's also the fact that at least no one I knew went to any freshmen orientation events whatsoever.

What is that coffee shop they are in all the time? Is it something near campus? Did I miss something?

I also have a complaint that the geeks discussing Battlestar at an NYU party would actually most likely be cool & attractive looking, not obvious dorks. And why was no one smoking cigarettes at a roof party? I guess good for Gossip Girl, but like, kids smoking cigarettes pretty much defines what I was surrounded by Freshmen year.

At the end of the day, even when Gossip Girl gets NYU wrong, it still doesn't come close to the offensive inaccuracies of how LIFE WORKS that is 90210. Blech.

Da7e: Blech, indeed. Want to watch some Battlestar and smoke some cigarettes, you attractive NYU Grad, you?

See full post

Crossposted from Read It Or Don't


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