January 27, 2009

Isn't it Bromantic?

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Slope Media Group is an incredibly impressive student organization for a number of reasons. Run entirely by students, in just a few years Slope has built itself up from nothing but a few kids with a big dream to a few kids with a functional multi-media platform, with which you can not only learn how to edit online video, broadcast live radio shows and publish a magazine, but go on to use these skills to say whatever you want to whoever’s listening (or reading… or watching).
For students who crave hands-on media experience and a forum to share their opinions and creativity with the Cornell Community, Slope Media Group offers one of a kind opportunities. Unfortunately, sometimes students have the forum but just don’t have anything to say.
Nowhere have I found greater evidence of this than in the world premiere of Slope Media’s newest project, C.U. Cribs, an online television series offering an inside look at various fraternity houses that debuted on Slopemedia.org yesterday. The show is closely modeled after the better-known MTV version, which has been inviting viewers into the homes of hundreds of ostentatious celebrities since 2000.
This episode featured a tour of Sigma Alpha Epsilon (better known as SAE) led by current president Curtis Roddy ’10, who, while leading us through the house’s many floors and rooms, provided viewers with ample information about the brotherhood, as well as many of the brothers themselves.
Over the course of the episode, we learn that Roddy has a dog named Boo Boo and five African fish, whom he describes as “pretty cool fish,” as well as both an office and a bedroom with his very own shower. Jeremy “Kinetics” Dussolliet ’10, whom Roddy introduces as a “famous rapper, but actually, uhh … he’s pretty good,” offers us a peek at his bedroom and the microphone where “the magic goes down,” as well as a rap sample accompanied by the beats of brother Tim “Timmy Talent” Sommers ’10.
“Actually uhh pretty good,” indeed.
In between looks at various brothers’ bedrooms, bathrooms and beats, we learn a little about the brotherhood as well as the house’s history and achievements. Did you know they were awarded “Best SAE Chapter in 2004?” You do now. Did you know that, according to Roddy, the ice maker in their kitchen makes “a lot of ice?” You probably assumed. Did you know that their chef’s name is Jerry Temple? So many mysteries solved. In fact, by the end of the nearly 15 minute long segment, the only question I had left was, “Why am I watching this?” At this point in the year, post-rush, post-countless parties, “after hours” and formals, if you haven’t yet seen the inside of SAE, it’s probably because you haven’t wanted to.
At 15 minutes, Slope’s take on Cribs runs more than twice as long as MTV’s usual segments, which cram three celebrities’ cribs into each 21 or so minute episode. Actually, among the hundreds of athletes’, musicians’, actors’ and business moguls’ homes MTV has offered us the pleasure of exploring, only Shaquille O’Neal, Mariah Carey, Hugh Hefner, Russell Simmons and 50 Cent have had entire episodes to themselves. And Shaq had his own indoor basketball court! Mariah Carey stripped!
So given the lack of sporting arenas and the brothers’ stubborn refusal to take their clothes off, I’d argue that if nothing else, this episode droned on a little too long. Despite any illusions of grandeur the brothers may or may not hold, SAE isn’t exactly the playboy mansion, and really, neither is any other fraternity house on this campus. Although I would argue that ending the episode with Allan Amitay ’10 showing off his sound system to the tune of “Candy Shop” may put them on par with 50.
The entire allure of MTV’s Cribs is the unattainable luxury: The garages filled with Aston Martins and lamborghinis and batmobiles, the movie theaters and bowling alleys and indoor basketball courts. We watch for the over-the-top ostentatious-ness that characterizes the lives of the celebrities we love (or at least love to hate) simply because they’re famous, and we tend to watch anything and everything famous people do.
So seriously. Why am I watching this? And moreover, why is Slope filming this? Are they really trying to say that fraternity brothers are like celebrities? Really?
Either Slope Media Group is simply sucking SAE’s proverbial cock, or this is one seriously frat-tastic satire deserving a spot among the ranks of A Modest Proposal. Considering its overall hilarity I’m assuming the latter, in which case the episode’s stylistic filming and editing were not only impressive, but, combined with the music selection (seemingly stolen from the MTV show itself) lent themselves perfectly to the overall irony of the show. Or else, this show just takes itself a little too seriously. I guess that’s pretty hilarious either way.