September 1, 2009

A Field Guide To Life – NYC Prep

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I returned this May from a semester studying abroad in St. Andrews, Scotland, and immersing myself back into American culture has been unexpectedly seamless. Despite having an unbelievable time jigging to bagpipes, slinging whiskey, and pretending to like mayonnaise on everything, I’ve had no trouble adjusting to the good old U S of A.

What makes Americans different from the British? Not too much, actually. The same social niches and tropes exist; it’s just that people with funnier and more entertaining accents fill the voids. At the University of St. Andrews, my place of study, you’ll still find your overachieving snob who just wants to get into “Uni”, as it’s called there (pronounced yoo-nee). You’ll find your comical and lovable idiot who “reckons he’s never sat for an exam”, and you’ll even find your “I was meant to be in pictures” aspiring actress.

But you’ll find these people (and more) just about anywhere. In Summer 2006, I noticed a number of my awkward “I know you from Facebook” friends had joined a group called “99.9% of the People You Will Meet in College”, despite the fact that neither they nor I had ever set foot on a college campus. After my time spent abroad, I started realizing that these aren’t just archetypes you’ll find in college, but the whole world ‘round.

99.9% of the People You Will Meet in College

But you’ll also find these characters on Bravo’s summer series, NYC Prep.

I spent my summer logging, developing, researching, and of course transcribing reality television footage for a New York City-based production company, so let’s just say watching the show was research. What makes the show so riveting? They’re just like little people…only kids! I laughed when PC posed provocatively during his time as a photography intern. I cried (from laughing) when Sebastian’s “Build Wells in Africa” charity event failed to boost his chances with girls in the prep school scene. And I’d bet good money that Camille ends up getting rejected from Harvard and gracing the Hill with her presence, even if it’s just her safety school.

New York Magazine features a “NYC Prep – Meet the Cast” cartoon online

During this first full week of class in my last year at Cornell, I’ve realized I don’t know as many people as I did last year, due to the tragic g-word…graduation. And while that’s both depressing and pathetic, I look forward to finding our own Jessie, PC, and Taylor from my favorite summer show.