Bob Saget Loves Seal and Serpent, Part II

9 12 2010

I live in my grad student bubble.  So I was pleasantly surprised when Matthew Nagowski over at Metaezra happened to write an entry about the A&E Channel’s airing of the episode of “Strange Days with Bob Saget” that has everyone’s favorite dad from Full House “pledging” and joining the fraternity, complete with formals, toga parties and pledge activities. Conveniently, the episode is free to watch on A&E’s website.

I remember writing up a brief entry last spring after this blog was swamped with questions in the search bar asking why Bob Saget was on campus, and then quickly forgot about the whole thing. It was a minor newsmaker, sure, but it was just one event in a stream of activities taking place around and about campus. The only time it ever came up again was when Seal or someone in their house would come up in conversation, and if this conversation was with someone else in the Greek system, the line “I can’t believe that Bob Saget went to Seal to film his show” often followed suit. Not many people in the system were pleased about Seal hosting such a high-profile event, since Cornell’s Greek Life would be publicized (and stereotyped) as a tudor-style house on Thurston Avenue. It seemed to be the general sentiment that there were low expectations for the episode, because it was thought its portrayal (either on the show’s part or the brothers’ part) would be unflattering and give a bad impression of the system.

I’ll admit that as a member of another house, I was a bit weary of Seal’s involvement. I actually had been to the house on a number of occasions because one of my best friends at Cornell was engaged to a senior in the house (they are now happily married). The first floor, with its wood finishes and giant Seal and Serpent lineage flow chart, did not fail to impress. I was less enamored by the party area in the attic (which is a bit abnormal, since most houses have party spaces in the basement) and some of the eccentricities of members (between friends, we affectionately referred to one brother as the “Beer Pong Nazi” while a second brother was infamous for a comment regarding the difference between “rapeability” and “rape-ability”, which is better left unwritten), but overall, they struck me as a fairly harmless bunch of guys, not without their quirks but with a very well-heeled and active alumni base.

So I watched the whole episode through. I thought it was entertaining. It was certainly enjoyable to see some of the guys I knew in Seal dressed up and being polite and respectable in front of the cameras (especially since I knew better). I thought that the impression they gave of Cornell’s system was adequate and not particularly offensive. I was also watching the episode while keeping in mind some of the details of what went on behind-the-scenes.

It was explained to me over the weekend as they were filming that there were some alterations from reality (even more so than pledging that only lasts a weekend). For the party scene, they couldn’t serve to anyone under 21 due to legal obligations. Well okay, that makes it less realistic, but that’s to be expected. However, they could only play generic rock music at the party so they could avoid issues and fees with copyrighted material. That seemed even more unrealistic to me than the lack of underage drinking. At least the show did pick up the tab for the brothers’ party costumes and food/drink, which were more impressive than your typical toga party fare. If I recall correctly, Bob Saget was also at an “IFC Meeting”, but it appears any footage that might’ve been taken from that event was cut from the final production.

Watching the show and treating it as just a show with creative license made the episode much more enjoyable. The episode cast Cornell in a positive light, and lewd jokes aside, it wasn’t offensive to anyone. I wouldn’t call it accurate, but it’s entertaining, and that’s what matters, I suppose.

Bob Saget Loves Seal and Serpent

22 04 2010

So, some folks might have noticed today that Bob Saget is on campus (again). Their seems to be some buzz going about as to what he’s doing far above Cayuga.

Well, first things thing. According to former (retired?) Ivygate editor Max Wasserman,

“…he’s filming for his new A&E show about interesting subcultures. So the specific subculture he’s covering at Cornell is fraternities and the plan is that he will actually go through initiation. The reason why he’s in Ithaca following Seal & Serpent  is that the producers approached national fraternities about filming, but the national chapters were reluctant to have their secret rituals filmed at any of their houses. The producers then decided to look at independent fraternities as they don’t have to deal with national chapters. They approached S&S (oldest independent fraternity in the country) who agreed. The producers were present at the frat’s initiation dinner a few weeks ago.

So that’s why Bob Saget is at Cornell. He’ll be there through the weekend when I believe he will go through initiation himself (though I could be wrong). There also may be another going-on at the frat related to the filming, but I’m not sure about that yet.”

Well, one of my best friends at Cornell happened to make it the topic of our lunch discussion, before I even heard Bob Saget was on campus. Originally I included how they knew so much. I removed it in case some hypersenstive brother goes on a witch hunt (ed.) Apparently, the program is paying for Seal to do a formal Friday night, tuxes, dates and all. Opinions of Seal aside, just about any fraternity (I’m not even humoring the thought of it being anything else but a normal Cornell fraternity) would love to have the cost of a formal covered. Also, though perhaps stereotypically so, the program is paying Seal to host a toga party Saturday night. I have no idea whether that is open or not.

Yeah, so, congrats to Seal. I think.