10 p.m. Tuesdays (beginning Nov. 16)
Mash up Animal House and The Sure Thing with a little EuroTrip and Back to School, set it in 1986 and whaddya get? Glory Daze. After viewing one episode, it's hard to tell whether the show intends to be an homage or is merely a ripoff, but it's 100 percent familiar.
That was my (age 51) reaction. My 13-year-old daughter, who has seen none of the aforementioned movies (and shouldn't have seen Glory Daze, either, due to the sex, condoms, masturbation and underwear-stuffing scenes), laughed loud and often. The Reagan and Chernobyl references flew over her head, but she loves car-into-a-tree and taser-to-the-testicles scenes.
So if I'm marketing this hour-long, laugh-track-free comedy, I'm going for the teens all the way – even though the soundtrack (AC/DC, The Cars, Talking Heads, Jefferson Airplane) is pure nostalgia.
Glory Daze is set in Indiana at fictional Hayes University, which has produced seven Nobel and nine Pulitzer Prize winners, as well as a Heisman Trophy recipient, but also has a rowdy frat house (the Omegas) where they watch porn on film and run beer through the kitchen sink tap. They don't hold toga parties – not yet, anyway – but they do get monumentally stoned and drunk, and the leader of the frat does try to pick up a woman in the supermarket. Really. Where have you gone, Mrs. Wormer?
Debauchery, of course, appeals to the new pledges on campus, including straitlaced Joel, who has the same sad-sack look as Scotty from EuroTrip and Jason from Back to School; Jason, who is practically a mirror image of Boyd Gaines in The Sure Thing (and even has a Daphne Zuniga-like girlfriend, Julie); and Eli, who, like Tom Hulce's Larry Kroger in Animal House, can't wait to "dance with the devil's lettuce," as one of the characters puts it. There are two other central characters – a scholarship baseball player who doesn't want to play, whose name I didn't catch – and an Asian student named Alex Chang who, at least initially, is there to play into and then bust stereotypes.
Will the boys get asked to pledge Omega? Even my 13-year-old could figure out that one.
Glory Daze gets nice cameos from Dave Koechner as the baseball-first-last-and-always coach and Tim Meadows as a left-wing professor in a right-wing world (think of a softer version of Sam Kinison from Back to School). And the soundtrack is fun, if not terribly daring.
Perhaps this show could inspire a drinking game (Recognize the scene? Down a shot!). Will it inspire more than that? I wouldn't think so.