Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Yuletide TV Day 5: Dorm Life

Photo courtesy of a Google image search
Series: Dorm Life

Episode: S1E20 "Finals"

Original airdate: May 27, 2008

Santa? Shane-ta Claus

Other holidays mentioned: None

Availability: YouTube and Hulu

Unique Christmas Story:
Unfortunately, there isn't a neat little theme song to explain what Dorm Life is, so I'll do my best to give you the gist of this web series in a few short sentences.

Dorm Life follows the lives of freshmen students living on the fifth floor of a dormitory at a University in California. It takes a mockumentary approach similar to The Office except the characters use their laptop webcams for their testimonials.

Yeah, ok, that's good enough.

A significant part of Christmas is trying to wrap up everything else going on in our lives so we can set it aside and enjoy the holiday. This episode isn't exactly a Christmas episode in the way the previous episodes I have covered are, but it as more of an episode in preparation for Christmas. That's all I'm trying to here anyway, so I figure it still works.

In college, the end of a semester is a celebration of itself, but it's also a time of anxiety. During freshman year people spend four months trying to settle in only to be shipped back home for three weeks. When things come to an end it causes people to act in very peculiar ways. They take drastic action that under normal circumstances they wouldn't even consider.

It is these ideas that drive "Finals." While Dorm Life features an impressive sprawling cast of characters, this episode is mostly about three of the male protagonists, Mike, Gopher and Danny B. summing up the courage to go after the girls they have been crushing on all semester.

Each are different stages with the girl they like and begin asking each other for advice like:
How firm is too firm on handshakes?
Should I just walk up to her and say hey?
What? How am I the only one who didn't know that?
And: Has anyone seen that Don Cheadle movie about hotels?

They all decide to confront the girls they like and (SPOILER) they all crash and burn in a variety of spectacular fashions. Even though these guys fail, the emotional stakes get progressively raised in each scene.

Mike approaches Brittany who he just realizes has liked him all semester, only to find out she's been seeing someone else. It hurts, but Mike is almost Ted Moseby-ish in that he is kind of the center of the ensemble, but is not even close to being the most interesting character.

Elsewhere Danny B. takes a girl he met in the elevator to play puttputt, only to find out she appreciates him as a friend. His experience stings a little more, but he never puts himself out there to get rejected. She just puts him in the friend zone without him telling her how she feels.

The killer is Gopher, who suits up, grabs some flowers and writes a letter to Abigail. He lays it all on her doorstep, literally, only to have her quietly tell him she's engaged before shutting the door in his face.

We put everything aside once we get to the 24th of December. Our brains switch gears and we focus up on Christmas. Most of us know what we're doing from Dec. 24 through Jan. 1, but what lies on the other side is a mystery. So while the end of this episode has three guys moping about in the hallway of a college dorm, they know they're leaving only to come back to a whole new realm of possibilities.

Watch the entire episode below and share your thoughts in the comments.

Unique Christmas Message:
Celebrate the season with a smile in your heart and a song on your face.

I go from college back to grade school and kick off a string of animated episodes.

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