The Best Years

The Best Years is coming back to The N on April 3rd. This is truly a momentous day for overwrought teenage angst and we should all be very thankful.

If you don’t already know (and frankly, how could you not?), The Best Years is sort of like Degrassi Goes to College. It’s on the same channel, plays the same terribly emo music, and follows the same outrageous plot moves as its sister show. But the best part is that it’s college, where the participants are roughly old enough to “know better,” and definitely old enough to “be of legal age to have intercourse.” You can imagine how this affects the show. Everywhere, characters are getting laid and taking drugs and drinking too much, because it’s college! Literally every episode makes you wonder what college exactly would let these people in. The show says it’s Harvard, or more accurately, “Charles University.” I’m skeptical.

It’s college if college was designed by 17 year-olds who had never been to school, but had rather been raised on Degrassi, Van Wilder, and the Partnership for a Drug-free America commercials. In the first episode, the main character (The hilariously-named Samantha Best) and her impossibly snobby, rich, bitchy roommate, are drinking with some douchy frat guys, and one of the guys falls off a roof and plummets to his death. In the first episode, someone falls off a roof and dies. How exactly can you top that? Well, they tried. Best friend drinks herself out of school? Check. Young celebrity develops drug problem? Check. Annoying love triangle? You betcha. Hilarious overacting? Never to be topped. The only thing to make it better will be the inevitable episode where someone smokes weed, then hits a little girl with a car or drowns in a puddle. Take it to the bank.

Of course, the show got so ridiculous it had to be canceled. Unless Russian terrorists took over the college and the main characters all had to be saved by Jean Claude Van Damme, there was no place to go. I mean, when your first move is to chuck a fat guy off of a roof and kill him, there’s not a lot of room to go up from there. But now it’s back, with almost all new characters. The main characters, Sam and her friend Noah, are the only main characters left. The bitchy roommate is gone. The basketball player is gone. The creepy coke-head bartender is gone. Dawn Vargas, the single most embarrassing character in history, is gone as well. All replaced by look-alikes so they can repeat the same story-lines over and over and over until we all want to die.

It’s a show that you watch ironically, then think that the only people watching it are all in their early 20s, watching ironically. But then you realize that your 16 year-old cousin is probably deeply involved with the characters, and in a few years she’ll head off to college thinking it’s exactly like the show. It’s entertaining if you know what college is actually like. But if you think college is actually like the show seems to suggest, I fear for you.

It’s sort of like how Degrassi started out as a “real show” with “real kids” facing “real issues,” but has morphed into The Canadian OC, Except Uglier and Less Realistic. The N has developed a cottage industry for making life seem 500% more dramatic than it is. It’s not like The N has no soul. They did develop About a Girl, which was very cute, and more of a fun parody of the drama dreck they usually put out. But of course that got canceled, and we get more episodes of college kids in love triangles and failing classes and sleeping with teachers. It’s fun, but it’s not the same kind of fun.

Don’t miss it! It will be realistic!

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