Post Academic

Academia as TV, redux (with poll)

Yesterday, one of our bestest blog compatriots Worst Professor Ever put out a call to post/academics to pool our collective grad school/ faculty experiences, along with whatever’s left of our creative energies after our spirit-sucking time in academia, and put together a “FX-style-show about professors.”  So please heed Worst Prof’s “Prof Pitch ’10”:

So c’mon, throw your hat in the ring. We need names, plotlines, dialogue, whatever — and a name for our show, especially, since I’ll be the first to admit Professors On the Edge sucks pretty hard — too soap-y, not scary enough.

Well, this reminded me that we tried to find the best TV analogy for academia a while back, though our goal wasn’t to come up with a treatment or a pitch, but more just an excuse to write about TV.  So here’s our first contribution — hopefully of many to come — to Worst Prof’s worthwhile and ingenious project.

"1950's television" by Zaphod (Creative Commons license)


Below are some picks we offered as to what might make for the most compelling dramatic, comedic, or reality TV reinterpretation of academia.  We left off one obvious choice: Seinfeld, seeing as it’s a show about nothing.

1. Top Chef: Take a bunch of talented, competitive grad students, some of whom are total a-holes–but only one will win the title of “top geek.”  Put them through a series of challenges, from “Quickfire” abstract submissions to “Elimination Challenges” that involve convention interviews and teaching demos, and bring on celebrity academics as the judges.  And only one person ends up with a tenure-track position, though I’ll take the 1-in-20 odds over the 200+ applicant pool of any actual job search in a heartbeat.  Bonus points for making these folks live together in the same house.  Of course, we actually turned this idea into our Post Academic “original” virtual reality series, “Top Grad Student”!

More academia-TV analogies below the fold…