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Glory Daze aired from November 2010 until January 2011 on TBS.
GLORY DAZE follows the fun – and awkward – misadventures of four freshmen as they navigate college life, trying to figure out who they are and who they want to be. Joel (Kelly Blatz) is a typical guy next door who is determined to keep his focus on pre-med, at least until he meets his unattainable dream girl, Christie (Julianna Guill). Eli (Matt Bush) is a virgin who desperately wants to be cool. Jason (Drew Seeley) is a buttoned-downed conservative, attached at the hip to his preppy girlfriend. Brian (Hartley Sawyer) is a star baseball player struggling to get out of his father’s shadow. Together, the guys agree to check out fraternity houses, finally coming to the steps of Omega Sigma, where they are greeted by pledge recruiter Mike (Callard Harris). Intrigued by the fraternity’s cool factor, their fate is sealed. They begin a journey that will make a lifetime of memories.
A Review from variety
Posted: Sun., Nov. 14, 2010, 7:23pm PT
(Series -- TBS, Tues. Nov. 16, 10 p.m.)
By Brian Lowry
Filmed in Los Angeles by Warner Horizon Television. Executive producers, Walt Becker, Michael LeSieur; producer, Ken Ornstein; director, Becker; writers, Becker, LeSieur.
Joel Harrington - Kelly Blatz Eli Feldman - Matt Bush Jason Wilson - Drew Seeley Brian Sommers - Hartley Sawyer Reno - Callard Harris Christie DeWitt - Julianna Guill Chang - Tim Jo Stankowski - Chris D'Elia Tom "Turbo" Turkey - James Earl Zack Miller - Josh Brener Professor Haines - Tim Meadows
Every generation needs its own "Animal House," which is fortunate for TBS' "Glory Daze," an easygoing new hourlong comedy series mixing nostalgia with frat-house hijinks. While the brothers of Omega Sigma don't score particularly good grades for originality (including the show's generational leap backward, just as "Animal House" did), they register reasonably well on the laugh spectrum, weaving in enough Reagan-era references to elicit smiles from the present college-age crowd and maybe their parents. As for the liberal borrowing from that aforementioned 1978 comedy, TBS can always hope its creators (and their lawyers) are too stoned to remember the similarities.
Set in 1986, "Daze" opens with Joel (Kelly Blatz) being dropped off at college by his dad (guest Brad Garrett), who passes along the requisite advice about focusing on studies. Given that the characters share a name, Joel almost seems to be continuing the odyssey of the "Risky Business" protagonist, picking up where that movie ended.
Joel has every intention of embracing Dad's admonition, but once he meets his dorm mates, develops a crush on a pretty classmate (Julianna Guill) and encounters Reno (Callard Harris) -- the free-spirited, skirt-chasing pledge-master of the Omega Sigma house -- it's not hard to see where Joel's spare time is going to be spent, and it's not the library.
Created by Walt Becker and Michael LeSieur, the show models so many characters after "Animal House" archetypes (hey, there's Otter -- or a dead ringer for him) it takes a while to buy into the premise. Fortunately, there are enough wrinkles to allow the formula to stand on its own, from the sex-obsessed Jewish kid (Matt Bush) to the baseball star (Hartley Sawyer) to the Asian kid (Tim Jo) who dreads the prospect of joining his dad's old fraternity.
Granted, the writers recycle so many gags -- from the stirring pledge speech to a loopy pot-hazed discussion about time being "a fluid concept" -- that there's a temptation to wince at "Glory Daze's" brazenness. Still, it's all done in such an unabashed way it's sort of hard to stay mad at them.
Accompanied by a buoyant '80s soundtrack, the premiere also includes winking mentions of Ronald Reagan and Bob Dole, a WASP-y fraternity that considers a white South African member "diversity," and a spaceship-sized beer bong. There's also a liberal professor ("Saturday Night Live's" Tim Meadows) railing against the military-industrial complex.
In addition to the fine younger cast, the show sprinkles in cameos by the likes of Garrett, David Koechner and Teri Polo. All told, it's not hard to envision "Glory Daze" happily surviving into the first Bush administration, while providing TBS' new latenight star Conan O'Brien a perfectly compatible Tuesday-night lead-in.
So chalk one up for youthful exuberance -- or perhaps the grudging recognition that when it comes to TV comedy, copycatting is a fluid concept.
Camera, Mark Doering-Powell; production designer, Stefania Cella; editor, Ryan Folsey; music, Mark Mothersbaugh; music supervisors, Jen Ross, Dave Jordan; casting, Julie Ashton-Barson. 60 MIN.
A Review from The Michigan Daily
Reliving the 'Glory Daze' with TBS's tubular comedy
BY BRIANNE JOHNSON
Daily Arts Writer
Published November 14, 2010
Welcome, class of 1986! Pack your boom-boxes and bleach those skinnies for a totally tubular year at Hayes University in TBS’s blast from the big-haired past: “Glory Daze. The show crams in decades worth of references, but still manages to pull through the night by staying relevant to the college scene.
The air is alive with the scent of Aquanet hairspray and beer-tinged breath as Joel Harrington (Kelly Blatz, “Aaron Stone”) kisses his frantic parents goodbye. Before you know it, an iconic band of desperate boys evolves on the campus lawn: the Jewish, pint-sized and eager-to-please Eli Schwartz (Matt Bush, “Adventureland”); his roommate and willing embodiment of every Asian stereotype, Alex Chang (Tim Jo, “Bandslam”); friendly jock with the hair of Robert Pattinson, Brian Sommers (newcomer Hartley Sawyer) and prep-school wannabe Jason Wilson (Drew Seeley, “Another Cinderella Story”), whose strict morals and obnoxious sweaters are more fitting for the ’50s. As the boys flock from frat to frat, trying to find their place, standard college craziness ensues — paintings are stolen, “beasts” are tamed, bongs are hit and testicles are tasered — all in good fun, of course. Once you’ve trudged your way through predictable college scenarios, feel free to enjoy many inspirational speeches and slow-motion sorority bikini parties.
Placing “Daze” in the ’80s isn’t just an excuse to feature rad music — it proves to be a great opportunity to relive the movie moments that current college students weren’t actually alive to see. As if the late John Hughes had risen from the grave (but let’s save that for the ’80s cheesy horror movies, shall we?), “Daze” tackles the “brat-pack” and other classics like no other. Chang channels Long Duk Dong of 1984’s “Sixteen Candles” as he hangs from the bunk bed upside-down. Schwartz dances through scenes like a true member of “The Breakfast Club” and Harrington’s eccentric roommate, Zack Miller (relative newcomer Josh Brener) is the modern-day Garth of 1992’s “Wayne’s World.” And don’t forget the boys’ mantra: “What would MacGyver do?”
However, the televised time-warp is definitely not your parents’ show. Despite an onslaught of feathered hair and acid-wash denim, “Daze” manages to relate to the modern generation. It covers the dominant Greek scene, the post-high school relationship drama and the pressure to fit in. “Daze” jabs at the stereotypes and issues still seen on college campuses. It transforms an Asian fraternity, seemingly strict and studious, into an underground rave, causing the students to squeal “Isn’t being Asian great?!” “Daze” even digs at affirmative action: Posh fraternity brothers speak proudly of their acceptance of the “first African” member — only to reveal a white student who just happens to be from Africa.
Yet the real charm isn’t in the fraternity houses, it’s in the characters. Schwartz exceeds words as an adorably desperate, eager freshman, lost in his own world of Christopher Reeve-looking idols and the painful art of butt-branding. Seeley’s Wilson transforms from uptight jock to sympathetically real after a night with the “beast,” an eight-tentacle beer bong that causes his blood alcohol level, and his likability, to skyrocket.
1986 may not be the freshest year — and by no means does the show give you free reign to break out the fluorescent spandex — but “Glory Daze” serves just the right amount of beloved pop culture favorites without getting stuck in the past (or whatever that is stained onto the fraternity sofa). A combination of only the best components of ’80s flicks and college fads, “Glory Daze” is earning its way to the top of the class.
A Review From The LA Times
Television review: 'Glory Daze' on TBS
If the pilot of the sitcom set at a university in the mid-'80s seems generic, at least it is sweet-tempered and the performers are appealing.
November 16, 2010|By Robert Lloyd, Los Angeles Times Television Critic
"Glory Daze," which premieres Tuesday on TBS, is a nostalgia piece set in an Indiana university in the year 1986, although it is less about life as it was lived in 1986 than it is about the movies that might have helped form a person going to college then. Chief among them would be "Animal House," but early Bill Murray or anything branded "National Lampoon" or concerning teenage boys eager to lose their virginity would also count.
That is nothing its creators — Walt Becker, the director, indeed, of the 2002 college comedy "National Lampoon's Van Wilder," and Mike LeSieur, who wrote "You, Me and Dupree" — are at any pains to disguise; in fact, it seems very much the point. But it does make their show feel secondhand, and whatever surprise or delight there is to be had from its jests and situations will be best appreciated by viewers who have somehow managed not to see any of those films, or any of the many films that copied them, or possibly any films whatsoever. It also helps if you're the sort of person who enjoys jokes about inebriation, masturbation, urination and testicles. That would not hurt at all.
Apart from some random window dressing and passing cultural references, there is no real attempt to capture the social flavor of the 1980s; with only the merest cosmetic changes, the show could be shifted whole a couple of decades backward or forward, the beer and the pot included. Yet if the pilot is generic and wan, it is at least sweet-tempered and not completely offensive (though this is somewhat at odds with its cinematic heritage). I did not like the Mexican-dwarf-as-walking-platter-of-dip gag, but for the most part the episode contents itself with the shy rituals of heterosexual male bonding. Women are both an obsession and an afterthought here.
The performers are, for the most part, appealing. The four freshmen at the series' center make a Whitman's Sampler of familiar types. Kelly Blatz is Joel, the most "normal" one, which means he is fundamentally blank past the usual fumbling niceness, and the usual crush on the usual golden girl (Julianna Guill). Jason (Drew Seeley) is a preppy young Republican whose girlfriend declares his dorm room "a perfect mix of Ralph Lauren and William F. Buckley"; Eli (Matt Bush, making an impression) is a Jewish virgin and Brian (Hartley Sawyer) a reluctant athlete. That the jock and the Reaganite are also just regular guys is as novel a notion as "Glory Daze" has to offer.
They quickly make their way to Omega Sigma, the local house of animals, where beer runs from the kitchen taps, girls in bikinis gambol upon the lawn, and the brothers project porn onto the wall of a neighboring building. The Bill Murray of this household is named Mike Reno (Callard Harris) and comes complete with plaid sports jacket, aviator sunglasses and accessory golf club. He opens his wings to take our heroes in, and thus does their real education begin.
With: Brad Garrett, David Koechner, Teri Polo.
A Review from The San Francisco Chronicle
'Glory Daze' review: Nothing glorious about it
November 16, 2010|David Wiegand, Chronicle Staff Writer
SNOOZING VIEWER Glory Daze: Comedy-drama. 10 p.m. Tuesdays on TBS.
Curse you, John Landis: If you hadn't made "Animal House," we wouldn't be subjected to so many bad film and TV wannabes even today, 32 years after the film's release.
The latest insult to the giddy greatness of Landis' film is "Glory Daze," an idiotic new series from TBS that makes "Porky's" and "American Pie" look like "A Man for All Seasons."
The new series launches tonight and may not last long enough for the boys at fictional Hayes University to make it to midterms, much less their sophomore year.
The show is set in the '80s, perhaps in some misguided hope that it will appeal to middle-aged men who want to relive their own glory days - or, at least, fantasize about what they might have been.
There's little point in wasting a lot of space describing the plot. It's about five horny freshmen from Central Casting: There's the jock, Brian (Hartley Sawyer); the Asian kid, Chang (Tim Jo); the pint-size loudmouth, Eli (Matt Bush), who talks a good game when it comes to sex but is a virgin; the preppy neo-con, Jason (Drew Seeley); and the good kid, Joel (Kelly Blatz), who is crushing on the campus goddess, Christie (Julianna Guill). The coeds are all buxom and there are several contrived opportunities for the boys to strip to their skivvies. "Saturday Night Live" alum Tim Meadows overplays a paranoid professor, and Brad Garrett makes a cameo as Joel's father.
The show's concept may not be new, but that doesn't mean it had to be mangled. There are occasional glimmers of imagination - the jock can't perform with his girlfriend because he feels he's being watched by the sports heroes in his bedroom posters. But they aren't enough. By contrast, consider the ABC Family Channel's take on frat life, "Greek," which succeeds because it deftly balances comedy with drama, is written well and, above all, features realistic characters who aren't just about hormones.
While the actors in "Glory Days" are attractive and not without talent, they're ill served by the hackneyed writing and desperate plot. These boys have only one thing on their minds and it isn't matriculation.
The rest is tedium.