TV Review: ‘Glory Daze’ Plays Like Boring Rip-Off of ‘Animal House’

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CHICAGO – “National Lampoon’s Animal House” does not seem to want to leave us. It rears its bathroom-humor head on a regular basis in TV and movies. But rarely is a tribute to the iconic frat house comedy so blatant as TBS’ new comedy “Glory Daze,” debuting tonight, November 16th, 2010. Television Rating: 2.5/5.0
Television Rating: 2.5/5.0

“Glory Daze” is an ‘80s-era comedy about five very different freshmen who become friends. Among them is every stereotype in the genre – the naïve mensch main character, the sexually confident jock, the pothead Jew, the dutiful Asian, and the Young Republican prepster. Though the show attempts to play somewhat with these stereotypes, ultimately, they are pervasive and undeniably boring.

Drew Seeley, Matt Bush, Hartley Sawyer, Kelly Blatz
Drew Seeley, Matt Bush, Hartley Sawyer, Kelly Blatz
Photo credit: Eric McCandless/TBS

Stereotypes for the various frat houses as well as a cringe-inducingly cheesy opening with — what else? — an anonymous radio deejay telling the students to be “true to yourself.” It’s “American Graffiti” meets early “Beverly Hills 90210.”

Drew Seeley, Matt Bush, Hartley Sawyer, Kelly Blatz
Drew Seeley, Matt Bush, Hartley Sawyer, Kelly Blatz
Photo credit: Eric McCandless/TBS

However, even all of this didn’t have to be the kiss of death for this show. After all, with forty years of prototype to draw from, these stereotypes have been done many times and often, to very funny results. But the characters are decisively vanilla, unmemorable and vaguely rendered. They are difficult to care about, and though by the end of the pilot episode they are slightly more likable, there is still no there there.

One thing that is somewhat less stereotypical is the music. It is not completely full of the Cure, Depeche Mode and Tears for Fears, like the usual ‘80s-era period pieces.

Plus, it’s somewhat worth tuning in for the guest stars that include “SNL” alumna Cheri Oteri, “Meet the Parents”’ Teri Polo and “The Office”’s David Koechner, as well as for regular Tim Meadows as the boys’ bitter and arch-liberal conspiracist professor.

With the array of upcoming guest stars promised and the fact that the characters did become more interesting by episode’s end, it may be worth tuning in one more time to see if “Glory Daze” will be worth watching in the long term. It might be, but with the spate of other college sex comedies out there, there is no need to give it more of a chance than that to prove itself.

‘Glory Daze’ premieres on TBS on Tuesday, Nov. 16 at 9:00 p.m. CST. Starring Kelly Blatz, Matt Bush, Drew Seeley, Matt Bush, Hartley Sawyer, Tim Jo, David Koechner and Tim Meadows. TV critic Emily Riemer

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