“Animal House” Holds Up

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After a night of drinking way too much and striking out with girls way too attractive for me (who would’ve guessed “do you wanna see my fish tank?” wasn’t a sure fire thing), I stumbled back to my beaten down fraternity house and turned on what I was pretty sure was the television (might’ve been the oven, that would explain the smell). I was looking to watch The Office or something else I could pass out to, but instead fortune guided me to the AMC network, which was airing a rerun of Animal House. It goes without saying that the tragic story of the Delta Tau Chi house being repressed by the authoritarian Faber regime is on par with the classics of any era, like Shakespeare’s Hamlet, or Mcconaughey’s Ghosts of Girlfriends Past. What I didn’t realize, however, was how relatable the movie is to my current lifestyle, and how much I have to learn from this cultural gem.

I’m a product of Los Angeles who grew up in the movie business, and as such, in between making bullshit small talk with C-list celebrities (no one cares that you had a 4- episode stint on The Good Wife), I’ve managed to learn a few things about the industry. First and foremost, the key to a successful entry into the entertainment business is to create characters that resonate with your target audience, and few films do so better than the 1978 fraternity staple. Every chapter has a ladies’ man like Otter, a maniac like D-Day, and a wild card like Bluto, and by exaggerating these qualities and letting them play out to their inevitable conclusions, National Lampoon is able to show us the most entertaining versions of ourselves (just like when I tell girls I used to average 20, 10, and 8 before I blew out my knee). Moreover, Animal House is able to encapsulate the timeless core elements of fraternity lifestyles such as new member education (“they can’t do that do our pledges, only we can do that to our pledges!”), reckless partying (“Toga! Toga! Toga!”), and brotherhood (“I’m a zit, get it?”).

In an era dominated by PC culture and characterized by an inability or unwillingness to push the envelope, we occasionally require a reminder of the potential we all hold when we are willing to defy convention in favor of something more exciting. Just like history tells us what happened when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor (if you don’t get this reference, exit this site and go back to 4th period English with Mrs. Waters), Animal House reminds us that every house could have a few more wet bars, every party could have a few fewer guitar players, and every sorority could have a few more naked pillow fights.

Image via YouTube


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