The Secret Life of Students, Channel 4 - TV review
Ellen E Jones
Ellen is The Independent's TV critic. She writes a daily review of Last Night's TV and a weekly 'Inside TV' column for the i paper, as well as a column on general topics for the main paper most Wednesdays. Ellen is a former Hollywood correspondent and a contributing editor to Little White Lies, she's written on TV, film, lifestyle, travel and politics for publications including the Guardian, The Times, The Sunday Times, Esquire and Total Film.
Thursday 03 July 2014
Nobody had any secrets in The Secret Life of Students. That’s just the way of young people these days, which was convenient for the makers of Channel 4’s new four-part documentary series. It enabled them to keep up with the lives of 12 Leicester University first years, not only via the usual documentary methods of interview and observation, but also by sharing their every tweet, text, email and status update with the audience at home.
All of last night’s freshers fitted neatly into the stereotypes that all grads will remember – if not from their own student days, then from the sitcom Fresh Meat. There was J.P.-a-like Aiden, a self-described “right-wing conservative” whose idea of a big night out involved inserting a vodka-soaked tampon up his anus. His unfortunate prey Josie, even shared the name of her sitcom equivalent.
Despite their questionable choices, they were a sympathetic bunch, particularly teetotal, history boff Lauren. This episode, she was confronted with the dilemma at the crux of all socialising:“the dilemma all anti-social people must face; lead a life of miserable solitude? Or ingratiate yourself with the surrounding morons? Lauren did her best to fit in with her hall-mates, but she drew the line at a Nazi-themed drinking game. “What’s wrong?” asked one girl, putting a sympathetic hand on Lauren’s shoulder, “Do you just really hate Hitler?”
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