Six things I’ve learnt watching Fresh Meat


When Fresh Meat first aired in 2011, I had just gone through the ordeal most commonly known as Fresher’s week. Interested to know how Peep Show creators Jesse Armstrong and Sam Bain would portray university life, I at first found Fresh Meat surprisingly realistic... except that university students do work some of the time, but that wouldn’t make for very entertaining television.

The first episode is memorable not only because its opening scene is of Howard (Greg McHugh) hanging some sort of meat up in the living room and wearing ‘trousers of the mind’, but also because of an uncannily realistic scene where the newly introduced housemates talk about what kind of hot beverage they prefer, for want of a more interesting subject. The awkward tension is so palpable you could snap it with as much as the blunt side of a spoon - and it iss almost exactly what my fresher’s was like.

By the end of the second season, then, I’ve learnt a couple of useful tips and suggestions by watching the peaks and pitfalls of the Fresh Meat characters.

Make friends with everyone

In the Fresh Meat house, no one is quite alike. There’s JP (Jack Whitehall) the posh public school boy with a tendency to either ruthlessly shorten or add ‘ers’ to every other word (for example, James Blunt will become ‘Blunters’, banter will become ‘bants’).

Among others, there is Kingsley (Joe Thomas), the awkward musician flaunting a soul-patch, Josie (Kimberley Nixon) the girl-next-door, Heather (Sophie Wu) the hipster ‘sarcastronaut’, and Vod (Zawe Ashton) the anarchist.

University is a place of diversity: racially, financially, physically, sexually and intellectually. Any given square mile of any campus is like a petri dish of individuals. It would be a shame not to get to know someone from the Capoeira or Adventure Gaming societies – but if those areas are too wild and out of your comfort zone, at least meet someone on a different course.

Protest something

Quickly, before you get older and realise that you’re powerless to change anything. Throw blood at an innocent sandwich bar that sells coffee, spill oil all over the buffet at a BP recruitment dinner. One of the benefits of being a student is the freedom to be idealistic, before the cold harsh reality of the real world hits home.

Start a band

Where else could you start one? Kingsley wonders whether, if he starts working for BP, they might have an in-house band. At which point Heather argues, sarcastically, that “it’s not exactly how The Prodigy met”.

Don’t start a band

The chances of making a living in the music industry are dismal. Although Kingsley’s nonsense song The Implodium Implodes (actually written by Blur’s Graham Coxon) is kind of fun, his erratic neck movements make the live show unbearable to watch. And even if you do make it, NME will box your music into a suitably drab genre.  “Guess that’s for the NME to decide. Ooh, everything in its little pigeon hole!” as Kingsley would say.

Don’t take your parents for granted

JP goes through a poignant journey when his father dies of a ‘hearters’ (heart-attack), and his original family home is sold. It is easy to take home for granted when living the life of a student, but Fresh Meat shows us that things can change while we’re away.

Some of us may go weeks between contacting parents, but just remember, each week may be their last. I don’t want to sound like a sentimentalist, but it’s worth given the folks a call every now and again, if only to check that they’re still alive.

Encourage drama in your life

As though life isn’t difficult enough. Still, try having an affair with your lecturer, break up with them, and then fall in love with someone of the same age who actually turns out to be their offspring. That’s more like it.

While the infinitely varied life of a university student is something that must be difficult to capture on screen, I applaud the Fresh Meat team for a damn good attempt.  

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Arts and Entertainment
Judi Dench appeared at the Hay Festival to perform excerpts from Shakespearean plays
tvJudi Dench and Hugh Bonneville join Benedict Cumberbatch in BBC Shakespeare adaptations
Arts and Entertainment
Exhibition at the Centre Pompidou in Metz - 23 May 2012
Is this how Mario Balotelli will cruise into Liverpool?
Ronahi Serhat, a PKK fighter, in the Qandil Mountains in Iraqi Kurdistan
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Student

Junior Quant Analyst - C++, Boost, Data Mining

£25000 - £35000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Junior Quant Analyst - C++, Boost...

Service Desk Analyst- (Desktop Support, Help desk)

£25000 - £35000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Service Desk Analyst- (Desktop Su...

Service Desk Analyst- Desktop Support, Helpdesk, ITIL

£20000 - £27000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Service Desk Analyst- (Desktop Su...

Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £40,000: SThree: SThree Group have been well e...

Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

The President came the nearest he has come yet to rivalling George W Bush’s gormless reaction to 9/11 , says Robert Fisk
10 best men's skincare products

Face it: 10 best men's skincare products

Oscar Quine cleanses, tones and moisturises to find skin-savers blokes will be proud to display on the bathroom shelf
Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape
eBay's enduring appeal: Online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce retailer

eBay's enduring appeal

The online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce site
Culture Minister Ed Vaizey: ‘lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird’

'Lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird'

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey calls for immediate action to address the problem
Artist Olafur Eliasson's latest large-scale works are inspired by the paintings of JMW Turner

Magic circles: Artist Olafur Eliasson

Eliasson's works will go alongside a new exhibition of JMW Turner at Tate Britain. He tells Jay Merrick why the paintings of his hero are ripe for reinvention
Josephine Dickinson: 'A cochlear implant helped me to discover a new world of sound'

Josephine Dickinson: 'How I discovered a new world of sound'

After going deaf as a child, musician and poet Josephine Dickinson made do with a hearing aid for five decades. Then she had a cochlear implant - and everything changed
Greggs Google fail: Was the bakery's response to its logo mishap a stroke of marketing genius?

Greggs gives lesson in crisis management

After a mishap with their logo, high street staple Greggs went viral this week. But, as Simon Usborne discovers, their social media response was anything but half baked
Matthew McConaughey has been singing the praises of bumbags (shame he doesn't know how to wear one)

Matthew McConaughey sings the praises of bumbags

Shame he doesn't know how to wear one. Harriet Walker explains the dos and don'ts of fanny packs
7 best quadcopters and drones

Flying fun: 7 best quadcopters and drones

From state of the art devices with stabilised cameras to mini gadgets that can soar around the home, we take some flying objects for a spin
Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

The midfielder returned to the Premier League after two years last weekend. The controversial character had much to discuss after his first game back
Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

British No 1 knows his consistency as well as his fitness needs working on as he prepares for the US Open after a ‘very, very up and down’ year