It was not without irony that a few weeks ago I attended a day-long conference on transfer student success here at UNC and on the same day that, via Tivo, I watched the premier of the new NBC series Community. It was quite the contrast: In the conference we discussed issues like imposter syndrome and the perception of quality in our community colleges. Watching the pilot of Community I was bombarded by stereotypes — students who don't care, faculty who can be bribed, deans who are young and incompetent, and so forth.
That's not to say I didn't laugh. Actually that's not to say I even took it out of our Tivo (or more appropriately, had my wife take it out of Tivo). But, I did feel a twang of guilt for watching.
That twang of guilt was similar in size to the twang of anger I get from watching How I Met Your Mother (which I love) in which one of the main characters has to "settle" for a career as a Cornell professor rather than pursue his real passion for designing buildings. Yeah, because that feels rights — can't cut it as a designer, but faculty member is easily attainable. But, I digress.
My wife tells me I shouldn't try to hold television to a high standard regarding their statements on academic institutions… or any standard about anything, really. But, I can't help myself. I do get upset, at first for them for writing such things and secondarily at myself for enjoying it.
Should I feel guilty enjoying a program that reinforces a host of stereotypes related to my profession? Maybe, or maybe not. But, I can't stop watching. Has this happened to you before?