The American university tradition of frat houses and sororities is not one that translates very well to the UK. We’ve seen them on Buffy and a few teen movies, but we don’t really get their traditions or their relevance. On the evidence of E4’s new import Glory Daze, none of that is about to change. This is one show that does the whole notion of Alpha Kappa Zeta a huge disservice.
The show is set in 1986, and the opening episode constantly rams this home. (If you remember the year well, prepare to feel old). There’s a good use of well-known music from the era, although we don’t think Frankie Goes To Hollywood intended Relax to soundtrack a scene where bikini-clad babes frolic on a lawn.
The semester begins with nice, ordinary boy Joel dropped off at campus by his family, in excruciating overplayed scenes. His roomie is, of course, a total geek, and he reminded us of Community’s Abed, but without the laughs. Before you know it, Joel has been humiliated in front of a girl he likes in a packed lecture theatre.
We soon meet the rest of his soon-to-be-formed group: Jason the Republican, Eli the Jew and Brian the jock. There’s even the token Asian Guy With Strict Father, Alex Chang. However, he soon subverts stereotypes in the show’s best--and possibly only--unexpected moment. We won't ruin that for you here.
The hunt to be accepted into the ‘right’ fraternity is soon underway, in a sea of boozing, dope-smoking and encounters with The Beast and The Oracle. (Don’t ask). Young male awkwardness around females is a key theme, but it’s handled with none of the wit of The Inbetweeners.
The ‘jokes’ and the script are abysmal, and the 1986 references are weak, with scepticism about ‘electronic mail.’ (Although the line “What would Macgyver do?” wasn’t bad). If you like gross-out humour there are some moments which may float your boat.
Overall though, Glory Daze feels desperate and uninspired. The self-satisfaction of the leaders of the Omega Sigma fraternity is off-putting, and we really have seen it all before. The fact that the show has just been cancelled after ten episodes says it all. We wouldn’t bother pledging allegiance to it for even an hour.