'Glory Daze' Series Premiere

As four college freshmen embark on a set of adventures, Glory Daze follows suit, beginning to challenge stereotypes rather than relying on them.

Glory Daze

Airtime: Tuesdays, 10pm ET
Cast: Kelly Blatz, Hartley Sawyer, Matt Bush, Drew Seeley
Subtitle: Series Premiere
Network: TBS
Director: Walt Becker
Air date: 2010-11-16

Why rush Omega Sigma? As the only fraternity with no awards or achievements listed in the official rush pamphlet of Indiana’s fictional Hayes University, the Omega Sigma of Glory Daze appears at first glance to be indistinguishable from misfit groups in films such as King Frat, Animal House, and PCU. Omega Sigma is the fraternity of last resort, but they throw great parties. Based on this start, you'd think that TBS' new sitcom is offering nothing new, only reproducing the conventions of campus comedies without distinction.

New student Joel (Kelly Blatz) is similarly familiar. Arriving at Hayes burdened with eccentric, overbearing parents (Brad Garrett and Cheri O’Teri) and a nerdy roommate (Josh Brener), Joel wants to break free from the expectations of others. And as he and three fellow freshmen embark on a set of adventures, Glory Daze follows suit, beginning to challenge stereotypes rather than relying on them.

Set in 1986, Glory Daze features wall-to-wall pop music hits from the era, forced references to dawning technology such as e-mail, and occasional "wacky" clothes and hairstyles. Despite such superficial attempts to wear the era convincingly, the majority of the episode is shot and directed in a decidedly contemporary style. Unlike Freaks and Geeks, which combined makeup, production design, and cinematography to create a raw 1980s pallor, Glory Daze outfits its actors to look hip and frames them with soft lenses.

The series also tries, with mixed results, to comment on the campus' social culture. Initially, this means more clichés: Joel is a naïve pre-med student with a Jesuit school background and his new friends include some well-known types: Brian (Hartley Sawyer) is a baseball player fulfilling his father’s dreams, Jason (Drew Seeley), a young conservative who sleeps with a framed photograph of President Reagan, and Eli (Matt Bush), might be best, if simply, described as being the Jewish and libidinous kid. After failing to attract the interest of other fraternities, they visit the Omega Sigma house, and this is a turning point for both the undistinguished characters and dull script.

The heightened energy of fraternity life, including the rushing and pledging processes, injects a lively spontaneity into the script. Although there are some overly familiar gags (one featuring an exaggeratedly large beer bong device), Glory Daze effectively establishes the fraternity house as a passageway to finding one’s identity and becoming part of a desirable tradition. A stoner known as "The Oracle" is so committed to Omega Sigma and its history, he's been in the house for a decade. He is also a character type that we’ve seen before, but the writers and actor Chris D’Elia grant this would-be philosopher/shaman of the house a measure of couch-bound authority. His passive contribution to rush week is to inspire a future pledge to pay respect to a fraternity forefather.The pledge’s ensuing crime spree (breaking and entering a sacred hall in order to install the forefather’s portrait) instigates the episode’s most consequential conflicts and tests the characters’ emerging independence.

Predictably, by episode’s end, the four friends at the center of the show form a closer bond and also develop individually. The effect is to call into question the roles they thought they fulfilled (and by extension, the stereotypes the audience expected at the beginning of the episode). If the first episode of Glory Daze never achieves what might called complex storytelling or character development, at least it begins to explore the question posed at the show's beginning: “How can you be true to yourself, if you don’t know who you are yet?”

So why watch Glory Daze? The first episode offers little to recommend. However, if the show can keep up with the boys as they undergo their own awakenings, then it might eventually offer something fresh to the campus comedy canon. If not, the series will become a comedy of last resort.


In Americana music the present is female. Two-thirds of our year-end list is comprised of albums by women. Here, then, are the women (and a few men) who represented the best in Americana in 2017.

If a single moment best illustrates the current divide between Americana music and mainstream country music, it was Sturgill Simpson busking in the street outside the CMA Awards in Nashville. While Simpson played his guitar and sang in a sort of renegade-outsider protest, Garth Brooks was onstage lip-syncindg his way to Entertainer of the Year. Americana music is, of course, a sprawling range of roots genres that incorporates traditional aspects of country, blues, soul, bluegrass, etc., but often represents an amalgamation or reconstitution of those styles. But one common aspect of the music that Simpson appeared to be championing during his bit of street theater is the independence, artistic purity, and authenticity at the heart of Americana music. Clearly, that spirit is alive and well in the hundreds of releases each year that could be filed under Americana's vast umbrella.

Keep reading... Show less

From genre-busting electronic music to new highs in the ever-evolving R&B scene, from hip-hop and Americana to rock and pop, 2017's music scenes bestowed an embarrassment of riches upon us.

60. White Hills - Stop Mute Defeat (Thrill Jockey)

White Hills epic '80s callback Stop Mute Defeat is a determined march against encroaching imperial darkness; their eyes boring into the shadows for danger but they're aware that blinding lights can kill and distort truth. From "Overlord's" dark stomp casting nets for totalitarian warnings to "Attack Mode", which roars in with the tribal certainty that we can survive the madness if we keep our wits, the record is a true and timely win for Dave W. and Ego Sensation. Martin Bisi and the poster band's mysterious but relevant cool make a great team and deliver one of their least psych yet most mind destroying records to date. Much like the first time you heard Joy Division or early Pigface, for example, you'll experience being startled at first before becoming addicted to the band's unique microcosm of dystopia that is simultaneously corrupting and seducing your ears. - Morgan Y. Evans

Keep reading... Show less

This week on our games podcast, Nick and Eric talk about the joy and frustration of killing Nazis in Wolfenstein: The New Order.

This week, Nick and Eric talk about the joy and frustration of killing Nazis in Wolfenstein: The New Order.

Keep reading... Show less

Which is the draw, the art or the artist? Critic Rachel Corbett examines the intertwined lives of two artists of two different generations and nationalities who worked in two starkly different media.

Artist biographies written for a popular audience necessarily involve compromise. On the one hand, we are only interested in the lives of artists because we are intrigued, engaged, and moved by their work. The confrontation with a work of art is an uncanny experience. We are drawn to, enraptured and entranced by, absorbed in the contemplation of an object. Even the performative arts (music, theater, dance) have an objective quality to them. In watching a play, we are not simply watching people do things; we are attending to the play as a thing that is more than the collection of actions performed. The play seems to have an existence beyond the human endeavor that instantiates it. It is simultaneously more and less than human: more because it's superordinate to human action and less because it's a mere object, lacking the evident subjectivity we prize in the human being.

Keep reading... Show less

Gabin's Maigret lets everyone else emote, sometimes hysterically, until he vents his own anger in the final revelations.

France's most celebrated home-grown detective character is Georges Simenon's Inspector Jules Maigret, an aging Paris homicide detective who, phlegmatically and unflappably, tracks down murderers to their lairs at the center of the human heart. He's invariably icon-ified as a shadowy figure smoking an eternal pipe, less fancy than Sherlock Holmes' curvy calabash but getting the job done in its laconic, unpretentious, middle-class manner.

Keep reading... Show less
Pop Ten
Mixed Media
PM Picks

© 1999-2017 All rights reserved.
Popmatters is wholly independently owned and operated.