With not only the biggest monthly viewership of any online streaming service in the
United kingdom, but also the largest increase in audience over the last year (45%) Netflix has a vast reach. It has eclipsed the competition, namely Amazon Prime and Now TV, which only holds an 11% increase in audience by comparison. So look no further in your thirst for understanding. Have you been wondering about university life? Well do what us lot do best and binge-watch media content.

With all of this reach across the world and a stream of content, questions will be asked about the platform’s integrity – namely, does it inform it’s audience or misinform? Whether this is applicable or not, misinformation is always present in media and always has implications , but it is crucial to keep assessing a platform’s possible bias within the variety of information it represents as Netflix does.

Within the sub-genre of British university, there are a few titles that spring up above the
parapet, however the most viewed is Fresh Meat (created by Jesse Armstrong and Sam Bain in 2011) so, does Fresh Meat represent University, or is it just trying to scare us off?
The shows appeal is the relationship of the six housemates, (JP, Kingsley, Vod, Josie, Oregon and Howard) and as such doesn’t focus on the academic side of university. However this seems rather fitting, as the majority of your university memories will not be about that one lecture that you missed, but rather your friends and your adventures.

The show’s representation of housemates is spot on interms of the diversity of the cast, and their narrative backgrounds. From posh private schools to Welsh mining villages, there is a real array of society, and they all learn to get along with one another, if this is something that you are worried about, then realise that just like in the show, your housemates will see you at your best and your worst. Just as things can never be unseen, neither can bonds formed at 2am on a Wednesday night ever be forgotten. However, just as the show portrays, getting too personal with a housemate can be a very awkward affair – (try to avoid this). In terms of your course and course tutors, there is advice from this show to go on besides creepy old “Prof. Shales” (Tony Gardner) and “Dan Dan the geology man”(Robert Webb). What the show does an excellent job of presenting is the hierarchy of the student and the tutor, namely howthere is pretty much none. Unlike previous forms of education university has very little of a power structure. if you don’t want to do your work, then nobody will force you to or chase you up. You may be relieved to know that your lecturers will not project their mid-lifecrisis on you or your studies – nor will you end up in the middle of it, your tutor will be friendly and helpful in the majority of cases.

 

1456054293-fresh-meat-series-4-episode-20381So, here’s the big one: alcohol. Everybody has the same ponderous thoughts about
alcohol and drug use within the realm of university life, and once again Fresh Meat is pretty accurate here. Your body will exist in a limbo, fluctuating between excessively drunk and late nights of being overly caffeinated at the library. Drugs will probably be present – however there is little-to-no pressure to do any. Just as Vod (Zawe Ashton) is the house drug user, she does not force her habits on the household, and this tends to be the accepted standard at university. Similarly, the show does offer presentations of the repercussions of recreational drug use, which will hopefully steer you in a wiser path during your studies.

 

Once you’ve moved in, and parents have left, university can seem scary, daunting and
lonely. Once more this is something that the programme talks about, with Josie (Kimberely Nixon) in particular struggling with changes from her old home town. This is important to understand as a sure-fire part of the university experience, and is only natural and normal. whilst the show does brush this serious moment off for the sake of a light hearted feel, it is not to be underestimated. Students often feel guilty about feeling homesick, as university is meant to be “the best years of your life” and this can cause students to feel pressured to have fun at all times when this just isn’t the case.

Fresh meat is, primarily a comedy and namely this is produced through offering up some
crass representations of real life situations. It cashes in it’s checks, namely, a well fitted cast, who produce interesting and unique relationships. This is where it draws back from the reality of university life, and definitely isn’t verbatim, so I leave you with only the most accurate lessons from the show. Where the show focuses on the cast in the house, they get their enjoyment, or what is perceived as enjoyment from each other with minimal effort. However, in university life, it is important, no matter how much you may get along with your housemates, to put in effort to be as involved with societies, sports and other activities to get the most enjoyment out of your degree.At the end of the day you will reap tenfold on the effort you put in.

There is no substitute for first-hand experience, but if you are looking for an entertaining form of cultural research on a student’s daily life, look no further than Fresh Meat.

Jack Parker

Film and Television Editor

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