If you’ve had the misfortune to visit a college dwelling recently, as I have, I’m sure you’ll agree that nothing ever changes. It’s the universal student condition; living amongst dirty dishes, mountains of beer cans, and mysterious holes in the drywall. I’m describing my son’s apartment by the way, not The Young Ones’ flat.
(Young One’s flat from fanpop.com)
Similarly, watching the comedy Fresh Meat on Hulu this past week has brought back vivid memories of my student days and my London semester in particular. Sure my experience happened 25 years ago, but living with total strangers is something you tend not to forget. In 1986, I arrived in London to live in this house with three dozen other American students for five unusual, often frustrating months. What would’ve made it better was if there’d been some British students living there, but that’s a story for another time…
(37 Nottingham Place from londonremembers.com)
Alas, the house is now a La Suite executive hotel and proudly bears a plaque informing us that Charles Eames Kempe, an esteemed stained glass artist, once lived there in the early 19th century.
The “freshers” of Fresh Meat, on the other hand, are six British students enrolled at a fictional Manchester university and who find themselves relegated to a shared house instead of the more desirable halls of residence.
What rings true about Fresh Meat is the housemate dynamic – the inadvisable hook-ups, the prickly differences in class/wealth, the sensible kids trying to rein in the more impulsive, selfish ones (yes, I was a “Josie”) and of course, the shared kitchen experience. Though I’ve yet to see an episode which features the old washing-up showdown, someone’s bound to put up a petty sign ranting about not being your mother and cleaning your own mess. You know it’s going to happen; it’s just a matter of when.
But close and frequent proximity can also breed friendships, or at least, alliances. On Fresh Meat, touching bonding moments do occur in times of adversity which takes this series into slightly dramatic territory. It did, however, win a British Comedy Award for Best New Comedy Programme last year so there are definitely more laughs than tears. I recommend it for those who have liked The Peep Show, Pramface or The Inbetweeners. In fact, Joe Thomas (Kingsley) has basically packed up his Inbetweener’s character, Simon, and taken him to university.
Please enjoy this YouTube clip in which Howard teaches Vod the starving student ropes. If you’d like to see more, Hulu adds new episodes weekly. Then you too can revisit those days of possibility and carefree squalor. They really were the good old days.
Carmen is an American wife and mother of two college students who live away from home. With her yellow lab Malcolm by her side, she watches and writes about British television for her own blog Everything I Know about the UK I Learned from the BBC. Read more of Carmen’s posts here.