Any person.
Any study.
Any Cornelliana.

An alumni
blog about Ezra's
University. (more)


Suggestions? Tips?




[+] Cornell News

[+] Higher Ed News

[+] Campus Pubs

[+] Alumni Interest

[+] Diversions

[+] Blogs

[+] Sports

[+] Other Places


[+] By Month

[+] By Author

Bob Saget is a Pledge, Sort Of

I'll add a few things to Matt's earlier post about Bob Saget's made-for-TV pledging experience at Seal & Serpent.

Quick points:

  • The "black book" that Saget is forced to carry around to record information about each of the brothers is a common part of Cornell fraternities' pledge processes. More important than the actual information is the pledges' experience of talking with each brother and getting to know him a little bit better.
  • The system of points and demerits, or pluses or minuses, or whatever, is common and is probably as irrelevant at Seal as it is at any other fraternity.
  • I love Animal House as much as anyone else, and I've seen the movie at least 10 times, but the continuous references to the movie are a little irritating. It's frustrating as a supporter of the Greek system to have to argue always against this stereotype. Of course, naming one of your pledges "Flounder" doesn't help.
  • The campus looks great overall, but when Saget walked across the suspension bridge with one of the brothers, the fences made it seem like they were walking through part of a prison.
  • According to Cornell's anti-hazing policy, Saget's task of refilling water glasses at dinner is an example of hazing. So is Saget's having to make a pledge paddle, since the brothers at the fraternity did not have to do the same tasks.
  • I counted four versions of the Alma Mater.
  • The scene in which the brother asked his girlfriend to wear his fraternity pin reminded me of the Greek episodes which make lavaliering seem like a bigger deal than it actually is in most fraternities.
One important note is that Saget was made an honorary (not actual) brother of Seal & Serpent. I assume that honorary brothers are not formally initiated and, as such, do not learn any of the secrets of the fraternity or undergo its formal initiation process. Saget's initiation essentially took place in a full room during the toga party. The producers made the War Memorial ceremony seem like some sort of secret ritual, but I'm sure that Seal's actual initiation is much more involved. Point is, I hope that viewers don't think that Saget's experience is all that is required of a pledge. The formal initiation ceremony is often one of the most difficult parts of the process. Certainly, the secrets of Seal & Serpent were not revealed in this episode.

Although the episode uses the toga party as the culminating event, and I remember that the party was talked about a lot that weekend, these types of big events were not the most memorable parts of my fraternity experience. For one, unless you have Bob Saget there, most parties attract freshmen as guests with a few sophomores and juniors thrown in. By the time I was a junior, and definitely by senior year, the only time I would party with my upperclassmen friends was when I went out in Collegetown. Moreover, during my time as president, my social chair and I came to loathe open parties. So many things can - and did - go wrong during big parties, and they really weren't too much fun when you had to talk to inspectors and police, send people to the hospital, clean up, and manage everything going on in the house.

The real fun of being in a fraternity is just the experience of living with some of your closest friends. Saget hits on this dynamic a little bit at the end, when he's sitting on the roof with a few of the brothers. These kinds of interpersonal connections are more meaningful and more lasting than open parties.

Still, this was a really cool experience for Seal & Serpent, and (unlike as was rumored) they didn't have to reveal any secrets for the episode. If Saget wants to make a sequel episode in which he receives more serious hazing, he can contact Mr. Elkin's fraternity.

Elie Bilmes | Posted on December 20, 2010 (#)

blog comments powered by Disqus

Other Recent Posts

-- WSJ: Cornell Wins NYC Tech Campus Bid (EBilmes)

-- Barrier Update: City Approves Nets (DJost)

-- Big Red Cymbal Guy (Nagowski)

-- New York Times Survey on Campus Recruiting is Flawed (KScott)

-- Barrier Update: Legal precedent suggests City of Ithaca will not be held liable for gorge suicide (DJost)

-- Despite MSG Loss, Big Potential for Big Red Hockey (EBilmes)

-- City Council Will Vote on Suicide Nets (DJost)

-- An Encounter on the Upper East Side (Nagowski)

-- Showing Off Your School Spirit (Nagowski)

-- Chipotle Ithaca? (KScott)

-- Cornell at the ING NYC Marathon (KScott)

-- Crossing Over a Fine Line: Commercial Activity on Campus (KScott)

-- Milstein's Downfall (Nagowski)

-- Can any Cornell-associated organization really be independent of the University? (Nagowski)

-- Slope Media Revisited (EBilmes)

-- Slope Media Group Approved for Byline Funding (KScott)

-- Occupy AEM? (KScott)

-- New campus pub to be good for both Greeks and non-Greeks (Nagowski)

-- Gagging the Election (Nagowski)

-- The Changing Structure of Rush Week (Nagowski)

-- Ivy League Humility in the Midwest (EBilmes)

-- Of Median Grades and Economics Minors (Nagowski)

-- Homecoming Recap (Nagowski)

-- My Cornell Bookshelf (Nagowski)

-- The Sun's Opinion Section Has Suddenly Gotten Good (Nagowski)

-- Remembering the 11th (Nagowski)

-- Cornellian Tapped as Top Economic Advisor (Nagowski)

-- Cutting Pledging, and the Good Which Comes With It (EBilmes)

-- Why Cornell Should Not Close Fall Creek Gorge (Nagowski)

-- Welcome to the Class of 2015 (Nagowski)