Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Advanced Interdisciplinary Studies: Community and the Law (Part 1)

Despite its comic intentions, the television show Community — season 6 now available on Yahoo! Screen — has been surprisingly accurate in its portrayal of higher education and, more specifically, of law school.  For example, the show, set on the campus of Greendale Community College, did a great job of explaining the importance of law school: “Anyone can be a lawyer; you can even represent yourself.”  And through its character Jeff Winger, the show essentially proved that the J.D. degree is really nothing more than a dressed-up associate’s degree.  But in season 6, Community is becoming eerily prescient, and it’s getting harder and harder to differentiate the fictional Greendale Community College from real-life law schools. 

To begin with, consider this exchange between Community’s Frankie and Annie as they plan Greendale’s alumni dance in episode 7:

Frankie:  “How many alumni have responded?”

Annie:  “Not many, but I think our current students will show up for the degree raffle.”

A degree raffle!  That’s hilarious.  It’s funnier than episode 3 when Greendale almost gave a degree to a dog.  (In fairness to the dog, she technically “earned” the degree, but Greendale withheld it due to the canine-student’s failure to pay her past-due library fees.)

But what does this have to do with law schools?  Surely, law schools wouldn’t raffle off a law degree, would they?  Well, not yet.  But one law school is luring prospective students to its “law school boot camp” with the promise of a raffle: the winner gets a $5,000 scholarship!  That’s right: a scholarship that’s not based on merit or need, but on pure chance.  (Imagine trying to describe this “award” or “honor” in the J.D. section of your future resume.)  And even if you don’t win the scholarship, you can still win something called a “Beats by Dre headphone” set.  I wonder: is there an “app” I can download to sign up for this undoubtedly intellectually rigorous two-hour boot camp? 

I’m seriously not making any of this up — I’m just not that creative.  Read all of the details of this latest law school debacle on OTLSS or LGM.  But the point of this post — other than creating a new field of interdisciplinary study based on “the best show in the history of all viewed anything” — is to congratulate the legal academy: you are well on your way to making real-life law schools indistinguishable from over-the-top, fictional campuses on satirical Yahoo! Screen comedy shows.  Well done, indeed.  

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