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UC Davis in Hollywood: TV and Movies That Shout-Out Davis

My roommates and I have a shared hobby of watching poorly produced movies on Netflix, like SPF-18 or the Bring It On series (excluding the original one, obviously). Recently, we decided on #RealityHigh, a Netflix original that follows your traditional storyline of a high school nerd fitting in with the popular group. Much to our delight, within the first two minutes of the film, it was revealed that the protagonist’s dream was to get into UC Davis. Naturally, this excitement changed our outlook on the entire movie, and I now believe #RealityHigh transcends our time.

Anyway, the movie got me thinking: what other media is out there that mentions Davis and gives me the same OMGTHATSMYSCHOOL reaction? Thus, I present to you my compiled list of TV shows and movies that give our lil ol’ Davis a shout-out.

1. Lady Bird

Probably the most obvious on the list is Lady Bird, the hottest movie on the block right now and the recent winner of two Golden Globes. Lady Bird centers around a high school senior who has been living in Sacramento her whole life. When applying for college, her mother urges her to apply to UC Davis, as “lots of smart people go to Davis,” and she wants to keep her daughter close. My favorite line is when Lady Bird herself is fed up with the Davis talk, screaming, “I’m not going to a f*cking university that’s famous for its f*cking agricultural school!” Hey, any publicity is good publicity, right? 

2. Teen Wolf

Like a good handful of teenage girls, I was roped into watching Teen Wolf during my high school years because of, let’s be honest, Dylan O’Brien. In case you’ve never heard of the MTV series, Teen Wolf focuses on a high school boy who gets turned into a werewolf — everyday stuff. Anyway, this boy dreams of getting into the UC Davis veterinary school. Well, dreams come true, and now that werewolf is theoretically a Davis student. Which means that, yes, Dylan O’Brien knows that UC Davis exists.

3. #RealityHigh

Just because I mentioned this in the intro doesn’t mean I’m not going to give it the attention it deserves. This is a wholesome movie that, to quote my roommate, is “the movie of our generation.” Its progressiveness and inclusiveness allows me to look past the weird color effects that are applied throughout the movie. And, of course, having UC Davis gear onscreen helps too.

Image source: Netflix

4. Parenthood

I’ll be honest. I don’t watch this show, but apparently in one episode it mentions Davis, so hey, maybe I should start. In season 3 episode 14, the main characters take a tour of our school. Since I haven’t seen the show, I do not know how this storyline develops, but even having a character consider UC Davis for school is good enough for me!

5. Saturday Night Live

On a slightly different note, Davis has been mentioned a few times on SNL — one of the most famous shows in the country. Last year, the Weekend Update hosts had a segment covering UC Davis’ Plan B vending machines. In previous years, Davis was mentioned in a sketch satirizing CNN, in which they cover campus protests. What I would give to be in the writers room when these sketches were being created!

Image source: SNL Youtube

6. The Daily Show with Jon Stewart

This may actually be my favorite pick from the list. Being an avid fan of Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert and the 90s, this 1999 clip of a young Stephen Colbert field reporting in Davis for The Daily Show with Jon Stewart is really my cup of tea. In this clip, Davis is recognized (okay, maybe mocked) for the local government’s toad tunnel project. Though Davis has changed in the past 19 years, this clip still remains funny. Here is the link to the clip.

In addition to these TV shows and movies, there is still some media that I have left out (see: Hasan Minhaj’s Homecoming King, MTV’s Sorority Life). Here’s to all that has been and all that will be of Aggie representation in Hollywood!

Gretchen is a fourth year UC Davis student double majoring in political science and cinema & digital media. As an intersectional feminist, she finds interest in issues of social justice and equality. She also finds interest in dogs, Leonardo DiCaprio movies, and early 2000s music.
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