Ivory Tower Saga Retold
I had no knowledge of this show until last week and therefore decided that it would be a fantastic idea, on the fateful night of April 26, 2005, to take in all six of the current season’s episodes in one sitting. As a visiting student who’s only at Harvard temporarily, I felt the need to brave this challenge in order to better educate myself as to the realities of Harvard life, keeping a running diary to document my wondrous journey.
The show, which debuted in 1991 and was recently revamped, can be downloaded from its website www.ivorytowersoap.com for endless hours of viewing pleasure.
What marvelous things would I discover about the activities taking place within these hallowed halls? What new truths would I uncover about both myself and my peers? How bored would I get? Six episodes, three hours of watching, a whole lot of drama.
START 10:05 p.m.—In which, we meet the players. Luke (Justin V. Rodriguez ’07) and Haley (Jennifer H. Rugani ’07) are dating, but Haley is jealous because Luke spends all of his time at The Vermillion, where his editor is upperclass woman Regan Lockhart(Alexandra M. Ohanian ’05). Is vermillion a color? I looked it up: it’s a shade of red. Clever.
10:07—Regan lives with Juliana, who’s foreign, and Meredith (Rebecca J. Levy ’06), who’s getting creepy phone calls from her stalker. Colby (Christopher N. Hanley ’07), who plays lacrosse and has an ambiguous sexual orientation, is Luke’s roommate. Angela is kind of slutty and just slept with Cameron (Chris W. Black ’06), who’s a “famous actor’s kid.” Everyone seems impressed that he’s a famous actor’s kid. No one seems to know which actor.
10:09—First of many, many “quirky” college-life references. Meredith to Juliana: “She calls me from the bedroom when I’m in the common room.”
10:24—Haley is mistakenly bat-whipped by Meredith’s stalker. This dude was stalking Meredith so he could hit her in the head with a bat? He didn’t even take her wallet.
10:31—Haley’s in a coma, and Luke’s pretty bummed, even though he was hitting on Regan (Alexandra M. Ohanian ’05) only a minute before Haley went down.
10:45—The crew is at the Wasp for a party. A girl bumps some ridiculously sized lines of coke. Regan’s brother Erik (Jeffrey E. Hammerbacher ’05) falls down drunk in the middle of telling a story, but doesn’t stop talking. That’s commitment, folks. Colby has to take him home and quips: “At least he doesn’t live in the Quad.” Ba-zing!
10:46—Haley’s out of the coma, after three weeks, and is instantaneously speaking perfect English again. I’m impressed.
10:48—Colby tries to get Erik’s keys out of his pockets. Erik slaps Colby’s hands away, pushes him a couple of times, and then kisses him. That move always works for me.
11:00—Juliana (Eda Pepi ’06) and Regan have a new roommate, Asha (Stevie N. Degroff ’06), since Meredith is studying abroad.
11:15—Luke breaks up with Haley, then proceeds to leave his own room. Smooth editing kids. Ever since Haley got out of that coma, things haven’t been the same.
11:23—Haley is comforted by her TF. Why haven’t any of my foxy TFs wrapped up class early in thinly veiled attempts to hit on me?
11:26—We see empty vodka bottles, we see Luke crying, we hear that wack Springsteen song from “Jerry Maguire.” Luke’s upset because Regan has a boyfriend, and now he’s regretting breaking up with Haley. This is an emotional scene, and the guy playing Luke is really pouring it on. He’s shooting for a daytime Emmy at this point.
11:30—Colby is working for Room 12.5. Angela (Laurel T. Holland ’06) comes in to talk about how she thinks she got raped, and Colby calls the guy a douchebag. I haven’t heard that word since ninth grade. Good times.
11:36—J. Isaac (Robert P. Young III ’06), a snooty kid with plans for Yard-wide domination, recruits Colby to be his Undergraduate Council president campaign manager. Do people vote for these things at Harvard?
11:40—Asha just made out with her girlfriend. “The O.C.” waited a season and a half before introducing lesbian subplots. I wonder—is “Ivory Tower” doing too much, too soon?
11:46—Oh shit! I just realized that Regan’s boyfriend is the TF that Haley made out with! Scandalous.
11:54—A “previously on ‘Ivory Tower’” segment is utilized for the first time. Good move. Also, I’m now officially singing along to the theme song. “I know that I’m no good at waiting…”
11:55—Uh oh. We’re told in the credits that Kees A. Vandenberg ’06 is taking over as the new Luke. I don’t know if the show can handle a switch. Even “Fresh Prince,” unquestionably one of the greatest television programs of all time, was never the same after the replacement of Aunt Viv.
11:58—New Luke doesn’t even resemble Old Luke. Is this because of the drunken crying scene? Were the other actors threatened by Old Luke’s ever-growing acting prowess?
12:22—Regan sees her boyfriend Kevin (James L.M. Fisher ’06) and Haley kissing. She’s pissed.
12:24—There’s a New Colby now too; people are dropping like flies. I’m starting to wonder if “Ivory Tower” is secretly initiating an intensive boot camp. I’m picturing a drill sergeant screaming in Old Colby’s face:“You did not accurately portray sexual confusion in that last scene! You disgust me, maggot! What is this jelly donut doing in your foot locker?”
12:27—Apparently, Asha had a relationship with J. Isaac. He liked to be tied up in beef jerky and fruit roll-ups. Meanwhile, J. Isaac is growing more and more insane by the scene, now employing a full on British accent.
12:33—Colby quits as campaign manager, and J. Isaac, who has officially lost his mind at this point, swears revenge on him. There’s more beef floating around than at the Shakur and Wallace families’ annual potato-sack race.
12:37—Regan decides to use her powers for evil instead of good, printing an expose for The Vermillion on Kevin’s breaching of the TF moral code.
FINISH 12:40—Kevin’s got a one-way bus ticket back to New Haven, while Luke comforts a distressed Haley. It all comes around full circle, I guess.
So what did I gain from my “Ivory Tower” marathon? Not much, really, other than some utterly useless opinions on the virtues of certain casting decisions and more attachments to fictional characters. And apparently Harvard’s full of lust, greed, treachery, lies, and deceit. But who doesn’t know that anyway?