Best Pop Culture Mentions of Harvard

Freshmen gather on the steps of Widener Library to watch the screening of "Legally Blonde," hosted by the College Events Board on Thursday, Aug. 29.
Freshmen gather on the steps of Widener Library to watch the screening of "Legally Blonde," hosted by the College Events Board on Thursday, Aug. 29. By George J Lok

There’s no denying that the Harvard brand is the pinnacle of collegiate glory. As ubiquitous as Apple and Starbucks (ironically two favorites of Harvard students) and as old—older than, actually— as JP Morgan Chase, another student favorite, our college’s logo is affixed to every kind of merch on the market. So it’s no surprise that our lionized university is invoked in popular culture more often than any other academic institution in the world. While literally every piece of media drop the H bomb sooner or later, we’ve compiled the most noteworthy mentions of the most hip and relevant University on the planet. We apologize in advance for flexin’.

The Simpsons

Unsurprisingly, Harvard has been mentioned a couple dozen times on this classic. After all, ten percent of television’s full time humour writers hail from our hallowed gates. Our absolute favorite Harvard reference? Lisa’s burn that left the Harvard rejects’ pile in shambles in “Barthood.”

Bart: Do you know what it's like to be second-best at anything?

Lisa: Yeah, I do! I'm going to Yale!


Crazy Ex-Girlfriend

The protagonist of this binge-worthy comedy, Rebecca Bunch has done everything on the Harvard student’s bucket list: she’s written for The Crimson (something you should all do), worked for a prestigious New York law firm, and was even “rhythmically trashed by a junior visiting from the Brown improv troupe” on the night of the Dunster House formal. Despite her, shall we say inclination, for donning a Harvard sweatshirt to yoga and just generally name dropping our alma mater a tad too much, we still recognize ourselves in this lovable broken mess of an overachiever.

BoJack Horseman

The writers of this Netflix original clearly have some beef with the Lampoon. Not one but two characters are mentioned to have “written” for the semi-secret Sorrento Square social organization that used to occasionally publish a so-called humor magazine. Just as expected, these personas— the awkward nepotistic intern Charlie and the pretentious Cuddlywhiskers—are just as awful (very realistic) as the real deal.

30 Rock

Staffed by a slew of “hyper intelligent Harvard boys,” 30 Rock basically came for our lives by taking a jab at our pretentious use of Harvard lingo in “Plan B”:

Liz: What did you major in?

Toofer: Sorry?? I don’t understand?? Oooooh I seeeee, (condescending mode activated) at Harvard we call them concentrations.

Scream Queens

This trashy comedy takes pretentiousness to a whole new level by portraying a Harvard-educated doctor losing his hand while trying to save his class ring from a bristly demise in his garbage disposal. He didn’t suffer through all those all nighter for nothing—he definitely had to have something to show it, and a degree from Harvard Medical School just wasn’t enough. Talk about school spirit #gocrimson.

People vs. OJ Simpson

We all know that guy with whom “every eighth word coming out of his mouth is Harvard.” Harvard Law professor Alan Dershowitz, one of the original “dream team” members, was apparently one of these guys #noshade.

Bonus round

We know you expected “Legally Blonde,” “Love Story,” and the “Social Network” to make the cut, but with two of these iconic Harvard movies being shown during the opening days, you already know what they’re all about. What, like it’s hard?

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