Undergrads

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This article is about the television show. For the educational term, see undergraduate education.
Undergrads
UndergradsTitle.jpg
Undergrads logo
Created by Pete Williams
Starring Pete Williams
Susan Dalton
Jene Yeo
Yannick Bisson
Josh Cagan
Robert Tinkler
Edward Glenn
Opening theme The Click by Good Charlotte
Country of origin Canada/United States
No. of episodes 13 (List of episodes)
Production
Running time 22 minutes per episode
Production company(s) MTV Animation
Broadcast
Original channel MTV2 (US)
Teletoon (Canada)
Adult Swim (Latin America)
Original run April 1, 2001  – August 12, 2001

Undergrads is a Canadian animated television series centered on the lives of four college undergraduate freshmen. Originally broadcast on MTV during 2001, only thirteen episodes were created. It has since been shown on Comedy Central in the United States, Teletoon in Canada, and Trouble in the United Kingdom. The show was conceived by Pete Williams, when he dropped out of college at the age of 19. Willams does most of the voices on the show. The series was produced by David McGrath.

Overview[edit]

The show depicts what might be a typical first-year college experience. Characters in the show represent stereotypical college types; including the everyman (Nitz), the "frat boy" (Rocko), the "ladies' man" (Cal), the nerd (Gimpy), the cool girl (Jessie), and the "ditz" (Kimmy). Typical situations depicted in the show include student loans, bad cafeteria food, questioning of identity, fraternity rivalries, odd traditions, unpleasant RAs, money problems, peer pressure, and the "freshman fifteen". Few episodes depict the characters in class; the one exception being Rocko's ROTC class in the episode, Financial Aid.

The location in the show has never been named. It appears to be a typical North American college town. However, it has been hinted in several episodes that the show takes place in New England, and Pete Williams, the show's creator, attended a university in this region. Episode 2, Traditions, features the "Xposed Xpo," a naked run, and a classic tradition of the University of Vermont. In episode 12, Risk, there is a free Ben & Jerry's day, as well as a Spring Fling, another UVM tradition. In the episode Drunks, both Jessie and Nitz hold fake New York state driver's licenses. The episode Identity Crisis takes place at the start of the second semester and reveals bare trees and snow, conditions more likely to be found in northern states in January. However, in episode 1 Gimpy disguises Mump as a California Highway Patrol Officer to follow Rocko.

Characters[edit]

Main characters[edit]

  • Nitz The main character. Almost all episodes revolve around him. He is shy and attends State U, a generic university. He often finds himself at odds with his friends, wishing for more time to try and woo Kimmy, whom he has had a crush on since grade school. He does not remember how he got his nickname, as revealed in the first episode. Nitz is based on series creator, Pete Williams.[1] In the episode New Friends it is revealed that Nitz’s real name is Parker Walsh.
  • Rocko is a manly, tough fratboy. He attends the local community college Central State Junior Community College. He eventually manages to weasel his way into the Alpha Alpha fraternity, where he is viewed with contempt by his frat brothers. His only interests are alcohol and girls. Many of the women with whom he comes into contact incapacitate him. He does not like Cal very much - often threatenening him with violence. His favorite phrases are "Wussies!" and "Sweet ass!"
  • Cal, Nitz's roommate, is tall, handsome, blonde, but not too bright. Cal has a knack for getting women to fall for him without apparent effort. He frequently ends his sentences with the word "guy." His last name was Evans.
  • Gimpy is a nerd. It is revealed in the episode New Friends that his name is Justin Taylor. He attends the tech institute Tekerson Tech and almost never leaves his room, primarily communicating with his friends via video conference. Gimpy also uses the alias "G Prime". Upon arriving at Tekerson, he quickly drew together a group of lesser geeks to do his bidding, replacing the previous alpha-nerd and ending his reign of Star Trek tyranny. He is an extreme Star Wars fan, and an enthusiast of both Spider-Man and Wall Street. Gimpy has asserted his utmost respect for Dana Scully of The X-Files. Gimpy often describes women as "the enemy" (although he did have an online girlfriend in one episode).

Secondary characters[edit]

  • Jessie a friend of Nitz, also goes to State U. Jessie has a very laid back, punk-girl-type personality on campus. She often accompanies Nitz on his misadventures and analyzes many things about this strange time in life with a surprisingly level-headed and mature point of view. She has supposedly undergone a major makeover from high school, openly expressing herself more with her new college freedom. Nitz does not realize that she is attracted to him. Although Nitz states that he loves Kimmy from the start, Jessie tries for his affection anyway. She is arguably far more of an influence on Nitz's life than Kimmy yet, despite signs of affection in return, Nitz remains enamoured with Kimmy. At one point in the episode Roommates, Nitz finds himself falling for Jessie, but when he attempts to woo her, she spurns his advances. As the series goes on, Jessie's frustration over Nitz's ignorance to her interest increases, resulting in outright spite for Kimmy. Eventually, Jessie's frustration blows up into anger at Nitz leading to the series' cliffhanger ending. The character is voiced by Jene Yeo, upon whom the character is based.[1]
  • Kimmy Burton is a red-headed girl Nitz has a crush on. She went to the same high school as the four main characters and graduated the class ahead of them. Kimmy also attends State U. She tries to be involved with everything going on at school. Although she is somewhat of an overachiever, it is revealed that her life is in shambles. She seems to be totally oblivious to Nitz's affections. Kimmy is interested in Mark, another drama student at the college, but does not realize Mark is gay.
  • Mump attends Tekerson Tech and is Gimpy's lead minion and sidekick. His real name is never mentioned. He is a short, overweight, red-haired young man. He is fiercely protective of his friendship with Gimpy and often agrees with him regardless of whether he should or not. Prior to Gimpy's arrival at Tekerson, Mump was a Trekkie. Mump is a member of ROTC.

Recurring characters[edit]

  • Doug (The Duggler) is the resident assistant at the State U dorms where Nitz and Cal reside. He is depicted as a social relic from the 1960s, sporting an overall hippie-like motif. He always wears a bathrobe, which he tells Cal is an unofficial uniform for State U RAs. He is something of a social inept, with a forced way of speaking, refers to himself in the third person, and often denies himself opportunities to partake in unofficial student events and fun. Other students appear indifferent to him.
  • Charity is Jessie's air-head blonde roommate. She is constantly obsessed about her ex-boyfriend Jonah, who left her prior to the series' beginning. It was revealed in Virgins that Jonah obtained a restraining order against her. In that episode, she briefly dated Rocko, who pretended he was a virgin to get into her good graces.
  • SHE PRIME is a female hacker at Tekerson Tech who challenges Gimpy. According to the episode guide on the series' official website, her name is Tabitha. Gimpy eventually confronts her and the two begin to form a bit of a relationship. However, when Rocko suggests to Gimpy that SHE PRIME is the dominant person in the relationship, Gimpy denies one of her requests. This offends SHE PRIME, who threatens to destroy Gimpy's computer with a computer virus. This crisis is averted and the two are set against each other as rivals again. Although she never meets Gimpy in person, their dorm rooms are immediately next to one another.
  • Spud is an unusual young man and diehard Trekkie, wearing the yellow uniform as seen in the original series as normal attire. He originally led a majority of Tekerson Tech's students, but is supplanted when Gimpy moves into the Tekerson residence. Spud is the main antagonist in the episode New Friends, in which he attempts to take revenge on Gimpy. He subsequently appears in brief cameos. He often says "Shmaa..." in all his sentences and has something of a creepy, mumbling way of talking.
  • Mark, the drama guy. He attends State U and is found often by Kimmy's side. Mark recognizes Nitz as "Kimmy's friend". Kimmy has a huge crush on Mark, which makes Nitz feel jealous and threatened. Both Kimmy and Nitz are oblivious to the fact Mark is gay (which he confirms in episode 2) until the final episode, Screw Week. He has a boyfriend named Lance.
  • Lance, Mark's boyfriend who also attends State U. He is more often than not mentioned by Mark than seen on screen, though he is seen briefly carrying a couch in Roommates and singing showtunes at the end of Screw Week.
  • Brodie, one of Jessie's friends, described by her as "always full of crap". He is a film student who has the makings of a future film critic. He talks about movies constantly, and is often spouting trivia and personal opinions on movies. He often introduces himself when entering a room, even to people he knows or is friends with.
  • Kruger another of Jessie's friends. Kruger is a foul-mouthed smoker and a pessimist who often disagrees with everyone. His favourite word to say is "f...k". In the episode Rivalries it is revealed that he is good at trivia, but does not help Nitz defeat Gimpy.
  • Dan is a friend of Jessie's who has no speaking lines in the entire series - all he does is laugh.
  • Gimpy's Minions are a troupe of nerds and geeks led by Gimpy at Tekerson Tech, much like a private army. Mump is a nominal second-in-command to Gimpy. Aside from Gimpy and Mump themselves, none of this group are identified by name.
  • Rita is the Resident Assistant in Gimpy's dorm at Tekerson Tech. She wears glasses, has her hair in a bun and wears an 'RA' armband. Her slippers are shaped like sharks. She tries to foil Gimpy's plans and attempts to unmask his identity as "G Prime". She had a brief fling with Cal in the episode Jerks, which ended as abruptly as it started.
  • Stoner Dave: An apparent "stoner", recognizable by his black shirt, slouch and large nose. He is was first seen in Party, and later appeared in the episodes Financial Aid, Work Study, and Virgins.
  • Studious Dave: A bespectacled African-American, always seen wearing a white coat. In Work Study he is Nitz's boss at the library. In Financial Aid he is a member of the Center for Campus Organizing, though he is only there because it will look good on his application to Wharton.

Episodes[edit]

# Title Original air date
101 "Party" April 22, 2001
102 "Traditions" April 29, 2001
103 "Virgins" May 6, 2001
104 "New Friends" May 13, 2001
105 "Drunks" June 8, 2001
106 "Roommates" June 15, 2001
107 "Jerks" June 22, 2001
108 "Rivalries" June 29, 2001
109 "Financial Aid" July 6, 2001
110 "Identity Crisis" July 22, 2001
111 "Work Study" July 29, 2001
112 "Risk" August 5, 2001
113 "Screw Week" August 12, 2001

Cancellation and attempts at revival[edit]

Airing to extremely mixed reviews and failing to attract much of an audience, Undergrads was regarded as both a critical and financial failure. As such, it was canceled before the second season could be produced. The series was originally set to continue, with Teletoon and DHX Media producing as they did for the first season. However, at the last minute, MTV discontinued its funding, which halted production. The show was taken to Comedy Central to see if they would renew the show, but this attempt failed.

Pete Williams stated that he was interested in reviving Undergrads, and Teletoon and Decode maintained for a time that they too were interested in continuing the series, but the funding did not present itself. In a blog post on January 27, 2006, Williams stated that he still wished to continue with the program.[2] Williams stated that Teletoon had put up half of the production cost for its second season, and urged fans to add Undergrads as a MySpace friend to encourage a possible second season. On July 18, 2006, Williams urged fans to bombard both Cartoon Network and Comedy Central with emails and letters asking them to revive Undergrads. Teletoon soon after agreed to a second season, subject to finding another major broadcaster to pick up the second season.

In a blog post on December 18, 2008, Williams stated that Teletoon had passed on a second season. Williams added that he had pitched them an entirely new animated concept entitled We Got Issues, in which he would reintroduce characters from Undergrads. The pitch never made it to development. Williams also expressed interest in "producing some kind of UG comic book or webisodes in lieu of a second season", and had been in talks with Decode Entertainment about the proposal.[3]

Williams and co-writers Andy Rheingold and Josh A. Cagan appeared together at a panel for the Calgary Expo in 2012.[4] They have stated they do not have any legal rights to the series and will continue to bring it back. The creators have since started an Official Facebook "Groupville" [5] in hopes of getting a second season green-lit. Fans have shown their support by posting fond memories of the show as well as "Bring Back Undergrads" videos, which are planned to be used for a viral campaign to spark interest in the continuation of the show. The first official "Bring Back UnderGRADS" video went live on YouTube August 21, 2013.[6]

To help the revival of the show, on April 26, 2013, Williams started an official "Bring Back Undergrads" Facebook page [7] in hopes to "garner a healthy 'like' count to prove that the series still has a fan base."

Williams attended "ConBravo" in July 2013 where he answered fan questions about the creation of the show as well as the current status of bringing the show back.[8] During the panel he mentioned that the creators were "Pretty close" on getting permission from MTV and DHX to continue the story. Williams added that they were currently unsure on if they would fund a full second season, do a one time movie answering the lingering questions left over from season one, or do a movie to "re-introduce UnderGRADS to a new audience and try to get the second season that way."

On the podcast My So Called 8-Bit Life Pete Williams, Josh A Cagan, and Andy Rheingold talked about being in talks with both companies, and how it was a long process to get even as close as they are to some sort of revival to the series. They were also quick to say that one of the biggest hurdles even if they were to get the permission to make more content would be the cost. Williams as also stated that he, Rheingold and Cagan are currently finishing up a treatment for a one-off Undergrads Movie. Once approval gets made by DHX and MTV, production on a script, followed by the movie, shall commence.

Music[edit]

The theme song, "The Click", is written and performed by the band Good Charlotte, who appear in the episode Risk. Much of the music featured in Undergrads include songs from various indie rock bands and Canadian artists, such as Vibrolux, Alkaline Trio, Knacker, Sam Roberts, Reggie and the Full Effect, Sloan, Planet Smashers,The Brodys, and The Rosenbergs, among others. The score of the show was composed and produced by Jono Grant. A list of bands and songs used in each episode can be found at the show's official website.[9]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Pete Williams, creator of underGRADS". Thedetour.ca. Retrieved 2014-03-10. 
  2. ^ "The Detour on TELETOON – underGRADS – Blog". 2006-04-23. Archived from the original on 2007-01-01. Retrieved 2010-08-13. 
  3. ^ "Checking in...long overdue! - MySpace-blog | van UnderGRADS". Blogs.myspace.com. Retrieved 2010-08-13. 
  4. ^ Video on YouTube
  5. ^ "Facebook". Facebook. Retrieved 2014-03-10. 
  6. ^ Video on YouTube
  7. ^ "Bring Back Undergrads". Facebook. 2014-01-31. Retrieved 2014-03-10. 
  8. ^ Video on YouTube
  9. ^ "Undergrads : Episode Song Lists". Undergrads.tv. Retrieved 2014-03-10. 

External links[edit]