Reality Bites: Campus PD

There are a million reality shows on the naked television. We're going to watch them all, one at a time.

When I first heard G4 had a show called Campus PD, my first reaction was, "Really? How hard is it to get harassed by actual police?"

But the more I thought about it, the more I realized the need for this show, which is basically the college version of COPS, Fox's venerable (24 seasons!) paean to "the men and women of law enforcement." Hell, it even shares the "presumed innocent" disclaimer.

Watching COPS, however, has always brought with it a tinge of unease. It's apparent to anyone who checks out more than a handful of episodes that the majority of "subjects" on the program hail from America's growing lower-income bracket. Kinda takes the humor out of the situation when you realize the guy being tasered in his underwear recently had his wife leave and take the kids because he's been out of work for two years.

Enter Campus PD, which handily solves our schadenfreude dilemma by giving us the least sympathetic population on the planet: entitled college students.

Of course, it appears the Kampus Kops have changed since my college days, as I don't recall many of them carrying real guns or equipped with riot control gear. That must be to better respond to today's politically active student population.

HA HA HA, no really, it looks like some of the segments include regular cops patrolling university areas. Makes sense. My only [officially recorded] brush with John Q. Law during my academic years was a disorderly conduct charge issued by city PD. Now that I think about it, I only took the fall for that because everyone else on the lease already had criminal records. Man, Steely Dan was right.

Campus PD also features helpful tidbits like "30 percent of female college students skip meals in order to drink more." Like this is a bad thing. To me, it just sounds like effective resource management.

Our first stop in the episode I watched was Northern Kentucky University, where a young lady is pulled over for driving some people with an open container. I'm showing my age here, but I remember four of us riding in the back of a pickup to go camping, four of us drinking beers about as fast as we could manage, and a DPS trooper waving to us as he passed, slowing down just enough to confirm that Mike (the guy driving) wasn't drinking. Those were the days.

Thanks, Obama.

Anyway, the three girls pulled over benefit from being relatively attractive (and the fact the driver was sober) and the fact the cop in question is obviously still trying to live down his dorky early years. I mean, he does everything but ask one of them for her phone number.

Next we go to Las Cruces, New Mexico, home of New Mexico State (one of seven colleges who have "Aggies" as a mascot; thanks, Internet). It's a "loud party complaint." The whole thing doesn't seem particularly unruly, except for a couple guys in neckties (!) who elect to smart off to the po-po. The cop's "sirs" get a little more pointed as he realizes he really has nothing to hold the cravatted d-bag on, and that the punk will walk with a Great Story about how he was thrown in a squad car but they ultimately let him go because fuck the police.

This is where the divide between Campus PD and COPS really comes into play, because I would've enjoyed nothing more than watching that puffy proto-Lumbergh take a few baton shots to the solar plexus.

Finally, we head over to UNC-Greensboro for a dispute between a cab driver and a hella stoned dude who bailed without paying his fare. He then promptly entered his own apartment. Your subsequent claims about not being stoned are hard to back up when you act like a guy with no frontal lobe.

The cops show up, and the dude claims he can't find his ID. Their response? "Do you mind if we come into your apartment to find your ID?" So of course the dumb stoner asshole lets him into his domicile, which reeks of weed.

The good news is, the cab driver won't press charges if Cheech pays his fare, and he does. Really, what do these cops want? He's stoned to bejeezus, sure, but at least he took a cab home.

Sensing weakness, the cops ask if they can check out the apartment suite's common area as well, and our budding (heh) scholar says, "Sure." I sure hope this kid isn't pre-law.

Finally, the kid is cited for being a complete moron (actually, misdemeanor possession, I think) and given a ticket and a court date. I'd lay some sweet odds he wakes up tomorrow thinking the whole thing was a dream.

For all of you born before the 1980s, please take a moment to reflect on how much easier you had it. I'm serious, because while there are a handful of photos of me that survived from my college years (mullets ahoy), every teenager alive today likely has terabytes of digital images recording every poor decision they've made since the age of 14. Gonna make political campaigns really interesting in about 20 years.

Finally, this actually had nothing to do with the episode I watched, but I thought it...merited inclusion.

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