Epic Fail Of The Week: On Harvard Time


Note: Video contains some NSFW language

By Arturo R. García

What happens when a group of Ivy Leaguers tries to get its’ Dr. Horrible on? Why, jokes about poor people and murder, of course!

As Disgrasian’s Jen Wang noted a few days ago, this video by On Harvard Time set out to poke fun at a music video released by the admissions department at archrival Yale. The opening few seconds actually aren’t bad: one of the prospective “Yalies” asks when the school was founded, leading to the narrator, standing right in front of a school banner saying Founded 1701, deadpans, “Great question.”

And then things got ugly. Lyrics and explanation under the cut.

From Jen’s post:

Now, it doesn’t take a Harvard education to know that poverty really fucking sucks. But apparently it takes a Harvard education to think it’s hilarious!

(Sidenote: The majority of New Haven’s poor also happen to be people of color. Make of that what you will.)

Also hilarious: murder! The On Harvard Time video originally included a joke about the murder of Yale grad student, Annie Le–”What happened to that girl that got murdered and stuffed in a wall?” went the line around the :55 mark–which was subsequently changed after Yale students publicly expressed outrage.

After the protests, of course, came an apology from OHT: in a statement, the group said, “This was certainly not our intention in writing it, but we understand this response and sincerely apologize for any offense it may have caused. The last thing we’d want to do is upset anyone personally connected to the incident.”

So what was the change? an obvious overdub of the original line, now asking, “What happened to the original line in this video?” So now the fact that there was an uproar becomes the joke. And the digs at New Haven come early on in the ensuing musical number:

Welcome to the world’s largest bathroom stall
From hookers to hobos, we’ve got ‘em all!
That’s just our undergrads
And the tazings only add
To why I chose Yale

Immediately afterwards, our narrator/tour guide tells us, “Given the crime-ridden streets of New Haven, you’ll probably want to spend most of your time at Yale inside one of our 12 residential colleges.” I was surprised they didn’t bust out with a reference to The Wire. That would’ve been, like, soooo edgy!

Now, was the original Yale video ripe for the comedic pickings? Absolutely. If you’ve got nearly 17 minutes to spare, here you go:

So what instigated this mess, you ask? Why, the annual Harvard-Yale football game, of course! Jen, a former Yalie herself, offered some insight into the event’s, uh, pageantry:

It’s funny that the On Harvard Time spoof was posted to stir up school pride before “The Game,” not because “The Game” is “just a football game,” but because it’s precisely not a football game, but, instead, four quarters of overblown jocksucking. If you’ve ever been to a real tailgate or watched any real football, you know how much “The Game” sucks cocksicle by comparison. (I’m from Texas, which we can all agree sucks Tex-ass, no argument from me there, but I do know from football.) “The Game” is cold, sloppy, and not particularly memorable, kind of like a bad date where you decide midway through that you should get drunk during to try and salvage the night when, in fact, that only makes it suck worse than smooth jazz.

As a San Diego State alum, I can’t really comment on other schools’ programs; heck, this is the first season since 1998 where I can wear my SDSU baseball jersey without having to tell anybody it really means South Dakota State University just so they don’t make fun of me. But if this lowly public school grad can offer a suggestion to the OHT kids, maybe you should look to more classic – not to mention classier – sources for your material. How about CalTech?