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Mike Westwood
Noodle Expert Member

July 01, 2020

This article details a classic film and TV show with stories in the college years designed to send a positive message.

There have been many films and TV shows created related to college. Some themes include the classroom, living in dorms and extracurricular activities, as well as discovering one’s identity in many aspects. Depending on the film’s premise and creative direction, the protagonist will likely overcome the obstacles put in their way. In the case of a TV show, the series could entail cliffhangers to conclude seasons and several twists and turns. College contains many experiences that help a person grow as an individual, so the film and TV industries have plenty to work with in regards to creating compelling material.

“Rudy" (1993)

“Rudy" is a film based on a true story in which a young man with the nickname of Rudy has aspirations of being a college football player for Notre Dame. Throughout the film, he overcomes people doubting his ability to achieve that dream due to his smaller stature, lack of athletic prowess and lackluster grades. A character in the film named Fortune, a groundskeeper at Notre Dame’s football stadium, tells Rudy, “Look at you. You’re 5-foot-nothin’ and you weigh a hundred and nothin’, and with hardly a speck of athletic ability." In spite of that scathing assessment, Rudy studies hard to improve his grades for acceptance into Notre Dame, ends up making the team and winning a big game for the team in the film’s conclusion. 

The message that Rudy sends to the viewer is very encouraging and uplifting, which is that even in the face of people telling a person what they cannot do, a person can accomplish whatever they set their mind to. The person may have to work much harder than others with natural talent in the same aspect. In the end, that extra effort is worth it in proving the naysayers wrong.

“The Cosby Show" (1984-1992)

“The Cosby Show" aired for eight consecutive seasons and is regarded as a sitcom that incorporated various serious societal issues into its storytelling. An example of such an issue was education and how people with certain disabilities can be better supported academically. Theo Huxtable, the only son in the family on the show, struggled with his grades throughout the show’s earlier seasons. His parents attributed the poor grades to a lack of effort and self-discipline. However, once Theo reached college and failed an exam he knew the material for, he was tested and officially diagnosed with dyslexia.

Once Theo starts to understand how dyslexia impacted his learning style, he was able to work through it and earn a college degree. He also became an advocate for dyslexic students and opened up a school on the show to help students with dyslexia receive improved support. “The Cosby Show" is a very vintage example of a program spreading positive awareness about a condition that was not as well-known in that era. The character arc of Theo persevering through his learning barriers also conveys to viewers that dyslexia can be coped with successfully with the right support and management techniques.

“Rudy" and “The Cosby Show" portray storytelling in a college setting and through two different characters with different personalities and different predicaments, both programs demonstrate that working through challenges at a young age prepares a person for coping with issues throughout life. People may have their opinions and misjudgments, but if a person wants something badly enough, they have the power to change minds. Rudy and Theo Huxtable faced a degree of ridicule for who they were and both figured out a way to make their situations work out to their ultimate benefits.

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