Last night I saw an advertisement for the movie “Accepted,” a comedy “from the studio that brought you ‘American Pie.'” I can’t say for sure, of course, but it looks like a serviceable spoof. Its main character is a teenage boy, Bartleby “B” Gaines, with this problem: “after every college turned him down, his only option was to make one up.”

The things revealed just by the ad that B does with his made-up college, South Harmon Institute of Technology (nothing subtle about the acronym; it’s ever-present), lead me to think the film could be Cordato’s Law brought to the big screen. Which is to say, the writers of “Accepted” don’t appear to have thought up anything for B’s spoof college that you can’t find at real ones. A few quotations from the ad (viewable here) should suffice.

Very early in the ad we see B’s father proclaiming THE college message in a way even John Edwards would envy: “Want to have a happy and successful life? Go to college!”

Successive denials prevent B from his “happy and successful life” proxy, but he must realize that his parents haven’t questioned the old saw (or surely they’d see through his scheme) because he’s seen telling a friend, “All we have to do is lease a place near Harmon so we can fool our parents.” (Obviously B has enough ingenuity to succeed on his own without of a college degree, as many others have.)

Fool his parents B does (why, there’s even a “leaky roofs” scene), but when B opens the hoax school’s door, he’s surprised to find:

New ‘student’: We’re here for orientation!
B: Did you just say that you got accepted here?
Student: Yeah, we all did! (Camera pans to reveal dozens upon dozens of ‘students’ outside the warehouse.) Thank you so much!

B’s college turns out to be the perfect place for loads of kids who lack the academic drive or wherewithal to make it in a real university but whose parents cling desperately to the “happy and successful life” vision of university education. So B apparently realizes the way to satisfy the parents and the kids is to do what real universities with the same problem are currently doing now: double-talk the folks, give the kids beer and circus, and everyone’s happy. Here are quotations from the rest of the advertisement, with hot links to their counterparts in actual universities:

B: All our lives we’ve been told what to learn. At South Harmon, the students are the teachers.
Girl: There are no tests, required reading, or any of that nonsense?
B: Whatever the students say they want to learn.

Crazy uncle: You want me to be the dean of your college?
B: Come on; what do you say?
(Seque to next clip.)
Crazy uncle as dean, to parents:
“We throw a lot of fancy words in front of these kids in the belief that they’re going to have a better life.” (Laughs uproariously.)

(The ad’s concluding scene: several “students” sitting on bleachers next to a pool watching girls in bikinis float past them.)
One student:
“I can’t believe this is a class.”
The rest, in unison: “Yeah.”