Remember when Will and Carlton were attending the University of Los Angeles on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air? Remember watching Felicity deal with typical college situations (and a new haircut) at the University of New York? What would it be like if a community college like Greendale actually existed like it does on Community?
As much as we love these shows, many of the colleges and universities where our beloved characters attended school weren't real! Perhaps we already knew that while we were watching them and perhaps, after thorough research, we sadly realized that we couldn't also attend California University along with Zack, Slater, Kelly, and Screech in Saved by the Bell: The College Years once we graduated high school.
But, nonetheless, these colleges and universities were a major aspect of many of our favorite TV shows. In many cases, these schools became just as central to the show as the characters and the plots were. They were characters themselves.
So, here's a list of seven fictional colleges from some of my favorite TV shows ever:
1) Hillman College
TV Show: The Cosby Show, A Different World
Characters Who Attended/Graduated: Dr. Cliff Huxtable, Clair Huxtable, Russell Huxtable (The Cosby Show), Denise Huxtable (The Cosby Show, A Different World), and basically every character on A Different World
Modeled After: Clark Atlanta University and Spelman College -- both in Atlanta, Georgia
While Hillman was known on The Cosby Show as the alma mater of the great and powerful couple that was Dr. Cliff Huxtable and his lawyer wife Clair, it later became the main location of the show's spinoff, A Different World, with its main character being the always cool Huxtable daughter, Denise (for only the first season).
Watch Denise make her parents really, really happy in one of the best dinner announcements on TV ever by deciding to attend Hillman (and not my alma mater NYU, which was her other option, just saying) after the jump:
Besides, Theo Huxtable ended up attending NYU anyways... just saying.
2) California University
TV Show: Saved by The Bell: The College Years
Characters Who Attended/Graduated: Zack Morris, A.C. Slater, Kelly Kapowski, Screech Powers, Leslie Burke, Alex Tabor
Location: The Bay Area
Modeled After: University of California, Berkeley (UC Berkeley) - Berkeley, California
While Jessie was at Columbia University and Lisa was at the Fashion Institute of Technology (F.I.T.) and both were doing their thing in New York City, their Bayside High buddies Zack, Slater, Kelly, and Screech stayed in California. If we remember anything about Cal U, it's where Zack and Kelly (one of the best TV couples in history, of course) were reunited and became engaged...and then later fulfilled SBTB destiny by getting married in the TV movie Saved by The Bell: Wedding in Las Vegas. It was an important moment in TV history.
Watch Zack Morris discuss German philosopher Immanuel Kant with a professor (played by the same actor who coincidentally tried to get Will Smith out of college via selling cars in an episode of The Fresh Prince)... or at least he tries to discuss Kant:
3) University of Los Angeles (ULA)
TV Show: The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air
Characters Who Attended/Graduated: Will Smith, Carlton Banks (later transferred to Princeton University)
Location: Los Angeles, California
Speaking of The Fresh Prince, during the last three seasons of the show, Will Smith and Carlton Banks traded Bel-Air Academy for the University of Los Angeles, where they both spent a lot of time at the school's student store and had their fair share of funny and serious situations to deal with.
Watch ULA mascot Will attempt to dance the pre-football game good luck charm the "Peacock Strut" in lieu of an absent Carlton after the jump:
4) Pennbrook University
TV Shows: Boy Meets World
Characters Who Attended/Graduated: Cory Matthews, Shawn Hunter, Topanga Lawrence, Angela Moore, Eric Matthews, Jack Hunter, Rachel McGuire
Location: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Modeled After: University of Pennsylvania (Penn) and Saint Joseph's University - Both in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Post-John Adams High life for the "it was inevitable that they would get married" couple Cory and Topanga (who chose Pennbrook over Yale University for the Corymeister), Cory's BFF Shawn, and Angela took place at Pennbrook. But they had familiar company: Cory's older brother Eric was a student there too and their beloved teacher and the Matthews' longtime neighbor Mr. Feeny ended up marrying the Dean of Pennbrook.
Watch Cory be super excited about starting college... and about continuing to eat pudding in college:
5) University of New York (UNY)
TV Show: Felicity
Characters Who Attended/Graduated: Felicity Porter, Ben Covington, Noel Crane, Elena Tyler, Julie Emrick, Meghan Rotundi
Location: New York, New York
Modeled After: New York University (NYU) -- New York, New York
Keri Russell's seminal role as Felicity Porter, the Bay Area girl who decided to ditch her pre-med plans last minute at nearby Stanford University to follow her high school crush to New York City, is one that will be forever cherished... although that infamous short haircut that she got during the show may not be as cherished! UNY is based on NYU and, like NYU, is located in Manhattan's Greenwich Village and around Washington Square Park, so... great choice, Felicity, great choice. Also, Felicity is from California like me, so again, she's great.
Watch one of the show's opening themes after the jump:
6) Adams College
TV Show: Sabrina, the Teenage Witch
Characters Who Attended/Graduated: Sabrina Spellman, Roxie King, Miles Goodman, Morgan Cavanaugh
Location: Boston, Massachusetts
Our favorite teenage witch decided to leave her aunts' house when she started attending Adams College during season five of the show, but Sabrina discovered that being a witch in college is just as difficult as it was in high school. Though, as usual, she always pulled everything together... and she studied journalism, so go Sabrina!
Watch Sabrina juggle guys and post-grad decisions (Adams? Boston College? Emerson College? Backpacking? Other Realm University?) at her senior prom:
7) Greendale Community College
TV Show: Community
Characters Who Attend/Graduated: Jeff Winger, Britta Perry, Abed Nadir, Troy Barnes, Annie Edison, Shirley Bennett, Pierce Hawthorne, Señor Chang
Location: Greendale, Colorado (Fictional)
The only TV show on my list that is currently on air, Community has Greendale Community College as its core, with study group leader Jeff Winger and his friends getting into unique situations and solving them together as best as they can... and in a hilarious manner too.
Watch the longest and largest pillow fight in community college history (and an important moment in Greendale history) after the jump. You can learn more about what Greendale has to offer you here.
What are your favorite fictional TV show colleges? Let me know in the comments section below!
Follow Maureen Elinzano on Twitter: www.twitter.com/Princess__Mo