On February 26, 2003, MTV premiered its second season of ‘Sorority Life’. To new and returning faithful readers of the Official Review of MTV Sorority Life Season One (Over 13,000 of you as of this writing! Thanks for the great feedback!) which reviews the first MTV Sorority Life at UC-Davis, here’s a review of the second season and some other nifty info.
This time, MTV’s Sorority Life 2 follows the adventures of 9 women (6 of whom live in the pledge house) pledging a sorority at the State University of New York at Buffalo (SUNY at Buffalo), also called the University of Buffalo and the University at Buffalo. The Sorority, Delta Xi Omega (pronounced DZO – Dee-Zee-Oh!), is local, meaning that it has only one chapter, with no national or international headquarters. This allows for more freedom in decision-making. I can’t imagine that any fraternity or sorority that has many chapters and a central headquarters would allow one of their chapters to be filmed.
In fact, the headquarters of the international fraternity that I belong to sent out an email notice a while back warning us that ‘Hollywood’ may contact us. They informed us that our official policy was to avoid getting involved since anything that could result from their questions about Greek life would only be made to show the negative stereotypes in order to entertain TV/movie audiences. Sure enough, Hollywood contacted us but we didn’t respond.
Of course a lot of people are making comparisons between the sorority and show from season one and season two. One difference is that the Greeks on the Buffalo campus don’t seem as yuppie-ish as those in the first MTV Sorority Life. Also, since the first show centered around a faith-based group (the mission of the sorority was based on its members being Jewish although they accepted non-Jewish members as well). This time around viewers get a more diverse picture of sorority life, or at least sorority members.
All this to say that the seasons are quite different which makes for an ‘interesting’ show. I think we’ll get a very different picture. I predict that we’ll see even more trash going on than in the first MTV Sorority Life. Obviously MTV rented and fixed up a house and pledge house for the sorority, which I would guess will look something like an MTV Real World house.
GLOs (Greek Letter Organizations – Fraternities and Sororities) at the University of Buffalo tend to have rented houses with less than 10 people living there, or apartments which are located near the school’s South Campus (in the run-down North Buffalo neighborhood called University Heights). The setting is quite different from the California west coast of the first season. Although they are rumored to get about $1,500 per episode which may be a similar amount to what the sorority in the first season received.
MTV Fraternity Life
While MTV has Sorority Life 2 on at 10pm Wednesdays, they also have Fraternity Life season one on at 10:30pm. The fraternity is Sigma Chi Omega. I could see members of both the sorority and fraternity crossing over into each others’ shows. While I don’t intend to write a review of Fraternity Life, I can tell you that there has been some confusion about the name of the fraternity. The name “sigma chi omega” represents two local fraternities – one in Buffalo and one at the University of California at Santa Barbara (UCSB). The Sigma Chi Omega fraternity of UCSB is actually a multi-cultural fraternity and has nothing to do with the MTV show. I was recently contacted and made aware that these brothers were being harassed over the show so I’m trying to help set the record straight. I guess the issue is made worse for the UCSB chapter since they claim to be a multi-cultural fraternity but MTV focuses on the Buffalo fraternity which is predominantly white. One more thing… this multicultural Sigma Chi Omega happens to be the brotherhood that is affiliated with the sorority from MTV Sorority Life 3.
Ok, so it looks as though fraternity president Colin Healy and his fraternity are in trouble with the University of Buffalo for hazing pledges Alex Bavifard and company. They were suspended from campus after officials at the university watched the show and saw how the pledges were forced to do things they didn’t want to such as exercise which is physical hazing. I’m not surprised… figures MTV would make Greeks look really bad…
Most people want to know what the sororities and fraternity get out of being on MTV. Ok, well there’s the obvious increase in popularity and opening of opportunities in the future. I’m sure some of these gals and guys are bound to cash in sooner or later. Since these are local Greek organizations, they may influence a lot of others to want to start up their own chapters. Perhaps even more important than helping these chapters’ longevities is the fact that MTV pays them a LOT of money. Reality shows such as this are relatively cheap to produce yet bring in millions in profit. Also, the sorority and fraternity were each given two of the brand new Land Rover SUVs.
The pledge house has a small backyard but they managed to fit a jacuzzi. MTV rented the house next door and may be where the production crew lives. The fraternity house from Fraternity Life Season One is about 5 minutes from where the sorority pledges live.
The Greek System
I had predicted that after MTV Sorority Life season one’s Sigma Alpha Epsilon Pi was featured, more chapters would want to start up. According to their MTV Sorority Life Reunion episode which aired in February 2003, about 14-15 groups on various college and university campuses across the US have contacted them to start up chapters. Talk about rapid expansion! The ‘Greek system’ is actually currently in a period of decline. It was huge since the late 1800s but in the 1970s a large number of fraternities and sororities closed. There was a bit of comeback from the 1980s until more recently. Still, starting up a new chapter requires a LOT of work – beyond what the average freshman would consider. In any case, the show goes on…
Sadly I think that MTV is making a mockery of the Greek system. I guess they are just lucky that the president of DZO, Talia, is a sort-of-cute blond chick. Can you get more stereotypical than that?! Moreover, she did the usual “spring break thing” and went down party in Cancun. She even tried out for the model search for Bikini.com. Here is Talia posing for bikini.com. Also, Janel, who I’m starting to get the impression is kind of bitchy, is here at the 2003 Miss Buffalo Competition.
MTV is showing much more of the bad side of the Greek System than anything else. Although there is some reality to it (read below), they seem to think that bringing out the sorority stereotypes is going toboost ratings. Maybe they’re right, maybe not. Either way, I’m not overly impressed.
MTV didn’t have to show that the girls stole a small sign from a mall and were caught by a security guard but I suppose it makes for more ‘exciting’ viewing. Again, I’ll comment more on this in the future…
Looks Aren’t Everything
So it turns out that the sorority accepted 10 pledges but Erin, a cutie, had a Grade Point Average (GPA) that was under 2.0 and so she couldn’t get in according to the rules at the University of Buffalo.
I must say that I’m impressed! The administraors on my undergrad campus could care less about the Greek System and even less about the GPAs of its members.
Hey Erin, take it as a compliment that they want to help you succeed at college! Spend more time studying and less time partying and you’ll be fine…
One of the things that makes Greek societies exclusive is that they celebrate their rituals in private. A lot of people were really surprised that this ceremony was open caught on camera.
As noted in the first season review of Sorority Life, MTV does a decent job of portraying reality in terms of the girls’ lives. Maggie, who is kind of annoying, is in an abusive relationship which is sad. I think MTV should take the opportunity to have some shows about abuse. The girls get catty and argue quite a bit. I like Brooke in the sense that she is the voice of reason in many respects (and a cutie!!). Too bad she complains a little too much, almost a la Jordan from the first season.
Nicole is totally played by Tim from Fraternity Life. How so? He purposely does not make out with Nicole who is dying for a ‘kiss’ from him. Why? Assuming that Tim thinks like a ‘typical’ guy, he does not want to hook up with Nicole because that will shut off his access to the other women in the sorority. It’s a major faux pas to hook up with different sisters/pledges in the same sorority so if he does anything with Nicole, he won’t get a chance with the hot chicks like Brooke, who he shows an interest in.
Another point on reality, notice how when these girls aren’t wearing make-up, a lot of them seem to have a lot of acne. Maybe it’s from living in Buffalo, who knows… at least it’s realistic!!
Apparently ratings for this season were down some 40% as compared to season one. I would not be surprised if this were true, seeing that the show is not as interesting this season. In the end, I hear that everything pretty much worked out for the girls since I think they all joined. I didn’t catch the last few episodes since it kinda got boring. I suppose you could read about the last bit on MTV’s website.
At one point during filming, the DZO girls will visit six flags Darian lake (originally filmed in late October 2002). Someone emailed me…”I ended up sitting next to another guy and we thought it was a riot as we were surrounded by very nice looking college girls! They told us on the ride that they were indeed part of a show called Sorority Life on MTV. The nice thing about being on the ride with them is that they let us go on twice without stopping, much to the dismay of the relatively long lineup! After we got off, MTV staffers rushed up to me and took a polaroid of me, and asked me to sign a couple of pages (apparently so I won’t sue for character images or something like that).”
Another item of legal interest is that when MTV films the shows, they frequently post a large sign saying that if they choose to enter the establishment they are giving MTV the right to film them and use them as they wish.