I don’t want to belong to any club that will accept people like me as a member – Groucho Marx
I may have gotten Devan and Hannah mixed-up!
A sorority is an all-female, secret social organization for university students so says the E4 Program website – and according to that site they are a big deal at universities in the US. In British universities on the other hand they are no deal whatsoever.
Sorority Girls the reality show – by genre at least, how much of this series has much grounding in reality is debatable – in its first series from British production company 12 Yard Productions and currently airing on E4 aims to change that. Will this American export succeed or have we a failed British import on our hands?
Sorority Girls is not based on a sister show in the USA – they are hoping perhaps that students in British Universities will be inspired by watching it on TV and setting up their own Greek societies!? As likely to happen as Proms becoming a staple of British school life? Whilst E4 provides us details about the American Sorority Girls it is not forthcoming with details about the British pledges (more of that later!) so it is not even clear whether these British girls are even University Students themselves.
The E4 program website tells us that such societies ‘fosters growth and personal development within its members in two ways: publically through philanthropic works, social events and academic excellence, and privately through the use of ritualistic ceremonies, symbolism and closed member meetings’.
The five American cult-leaders sorry Sorority Sisters have set up home in a spacious house in Leeds towards an inaugural British chapter. Fourteen will become five and those five will take over its running when the Americans go home. And provides a springboard if not for further British chapters then perhaps at least a second E4 series.
So then to this second episode which sees the pledges settling into their new home and first set of challenges and initiations.
I pledge my allegiance to this E4 Reality TV show and will do whatever it takes to guarantee my fifteen minutes of fame, a spin-off show all-about-me on E4 and a spread in Hello Magazine.
Triple-bunk beds to bond sisters together – if in bodily aroma at least.
Sorority Sister Dominique breezily explaining to us that it is Sorority tradition to kidnap members in the middle of the night put hoods around their heads and drive them to a secret location. Sort of Guantanamo-Lite!
This also described as a bonding experience and one of them tells us with a straight face that this is something that they are going to look back on in twenty years time and remember! It is implied that the memory will be a fond one and not one that you might want to bury even as an eternity on YouTube ever-reminds you!
Aren’t cloaks cool? – almost worth giving up your mind for just to get to wear one! At the secret location which is only revealed to successful sorority initiates – note that I am insidiously beginning to use the language! – as the rituals that take place there are sacred to the sorority – oh so this is not a profane act! One of the pledges on first seeing this secret sacred spot stated matter-of-factly that she thought it was a place where you take people to murder them! Their first test is to hold a block of ice to their heart in the shape of a Sigma symbol until it is fully melted – one initiate advises us that she covertly placed her ice under her arm-pit to speed the process up!
Their next task is far less sinister – they being taken to the middle of a forest and abandoned! Well abandoned that is to orienteering and being split into two teams (the Grizzlies and the Ferrets, don’t ask!) to then navigate their way back to the House.
While the pledges are busy getting lost in Leeds and its surroundings the Sorority team do a sweep of their room and confiscate any item not of the Sorority spirit – such as false eyelashes and fake tan!
Announcing the Grizzlies as the winners, the losing Ferrets are to be cast into the wilderness via Social Probation. Social Probation meaning that their pledge status is now provisional – that is their provisional membership is now provisional!! Both teams though will attend their first Present. A Present is a formal ceremony when the pledges are presented to their friends and family. But you need to know that it is Presents pronounced Pree-zents!
As they are being given a Make Over by way of Preezent Preparation an initiate questions one of the Sorority Girls about her own fake-nails – implication ‘You hypocrite!’ and big mistake! For thinking for herself and not mindlessly accepting the Sorority Girl Group Think she will be one of the first to face losing her membership – known as the cull, sorry cut!
Dressed in virginal white because Sorority Girls are if not virgins then chaste! However they are now told they must go on a ‘Grab date’ which means picking up a stranger off the streets in twenty minutes to be their chaperone for the first pledging ceremony that same night. Very chaste! By the way the term Slooter Cahooter (no really!) is meant as a derogatory term for a sorority sister who as dressed or behaved in a sexually inappropriate way.
Cold-dating! The Grizzlies as not on social probation are allowed to request dates from a Gym – because it is a better class of men there! The losing Ferrets though must pick up their dates on the Leeds streets. Surprising were the number of men so solicited who said ‘Yes’ – if someone walked up to me on the street and asked me for a date I am pretty sure my first response would be high suspicion! I guess the presence of TV cameras mollified some of these young men so requested!
A charming Socialist declaration written by these All-American girls – those reading the pledge then promise to sever all ties with their old selves – remember they are not a cult! – cue camera panning to her perplexed boyfriend sitting in the audience.
In the final section of the show the moment of reckoning arrives for the pledges.
The provisional provisionals, Nadia, Alex and Topaz. One whose Sorority sin was to think for herself, one who at their bonding party had a glass of wine in each hand, another who brought a male back to the Chapter Lodge after the party. These latter two examples of Sorority Girl errant behaviour are of nothing of course to implying one of your Sorority Girls is a fake-nail wearing hypocrite.
In the judges own words
You have been weighed and measured and found lacking
The girl so cut must remove her pink pearl necklace and slink off into the night – a petal pruned from the Sorority rose.
E4 has another new program called – wait for this! – Desperate Scousewives – like Sorority Girls it is TV I know that I should not watch but know also that I will! I just can’t help myself – like picking a scab.
Picking-a-scab Telly – have I just invented a new TV Genre!
- Sorority Girls – E4, 9pm (mirror.co.uk)