Wayward Preppies


This week I heard about a prime-time drama on Fox called “Wayward Pines” featuring a preppy with a wayward-fitting school blazer.

Apparently the show has a sci-fi theme. I’ve actually been on a sci-fi kick lately since watching a movie called “Predestination,” based on a story by Robert Heinlein. I got a collection of his as well as a ’50s sci-fi pulp anthology, have watched a few ’50s B movies, and have been burning quite a few brain cells pondering time-travel paradoxes.

I hadn’t come up with anything postworthy until this, however. If anyone has a natural-shouldered sci-fi angle, besides Steve McQueen in “The Blob,” let me know.

Though now that I think about it, it would be fun to do a time-travel paradox parody about Ivy clothing.

Like, say I go back in time to visit Paul and Irving Press before they invented the Shaggy Dog sweater, give them a Shaggy Dog sweater, and tell them to start producing it. According to Wikipedia, the sweater would then become a copy of itself with no discernible origin. Or something like that. My head is already starting to hurt.

Here’s a promo for that TV show:

As long as there have been preppies there have been wayward ones. In 1986 there was a work of young adult fiction called “Confessions Of A Wayward Preppie.”


Here’s a summary:

Cary Carmichael is both awed and intimidated by Winslow, an elite New England prep school. He finds himself caught in the middle of hostilities between his two roommates, wealthy Bobby Katzenbach and Joe Ripley, whose grandfather was a coal minor.

Cary is secure enough to become a mediator, although he spends more time with the gregarious Bobby. Cary wins an important role in the school musical production, and he also finds that his expertise in French gains him the friendship of a charismatic senior, Alec Billings, a campus leader who desperately needs to pass French.

Sympathy for Billings and admiration of his perpetual cool leads Cary to do his homework for him. When they are discovered, Billings is rejected by the college to which he had previously been accepted, while Cary loses his role in the musical.

Although nothing new, exciting or especially moving happens in the plot, it does flow smoothly, as does the dialogue. For the most part, these characters act with believable motivations. Joe’s circumstances have made him a hardworking and uncompromising student, with a rigid sense of justice that forces him to expose Cary and Billings. The title would lead readers to think that the story might be a humorous expose, which it isn’t, although there are occasional humorous incidents. This story is a rehashing of the age-old conflict of rich against poor, and it’s also an accurate, if somewhat simplistic portrayal of the pressurized world in which today’s privileged teen is expected to succeed.

And with that, I’m out of time. Happy Father’s Day. It’s a good day to watch “Back To The Future” and be thankful your dad met your mom, thereby ensuring your existence. — CC

5 Comments on "Wayward Preppies"

  1. I trust Ray Bradbury is among your collection…

  2. “Mars Needs Women.” Only the alien uniforms (peeling neoprene, it seems) are cheesy. The rest is classic early trad, with some long scenes of nothing but period atmosphere, such as the crowd at a college football game. And, of course, the early scenes of “Ghostbusters,” set on Columbia’s campus with a very trad trio of paranormal researchers.

  3. Ward Wickers | June 22, 2015 at 9:20 am |

    Not really an alien, I suppose, but wayward, yes! “GW” Bush. Even if he did have access to the bootstrap paradox and good things were pulled from the future into the past, we’d still be in the same mess we are in today, which is, of course, the paradox. So, does that absolve GW?

  4. Was Joe Ripley’s grandfather under-aged when he worked underground (“a coal minor”), or did he work as a regular grown-up miner?

    We all make gaffes — especially me — but I thought this was amusing.

  5. @Groton76
    That gaffe belonged to a reviewer at the School Library Journal.

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