Secret societies, along with the Kennedys, the Holocaust, Suri Cruise, and heirs to vast fortunes, top my list of things I will always be obsessed with. I have seen numerous documentaries, bought many a book on the subject and recently wasted $13 on a terrible “special edition” Life Magazine discussing the history of secret societies. Trust me, save your money. For $13 you could buy this and a small bag of Pretzel M&Ms (= perfect night).
When secret societies collide with pop culture, it’s melding my two favorite things into one super amazing thing. The following are my most beloved movies/television shows that broach the subject of secret societies.
The Skulls (2000)
Wipe that look off your face Ugly Paul Walker!
If you haven’t seen The Skulls, do yourself a favor. Not only is Brook McQueen (Leslie Bibb) in it, but Pacey -Freakin’- Witter is, too! The Skulls is the lovely tale of Pacey (not his name in the movie, but he will always be Pacey to me), a boy from the poor side of the tracks in his final year at Yale University who desperately desires to become a member of probably the most famous secret society in the history of secret societies, Skull and Bones.
See, Pacey has spent his entire collegiate life shoveling scrambled eggs onto the plates of wealthy kids in the dining hall and holding other jobs to make ends meet and afford college. Why he didn’t just take out $200k in college loans like everyone else, I don’t know. I’m totally ok with ACS taking money out of my checking account every month. Sigh…sarcasm makes me sad sometimes.
Anyway, Pacey wants to go to Harvard Law School. Law school is roughly $55k a year. He’s got the grades, but obviously not the money. What’s a Pacey to do? It’s not like Dawson is going to help him. But, if Pacey gets tapped, that’s Yale talk for chosen, to become a member of the most elite secret society, Skull and Bones, they will supposedly pay for his law school education. Oh, and they’ll also set him up for life because when you become a part of the Bones family, you are showered with opportunity. And ladies. Opportunity and ladies. Oh, and really nice car.
Some famous (real life) Bonesmen include former presidents George H.W. Bush, his son George W. Bush and Senator John Kerry. Throw in some chiefs of the CIA and the founder of FedEx and you can see how becoming a Bonesmen has its advantages.
Pacey wants in. And then he wants out! The waters of power run deep in the Bones world. After Gross Paul Walker accidentally kills Pacey’s buddy who broke into the Tomb, the Skull and Bones head quarters on campus if you will, upper Bonesmen make the move to cover up the murder, which they do successfully. Hey, it was an accident! And Pacey’s buddy had it coming. Regardless, Pacey knows the fish in the creek are less than fresh and sets out vigilante style to bring nasty Paul Walker down and bring justice to his dead friend.
Long movie made short, Pacey gets his way, wins the girl, and turns his back on the Skull and Bones. What an idiot. If there is one thing I have learned in my time as an adult, it is never burn bridges, especially with people who can write you letters of recommendation. Your pride has no place in the real world. You have got to break a few fingers on your way up. You’ll make a new best friend. Stop being a little bitch, Pacey!
Gilmore Girls (2000-2007)
Logan, I'm not really into blonds, but I would have made an exception for you
I’m going to lay it all down on the table right before you. I have nothing to hide or be embarrassed by: I have seen every single episode of Gilmore Girls maybe a good 10 times each. I can’t help it if abc family keeps airing it and I refuse to take it off my DVR series recordings. I love it! Sue me.
The first four seasons of Gilmore Girls are delightful, but it’s season five that will always hold a special place in my heart. Why you ask? Well, I’ll tell you. Season five of GG is where Rory meets Logan Huntzberger. Yes, THE Logan Huntzberger, heir to the Huntzberger fortune. Slowly, we realize that Logan is a part of the fictional secret society Life and Death Brigade. Secret society useless information tidbit of the moment: most secret societies share a common trend, taken from Yale and Skull and Bones, of having two part names. Bravo on the accuracy Gilmore Girls! And Bravo for combining my love of secret societies and heirs to vast fortunes!
Rory, being a staff writer for the Yale Daily News, sets off to uncover this secret society after witnessing a girl dressed in a ball gown and gorilla mask hop in a luxury SUV while shouting the phrase “In Omnia Paratus”, latin for prepared for all things. Realizing the mystery behind this story is far more interesting than the article she was writing on illegally downloaded music, she goes with her gut and goes in for the scoop. After what I assume is some hardcore research (Google), Rory puts two and two together and links Logan to the Life and Death Brigade. She’s going to infiltrate the club and get her story told. Doyle is going to be stoked.
Having an interest in Rory, because what sane man wouldn’t have an interest in Rory, Logan invites her to some sort of Life and Death Brigade retreat in the woods. Dressed as if they were extras in The African Queen with beautiful tents, candlelight and a smorgasbord of food, it is obvious that the Life and Deathers know how to throw a weird party in the woods. The next day Logan presents Rory with a formal dress, makes her jump off a very high scaffold and teaches her how to loosen up a bit from her sheltered world.
All in all, Logan's relationship with the Life and Death Brigade was fun at first, and then we were all ready for him to quit that bitch. Even Mitchum Huntzberger, Logan’s dad who was also a member when he was at Yale, was over it. It was time to grow up. Messing with one of Emily’s tchotchkes is one thing, but jumping off a mountain in Costa Rica with an ill prepared parachute is another. Lesson learned: Don’t go cliff jumping with Colin and Finn because they obviously don’t teach proper parachute packing in the Life and Death Brigade.
The Social Network (2010)
I look at Armie that way too, Andrew
The Social Network ranks pretty high on my list of favorite movies. The main reason for this being that it was written by Aaron Sorkin, and I’m a bit of a Sorkinphile. That was an understatement, actually. I’m a big Sorkinphile. A subsection of The Social Network's inclusion on my favorite movies list is that it’s hot, Ivy League boys spitting out Aaron Sorkin dialogue.
I will make a very brief synopsis of the movie, because anyone not living under a rock knows what it’s about. Harvard sophomore Mark Zuckerberg creates Facebook, is sued not only by his best friend, but twins who row* and claim Facebook was their idea. Based on the book, The Accidental Billionaires by Ben Mezrich, there’s an underlying suggestion that Zuckerberg, (or Suckerberg as I like to say), screwed his best friend Eduardo out of the company because he was jealous Eduardo was punched, Harvard talk for chosen, by Final Club the Phoenix S K, and he wasn’t. The Winklevoss twins, played by the dreamy Armie Hammer, are members of the Harvard Final Club the Porcellian, or the Porc for short.
Harvard Final Clubs were established more than a century ago and there are a total of eight clubs in all. While the clubs themselves are not secret, what goes on in them is. Final Clubs are dubbed that because they only accept seniors, thus being the final club you can join before graduation. I guess this makes the whole underlying suggestion of Suckerbergs jealousy a moot point since he was not a senior. Let’s ignore these discrepancies and move on.
Sucerkberg really drives the importance of the Final Clubs home when he states that they “lead to a better life”. Personally, I think the billions of dollars he’s worth now leads to a better life, but that’s just me. I’m guessing the “better life” comment has to be related to the fact that we see hot girls partying with members of the Porc. This type of shenanigans was also demonstrated in The Skulls, and Logan Huntzbeger always had a couple ladies by his side before he committed himself to Rory. And don't try to say he cheated with those bridesmaids, because I believe he honestly thought they were broken up.
The Social Network rocks my world on various levels. First reason obviously being it’s involvement with secret societies. Facebook, according to this movie anyway, was created as an online secret society. In the beginning you couldn’t just join, you had to be invited and be part of whatever college/university was allowed on the site. You couldn’t register unless you had an anycollegeusa.edu email address. So, the movie gets points for that. Then you have the “characters” of Eduardo Saverin and Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss, all Ivy League boys who are very good looking and are heirs to vast fortunes AND are in secret societies. Whew…
Oh, and let’s not forget that Armie Hammer is an actual heir to a vast fortune in real life. It adds a nice touch of realism to my creepy mind.
*Another interesting little tidbit for y’all: One shouldn’t say that they “row crew”. It’s basically saying that “you play baseball team”. Most rowers just state that they row, or that they “cox for crew”. Useless information is AWESOME!
The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants (2005)
Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2 (2008)
As my father always said, you can’t bullshit a bullshiter ladies!
What? You didn’t know they were a secret society? Well riddle me how four girls of various sizes and heights all fit in the same pair of jeans? Exactly, it’s a secret. Enough said.
~So, there you have it. Those were some of my favorite pop culture/secret society mash-ups. Do secret societies pique your interest? Any pop culture/secret society mash-up you think I should have added? What are some topics you just have to tune into/read about?