Pop-culture material about professor-student romantic relationships?
December 22, 2004 9:08 PM   Subscribe

I'm in the early stages of writing a paper on professor-student romantic relationships/affairs and am looking for some pop culture to back me up. Can anyone suggest any novels, movies, etc., that deal with this topic? I'm looking primarily for male professor/female student, but the other way around works, as well. Thanks.
posted by Zosia Blue to Media & Arts (44 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

This is probably too offbeat but Lee Siegel's novel Love in a dead language should fit the bill.
posted by dhruva at 9:25 PM on December 22, 2004

Philip Roth's masterpiece (imo), The Dying Animal, and David Gilmour's beautifully written (but flawed) Sparrow Nights.
posted by You Should See the Other Guy at 9:27 PM on December 22, 2004

Oleana by David Mamet (not so much about an affair, but an interesting piece to read for your subject and not too long, either)
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 9:35 PM on December 22, 2004 [1 favorite]

The Corrections (Franzen).
posted by jeb at 9:36 PM on December 22, 2004

Don't stand
Don't stand so
Don't stand so close to me
posted by HyperBlue at 9:42 PM on December 22, 2004 [1 favorite]

Educating Rita?
posted by gnat at 9:42 PM on December 22, 2004

Do whatever you can to get your hands on a copy of the ridiculously out of print Darconville's Cat by Alexander Theroux. Incredible novel on this subject, partly based on Theroux's own experiences.

Here, here's a bookfinder search for used copies. Lots of cheap ones. Get one of those. Do it now. DO IT.
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 9:47 PM on December 22, 2004

Michael Chabon's Wonder Boys. It's been a while since I read it or saw the movie though. If I recall correctly, the affair never actually happens... it stops at the flirting when the student decides the teacher is a schmuck. But there's strong tension between the male professor and the female student.
posted by jewishbuddha at 9:54 PM on December 22, 2004

The First Stone may give you something to chew on.
posted by tellurian at 10:03 PM on December 22, 2004

Van Halen, of course. They made a video.
posted by Saucy Intruder at 10:04 PM on December 22, 2004

She asked for pop culture: I offer last season's Gilmore Girls.
posted by nicwolff at 10:31 PM on December 22, 2004

"Disgrace," by JM Coetzee, won a Booker prize. It's about a professor who loses his career after an affair with a student.

The Todd Solondz movie "Storytelling" has a disturbing vignette about a student's sexual encounter with her professor.
posted by croutonsupafreak at 11:26 PM on December 22, 2004

25th Hour.
posted by inksyndicate at 11:42 PM on December 22, 2004

Er, nobody for pop culture? Here goes, then:

'Loser', Amy Heckerling - basically Billy Wilder's 'Appartment' in a college setting.

'The Pelican Brief' - John Grisham.
posted by NekulturnY at 12:59 AM on December 23, 2004

Ross dates a student (Elizabeth) on "Friends".
posted by taz at 1:19 AM on December 23, 2004

"Small World" by David Lodge -- not only features the professor-student relationship but is a wickedly hilarious satire of all things academic.
posted by Rumple at 1:42 AM on December 23, 2004

The Matter of Desire, a novel by Edmundo Paz Soldan, Eric Rohmer's film The Autumn Tale, Lee Myung-Se's film First Love, and I swear there's at least five Woody Allen films with this theme, but they're all running together in my mind as the image of some shlubby middle-aged man whining "I know my wife will find out and I'll get fired, but no one understands me like she does, Max."
posted by melissa may at 3:15 AM on December 23, 2004

Oh, I forgot - more pop culture - 'Election' by Alexander Payne. It's more in a high school setting (thanks to melissa, whose 'shlubby middle aged man whining' suddenly brought that movie back!)
posted by NekulturnY at 3:30 AM on December 23, 2004

Mila Kunis has a thing with William Shatner in 'Ameircan Pyscho 2' (bad movie, bad acting...)
posted by nathan_teske at 3:43 AM on December 23, 2004

Ally McBeal, Season 1, Ep 3 "The Affair" has some v.good material. Ally is asked by the Prof's widow (who doesn't know) to be a pallbearer at his funeral.

In Legally Blonde, Reese Witherspoon dates an her professor's assistant/asssociate, and Never Been Kissed features Drew Barrymore dating her highschool teacher, though Drew's character is 25 so that might count.
posted by cillit bang at 4:38 AM on December 23, 2004

I can't believe I'm the one going to say this. Dawson's Creek. Pacey and his teacher. As I remember, this was the big controversy with the show to begin with.

Don't really ask me any questions about it...as I never watched the show. Really.

Aside from the ones mentioned...

There are unfufilled relationships in :
Three O'Clock High (1987)
Summer School (1987)
posted by filmgeek at 5:04 AM on December 23, 2004

Also in Dawson's Creek, later on in college, Joey has some sort of fling with her English professor as well.

And she has has a thing for an English professor in Wonder Boys.

I think I'll become an English professor.
posted by icontemplate at 5:16 AM on December 23, 2004

The Life of David Gale, although it's not really an affair (student seduces professor, professor gives in, student accuses professor of rape etc.).
posted by CKZ at 6:01 AM on December 23, 2004

The events of What Lies Beneath stem from the Harrison Ford character's affair with a student.
posted by biffa at 6:04 AM on December 23, 2004

In the Cut the film by Jane Campion, based on the book (same Title) by Susanna Moore. The book is better than the movie, but the movie does have Mark Ruffalo's in it. Just sayin'.
posted by lilboo at 6:25 AM on December 23, 2004

Blue Angel by Francine Prose
posted by amarynth at 6:33 AM on December 23, 2004

Nobody's mentioned the manga/tv show/anime Great Teacher Onizuka? Though that's more high school teachers than professors.

Summer School and The Corrections are both great works (in different senses) but the student/teacher realtionships are such a minor part of those works I would skip them if I wasn't familiar with them.
posted by bobo123 at 7:13 AM on December 23, 2004

Response by poster: These are all fantastic suggestions. Thank you!
posted by Zosia Blue at 8:09 AM on December 23, 2004

Rushmore with Jason Schwartzman and Bill Murray vying for the attention of Olivia Williams. But can you blame them?

Rosemary Cross: Do you think we're going to have sex?
Max Fischer: That's a kinda cheap way to put it.
Rosemary Cross: Not if you've ever fucked before, it isn't.

posted by geekyguy at 8:10 AM on December 23, 2004

if you like mamet, oleanna is not bad. if you don't like mamet, you'll probably hate it more than all of his other stuff that's made it to film.

not real relationship, just a lot of verbal sparring over the accusation of sexual harassment/abuse of position of authority, but I think that has got to touch on some of the same themes, right?
posted by juv3nal at 8:17 AM on December 23, 2004

I seem to remember there were a couple teacher/student affairs on Beverly Hills 90210 back in the day.
posted by SisterHavana at 9:37 AM on December 23, 2004

One on One.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 9:53 AM on December 23, 2004

There's an episode of CSI with that particular twist. Sadly I dont know the name of it, but if you watch Spike TV for two solid hours, five days a week, you will eventually find it. Alternatively, there is always IMDB.
posted by Medieval Maven at 10:01 AM on December 23, 2004

Paul Auster - Moon Palace (though the relevant part doesn't click until half or 2/3 of the way through the book).
posted by advil at 10:27 AM on December 23, 2004

Educating Rita. My Fair Lady. It's a male teacher/female student romance of sorts.
posted by macadamiaranch at 11:19 AM on December 23, 2004

The Police's "Don't Stand So Close to Me" is the theme song for this issue! Other popcult resources: the currently airing and soon to be cancelled "Life as We Know It" features a relationship between between a female teacher and a male student, and the Smallville episode "Heat" featured a (F) teacher coming on to a (m) student as well.
posted by headspace at 11:35 AM on December 23, 2004

Let's not forget Animal House in which we are forced to endure the sight of Donald Sutherland's ass after a romantic interlude with his student, Katie.
posted by rorycberger at 11:59 AM on December 23, 2004

Back to School. Sure it sucks, but kitsch is good for guaging popular opinion.
posted by gesamtkunstwerk at 12:02 PM on December 23, 2004

Wild Things
posted by Yorrick at 2:55 PM on December 23, 2004

In the 1995 season of Absolutely Fabulous, the episode "Jealous" was about this. Saffron, a university student, had a crush on her Psychology lecturer.
posted by CrunchyFrog at 4:47 PM on December 23, 2004

This fall's P.S. features Laura Linney as a college admissions worker who falls in love with an applicant.
posted by JDC8 at 6:22 PM on December 23, 2004

Laura Kipnis wrote a fluff piece for Slate a while back...there's also a reader out there on student-professor relationships and sex/romance in academia in general, but for the life of me I cannot find it on Amazon and I don't recall the title; I just know it exists...it had all sorts of authors, some relatively high brow and then also Stephen King...there is also Francise Prose's The Blue Angel.
posted by ifjuly at 6:37 PM on December 23, 2004

Great question. Many of the books or movies I was going to recommend are already listed. Solendz's Storytelling and Coetzee's Disgrace are the two most interesting and thought-provoking ones, and both are really short.

Yesterday, I just finished reading last year's Booker shortlisted What Was She Thinking? (in Britain, it's called Notes on a Scandal) by Zoe Heller. It's not exactly what you want - a female teacher sleeping with a fifteen-year old male student - but it's a great book that should have won the Booker, so check it out anyway.

I remember that Lingua Franca, a now defunct journal for academics, had some articles on this subject. A quick Google search found that one such article was called "Dankness Made Visible", and although I can't find it online, here are a bunch of responses.
posted by painquale at 8:21 AM on December 24, 2004

The World According to Garp and an article at the Guardian listing novels with the theme of lecturer/student relationships.
posted by ?! at 11:00 AM on December 24, 2004

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