Dodecatuple Secret Probation

How many universities and colleges frats and residences must lay claim to being the inspiration for Animal House? It must be countless. And just like urban myths, it is often hard to prove or disprove and the story gets repeated enough over the years that it begins to sound true.

This week the University of Toronto turned the Gate House residence, “which lays claim to being an inspiration for the 1978 movie Animal House,” into a co-ed facility after some typical dude idiocy. A giant snow penis sculpture, a pig’s head in a women’s washroom, hazing and this list goes on.

Well not condoning the behaviour, I get the appeal of laying claim to the Animal House mantle. It is one of the best-known pop cultural depictions of university life, and one that is often parodied.

At least Gate House has some connection to the film. Donald Sutherland, who played Professor Jennings in the movie, attended UofT and was in residence next door to Gate House. The Toronto Star says, “his memories of Gate House toga parties are said to have influenced the movie script.” Perhaps, though most everywhere else attributes the origin of Animal House to Dartmouth College, where one of the writers was in the Alpha Delta Phi fraternity.

But whether the residence inspired the film or the film inspired the residents, it was shut down by the university and the dean of students. It’s just how Homer Simpson, whose entire vision of post-secondary life is informed by Animal House-esqe escapades would imagine it. “Marge, someone squeezed all the life out of these kids. And unless movies and TV have lied to me, it's a crusty, bitter old dean!”

Homer Goes to College has several references to Animal House (bless those rowdy members of Chugalug House!), but it can’t touch the loving tribute of Futurama’s Mars University. While the plot centers on Fry and a monkey, it is Bender revisiting his old alma mater, Robot House that steals the show.

Gearshit: No, Bender, wait. We're the lamest frat on campus. Even Hilel has better parties than us. Please, you've gotta stay and teach us how to be cool.

Bender: Well, okay... but I'll need 10 kegs of beer, a continuous tape of Louie Louie and a regulation two-story panty-raid ladder.

Even while on a dodecatuple secret probation, the robots are able to show up the neighbouring Snooty House.

So while UofT may not be the original home of Animal House, it will live on in pop culture forever – and inspire more real-life stupidity.


  1. You know, I've often wondered how many younger Baby Boomers and older Gen Xers were disappointed when they realised that college wasn't like Animal House...

  2. Pop culture - it's always lying to us...

  3. You mean you didn't get to see Kevin Bacon get spanked with a pledge paddle at your school? Guess that was just the University of Windsor then.

  4. The Village People played at my frosh week. That was surreal enough.