Much like the fictional college that is presented in the story, The Chair is a fictional story as well, though as many likely already guessed, it is pieced together from various stories and events that have been going on over the years within the school system, which, in itself, is kind of disturbing. Reports as to what has really happened in the educational system over the years will no doubt vary from one person to the next, particularly when it comes to which offenses have truly been given with the rancor that some would claim and those that are simply the result of some folks being overly sensitive to certain gestures, words, and practices. There’s no denying the fact that the education system is a broken and tortured thing at the moment, and this is reflected in the Netflix show, but the overall gist is that The Chair is fiction that’s imitating reality, at least from a certain point of view and in some cases, with a great amount of bias that’s kind of hard to avoid since, like it or not, a lot of directors and writers find it hard to stay neutral.
The explanation for such a statement, one of the many at least, is that neutrality doesn’t sell. If people were to find a way to get past their difference and find a suitable compromise that would please most, if not all, people, then it’s fair to state that this show wouldn’t have gained the notice it did. There’s not a lot of room in show business for moderation since keeping things nice and copacetic doesn’t manage to get people paid. Emulating the drama and the nonsense that goes on in real life was a perfect choice for this show since it depicts an educational system that many believe is broken beyond repair, and on top of that is horribly biased in one way or another. And yet, somehow, people still get educated, even if some of them blame the school system, and not their own choices, for being ‘let down’ at the end of their college career.
In all fairness, the show does manage to discuss very real problems that do occur at the average university and yes, things have been blown out of proportion in a lot of ways by people from both sides of any issue. Assigning blame in real life is far too easy, much as it would be in the show since the search for who’s responsible for one problem or another tends to be at the top of anyone’s list at times given that many people need someone to blame for an issue that has yet to be resolved. The show has done a great job of showing what real life is like in a number of ways even if a few situations might be glorified or shown to be far more serious than they might be in the real world. This is the goal however since realism is all well and good and definitely valued, but there are times when things need to go over the top in a manner that isn’t exactly realistic, even though some might beg to differ since from one experience to another people do look at life and the many situations they find themselves in from one perspective or another.
When art is imitating life it’s common to see a lot of mistakes since Hollywood goes for the dramatic flair more often than not and leaves reality out of it sometimes. In this case though it’s kind of obvious that the director wanted to put a little more realism into the mix and create something that was both meaningful and a little closer to home for a lot of people. It would be interesting to sit down with a few college professors and administrators to discuss the accuracy of The Chair in order to get their perspective on it and what they might think is accurate and what isn’t entirely realistic. A lot of movies that deal with real-life situations have been using far more accuracy in the past several years and it’s been very impressive. Those that go for satire are of course going to be less believable since they tend to exaggerate many things on purpose to tell an amusing story.
But The Chair is something that definitely paints a picture that’s meant to be a little more real and a lot less flashy than many other shows that have depicted college life. Those that have been there and experienced college from one perspective or another would no doubt be able to pick out moments here and there when the show is on point and when it strays a little. But the overall answer is that no, The Chair is not based on a real story, but it definitely pulls more than a little of its story from real life.