College in media is regularly portrayed as an island of self-exploration and opportunity, from the gross appetite of Animal House's frat scene to the brainy riches to more riches tale of The Social Network. In reality, the experience of college as playground is restricted. Fully 44 percent of those who attend post-secondary school go not to Middleton or the like, but to a community college. Those who do attend elite universities are shockingly wealthy; at Harvard, 45.6 percent of undergraduates come from families with income over $200,000, putting them in the top 3.8 percent of households in the U.S.
Toward the beginning of the film, Audrey and her mom are doing a crossword puzzle which asks for a synonym for "feckless." The word then comes up again and again, a jokey advanced vocab college term. It's a description of George and Edith, obviously, who are indulging in a flirtation that is a betrayal of their spouses and their children. But it's also a description of college itself, which is portrayed as an oasis of irresponsibility in which the well-to-do reproduce their own privileged fecklessness.