Greek – “47 Hours and 11 Minutes”

“47 Hours and 11 Minutes”

May 5th, 2008

It’s “Meet the Parents” week on Greek, and I’ll admit that I wasn’t a huge fan of this one. Something about the various parents was just a bit too predictable: of course the Cartwrights are judgmental (Have you met their daughter?), of course Dale’s parents are overbearing, and of course Senator Logan is a cheating dirtbag because how else are we to start viewing his daughter as a sympathetic character?

The series is often mature beyond its appearance, but here it felt the exact opposite: an episode that appears on the surface to be a heartfelt realization of a parents’ love or a person’s own path is actually a validation of a vapid, twisted and totally unreasonable sibling perspective. I hated Casey in this episode, and by the end her behaviour was somehow “good” due to the end result. Call me a purist, but this “Ends Justify the Means” B.S. just isn’t going to cut it for me, not when the series already has issues with keeping her character within the likability window.

As a result, this episode was an exercise in my patience just as much as in the Freshmen with their parents in town.

Parental units are always a good source of drama or comedy, a chance for a writing staff to either tell us more about where these characters came from or to force them to reconsider where they’ve been, where they are, and where they’re going. Something about parents just brings that out in people, so as our characters are finally settling in on who they are in college it’s about time that is shaken up.

And for Rusty, I think it’s good – he has managed to balance the Kappa Tau and academic parts of his life (Or so we assume, since we haven’t seen him go to class since the opening episodes), and by all standards things seem pretty normal for him right now. Considering this, it makes sense that facing his parents would shake him up, and it was a realistic portrayal of how someone would act in that situation. I think that the senior Cartwrights were a bit TOO judgmental at points (It was very “on-the-nose, precocious” for my tastes), but I think it does help explain some of Rusty’s neurotic tendencies. When he comes clean at episode’s end, and stands up for himself after his parents find him serving drinks in a maid’s outfit, it’s a decent little turn.

But, it’s a turn forced by Casey being a horrible human being. I get that she has issues with her parents ignoring her choice of path (Sorority President vs. Whatever idealistic image they paint), but her reaction is so selfish and vindictive that I could not believe when the series just brushed it off: are they seriously suggesting that what Casey did was within her rights based on the situation? Rusty was clearly concerned, and that Casey was unwilling to let him get away with it not because she wanted the truth to come out, but that she wanted someone to join her in the parental dog house and have to go through the same things she did was beyond my sympathies. Admittedly, my opinion of the character has never been very high, but here was she selfish to the point of attempting to destroy her younger brother just so she could feel better about herself.

When it resolved itself, the show wanted us to believe that Rusty was glad that Casey had been the worst sister of all time, because it forced him to come clean. However, that’s something that Rusty should have done on his own terms, and you do that with a pep talk and not by purposefully embarrassing him and shaming him just so he knows how you feel deep inside. The end solution just doesn’t add up for me, and was far too clean considering her actions.

It’s sad when I actually thought that Rebecca Logan (of all people) was more justified in her decision to pimp out Cappie as a bad boy to anger her father: affair trumps whatever issues Casey has going on in her head, and that we had to see Casey’s judgmental mug staring at the carnage after the event as Cappie storms off is too much. She has no leg to stand on with these things, so why is she able to be in this position? I’m glad, at least, they had Ashley set things right in Rebecca’s head and have her apologize to Cappie, but at the same time Ashley was fairly vapid with the Cartwrights earlier in the episode so she might not be the best person to talk to either.

Really, the only storyline that wasn’t complicated by Casey’s annoyance was Dale, who realized that he kind of liked having a bit of distance from his parents (In other words, air mattress in the middle of the dorm room and following him everywhere? Not so much.) It was a nice little storyline that had some cute little moments (The mother dropping the air mattress to reminisce about the confederate flag, or leaving his parents watching The Passion of the Christ to keep them busy), but I do hope that we do start to see a change in Dale’s character sooner rather than later. It doesn’t need to be major, as the nice subtle shift away from judgmental that we saw at the end of the episode here might be a step in the right direction.

On the whole, this is an episode that Casey just pretty much ruined for me, so it’s clear that I really don’t have any respect for the character by this point. I don’t quite know where they’re taking the character, exactly (Franny being all nervous about the Evan kiss situation seems like it has nowhere to go, don’t know why we’re pursuing it), but part of my hopes it’s off of the show altogether.

Cultural Observations

  • I mentioned Ashley above, but seriously: considering the conversation she had with Casey, is she really so peppy as to talk about mixers and parties in front of her parents? And, as roommates, haven’t they had this discussion numerous times? I just don’t buy how airheaded they sometimes want to make this character.
  • As usual, I thought that Cappie’s reactions all episode were the most genuine: his initial disappointment in Rebecca’s decision, his anger at her decision to dress him down in front of her father, and his eventual point of understanding. If only Casey could be so human.
  • A special shout-out to my own parental units for never being quite so judgmental – I graduate in five days, so this was a nice reminder of that.

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