Greek – “No Campus for Old Rules”

“No Campus for Old Rules”

May 19th, 2008

If you’re wondering why this week’s review of ‘Greek’ is so far behind, I just unfortunately wasn’t able to get to the episode before now. Blame the television gods for that one, I guess, but I’ve finally been able to spend more time with a show that continues to charm me.

This week’s episode was no change to that pattern, although also no different than my past views: I continue to despise everything about Casey, and continue to enjoy the series’ ability to build characters outside of her own. The show smartly returned to a lingering character moment, and played with the kinds of relationships that are actually intriguing or interesting in the broad scheme of things.

Whether its bitter rivals who find a mutual respect, or bitter enemies who embrace a mutual attraction, Greek has certain notes it hits extremely well…just not Casey.

I’ll get my Casey hate out of the way right off the bat: she gives Ashley special privileges, apologizes and opens herself up to a broad range of other leadership problems, and through it all she has no idea what she’s doing or why it was even moderately unfair. That the series continues to portray Rebecca and the pledges as the “mean girls” when Casey is so clearly off the rails is growing annoying, although I like how Franny continues to be a voice of reason that Casey so often chooses to ignore. Her character is definitely the most interesting for me as we’ve moved into these ZBZ storylines.

She’s also at the center of a complex new Evan/Casey relationship, one thing about Casey that works for me. That Evan is so clearly desiring something beyond friendship, which he essentially bought in the previous episode, gives it an intriguing twist, and that now Franny is caught up in the mess of it all certainly adds another ticking time bomb. It is unfortunate, though, that eventually it will all blow up and that Casey will be seen as the innocent victim, when I’d argue that Franny is the most fault-free in this scenario (Evan, for buying off another guy, is perhaps worst of all).

And yet, I liked Evan’s character in this episode because he was actually extremely logical. In particular, his relationship with Cappie is a nice subtle play that we’ve seen most recently; ever since we learned the story of how their friendship fell apart, we’re getting a different side to their interaction. Here, Evan honestly tries to help Cappie with his speech, and is quick to recognize that he is on the right track with his address to the board. Cappie’s acknowledgment that it’s weird to both like and hate someone is the perfect tone to their friendship: they have every reason to dislike one another based on past history and current rivalry, but at the same time there is an odd mutual respect that recalls earlier times. It’s a relationship I think plays well, and one I want to see a bit more of.

This is the same sentiment I had for Rusty and Tina, our Greek-hating roommate of his last conquest who turned out not to be a fan of the stalking. You could tell from that first interaction that they were destined for this kind of coupling, but I think it’s a good pairing for him: she’s actually challenging to his idiocy, and their attraction isn’t built on sappy notions of love. Admittedly, I am pondering how anyone could be attracted to some of Rusty’s more annoying neuroses, but their adversarial coupling was charming enough to overcome any sort of fallacies. As far as relationships on the show go, I’d argue they have some of the most realistic chemistry, so who am I to argue?

I also like the final moment wherein Dale and Rusty’s friendship is dealt with: Rusty stops being an obnoxious greek for a moment and realizes that Dale totally and fundamentally embarassed himself by comparing the Greeks to Sodom and Gomorrah in front of a crowd that isn’t quite as into his religious messaging as he might be. It was a quiet moment, and it was great to see that the show is capable of pulling back Dale from comedy in favour of real human understanding. USAG being disbanded might be poor for Dale’s screentime, and it was certainly a source of a few nice gags/moments, but I do like the idea of returning to a somewhat less antagonistic perspective for Dale’s character.

So, on the whole, once we got past the annoying Casey storyline, I thought that it was a strong episode for the characters I enjoy. And, as we march towards the final three episodes of the season, that’s where we need to be. I do kind of worry that, since we’ve resolved the Greek restrictions, we will have to deal with nothing but love triangle and Casey-related storylines to create drama once the finale rolls around, but I’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.

Cultural Observations

  • I like the show’s willingness to both fall into somewhat absurd humour (Dean Bowman with the flaming dog crap on the doorstep) and, in my favourite moment of the episode, Beaver shamelessly referencing 90210 (With “DONNA MARTIN GRADUATES“). It’s a great combination of intelligent satire and slapstick that is growing on me more and more.
  • Really liked Rebecca/Cappie’s discussion with Rusty about Tina, particularly Rebecca’s “Just have sex with her already” and their banter thereafter. I don’t know if I completely buy the pairing in a lot of ways, but their banter is incredibly engaging and provided one of the better scenes in the episode nearly single-handedly.

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