“A Tale of Two Parties”
May 26th, 2008
As two competing parties emerge in the context of the newly lifted regulations, I will myself place a new regulation on Cultural Learnings: from now on, I am going to stop complaining about Casey Cartwright.
This is going to be a serious issue, considering how it seems as if every storyline in the series eventually boils down to how the entire series can revolve around her presence. Now, if I was still complaining about her, I’d note how this ultimately cheapens all of the other characters (in particular Evan, who is getting a rather awful rub in this scenario). But, I’m moving on with my life: from now on, I’m over it.
Which, if the Secret works as Casey wants it to, could perhaps will the series (and her character) to move on in turn. But it’s doubtful.
“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.
May 12th, 2008
There are a few things about Greek that bother me more than others, and rip me right out of my appreciation of its subtle character development in favour of lamenting its more frustrating elements. Casey Cartwright just brings out the worst in me, and the idea of returning to her love hexagon (No, I’m not kidding, it’s a hexagon) isn’t exactly getting me excited.
At some point I think my hatred of Casey will come full circle in favour of an ability to ignore her and move on to other characters I enjoy more (Of which the episode has a few, when considering them outside of Casey’s influence). The show has a lot of charm going for it, but too often its emotional core is placed in the one character who I am not emotionally connected to. Here, we have the emergence of Calvin as a character (for the first time in a while), a fun combination of Rusty and Rebecca, and the internal struggles over how to handle Cappie’s whipped status is something that is enjoyable to watch.
But as long as I keep being cynical about Casey (And her new, personality-less boy toy Shane), I guess it won’t be perfect…and I refuse to turn that into a pun.
“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.
April 28th, 2008
As Carrie over at Zap2it noted, there was probably nowhere to go but down: after an episode that had me psychoanalyzing characters on an ABC Family series as if it was on HBO, chances are that the next episode of Greek wouldn’t be able to live up to such a high standard. In this situation, a show has two choices: either over-emphasize your dramatic tension or allow for comedy to take over to lighten the load.
Not one to choose sides, Greek decided to have thier cake and eat it too: Casey and Evan provide the dramatic pathos (Admittedly not my favourite storyline for the series right now), and Rusty’s romantic exploitation (Not exploits, exploitation) couples with Dale in order to provide the comedy. Sprinkle with a storyline to justify the existence of Rebecca Logan, and you’ve got an episode that moves on from its hideously awkward episode title to become a moderately successful forty minutes.
April 21st, 2008
Ah, good ol’ flashbacks – where people have awful facial hair and magically have conversations with an alarming amount of prescience on the present. It’s also a world where Grey’s Anatomy was more successful than it actually was (The series debuted to decent but not amazing results in early 2005, while in September (Where the flashbacks are found) it was merely a decent success – here it was treated as the phenomenon it now is), but that’s really not the point of the episode – just a little quibble.
It was an episode of humorous hairstyles (Beaver’s blonde locks), awkward foreshadowing, and ultimately an opportunity for the series to rewrite one of its characters in a light that seems too precocious for its own good at times. Was Casey ever actually so on-the-nose with her commentary that I want to throw things at her? And was Cappie really ever this sensitive and observational of Evan’s struggles before quickly developing into a sarcastic slacker?
Well, I buy one of these, and guess what: it’s not Casey.
“War & Peace”
April 14th, 2008
If there’s anything we know about ABC Family’s Greek, it’s that it rarely becomes heavy-handed. In some cases, such as Cappie’s charming Southern-general act, this is an ideal development that heightens my enjoyment of the series. In other cases, however, there are moments where you wonder whether the light-hearted solution to, say, Casey’s affair with a 16-year old doesn’t cheapen the whole thing.
Her young beau didn’t get a mention this time around, and in many ways the episode cleared the air of a lot of broad conflicts in favour of emphasizing smaller ones. The rivalry between our two central fraternities and the struggle between the ZBZ leadership and their National-appointed nuisance Lizzie both disappear in this episode, at least temporarily, which means we’re left with the broader interpersonal questions.
I think that this is perhaps the show’s most difficult balance to strike, defining interpersonal relationships in a world where broad stereotypes define most social interaction. I don’t quite know if it has the balance, considering it had to dump a fair few of its supporting players to make it work, but I definitely don’t think it was a failed exercise.
Let’s chalk it up to a tad bit of nostalgia and a healthy dose of reflection.
I wasn’t exactly desperate for a new show – I had gone most of the strike-forced hiatuses for my favourite shows without getting hooked on much new material, so surely I could last a weekend. However, perhaps it was the return of The Office and 30 Rock that sparked it; they were a high from which I would surely crash during the normal Friday Night doldrums, and I gave in to temptation.
However, the choice of temptation was all of the above – as I prepare to complete my undergraduate university education, it’s a time to reflect back on the university experience. And, coincidentally, I sat down and watched Greek, ABC Family’s college dramedy sat in the Greek system. And, well, I really enjoyed it.
And that might not just be the reflection talking.