ABC Family has a real winner in the series Greek. Itâ€™s a TV dramedy that revolves around a group of college students at fictitious Cyprus-Rhodes University, all of whom are involved with the campus Greek system, whether itâ€™s as a member or as someone who opposes it. Chapter Two, the second half of Greek’s first season, has just been released in a three-disc collection that contains 12 hourlong episodes and several bonus features, including commentary by the cast.
At the center of this group is Casey Cartwright (perky Spencer Grammer), a bright, pretty girl who is trying to maintain her status as one of the most popular girls in her sorority house, Zeta Beta Zeta. Casey has become the interim president of her Zeta Beta chapter and is realizing that the job is tougher than she anticipated. Moreover, because of rule violations that occurred in the first part of season 1, a national Zeta Beta representative is monitoring their every move. Caseyâ€™s life is also conflicted because of the feelings she has for two frat boys, Evan (Jake McDorman, who manages to be likable and a scumbag at the same time) the president of the bourgeois Omega Chi Delta house, and Cappie (a fun Scott Michael Foster), president of the Animal House influenced Kappa Tauâ€™s. Rounding out the men in Caseyâ€™s life is her geeky brother, Rusty (Jacob Zachar) a freshman rushing Cappieâ€™s frat.
Subplots include Rustyâ€™s evangelical roommate, Dale (Clark Duke playing the nerd factor to perfection) crusade to bring down the fraternity system and Rustyâ€™s other friend, Calvin (Paul James) suddenly being outted and trying to deal with the ramifications. They are handled nicely, but the focus is on the lives of Casey, Evan, Cappie and Rusty. In many ways, Greek is like Undeclared, Judd Apatowâ€™s much beloved show that aired on Fox, except that Greek has been tamed by standards to make it safe for ABC Family. While Greek does touch on some serious issues (such as Calvinâ€™s homosexualityâ€”by the way, Iâ€™m pleased that Calvin is played with strength and humor), itâ€™s the issues of the heart that drive the show. That doesnâ€™t mean the writers donâ€™t have some fun slipping some things by the censors.
My favorite joke came during an exchange between Casey and her best friend, Ashleigh (Amber Stevens). Casey has an interview with a Harvard Law rep that was arranged by Evan. As Evan has just betrayed her trust, Casey is thinking of skipping it. She tells Ashleigh, â€œThe interview has been tainted by Evan.â€ To which Ashleigh replies, â€œWho cares about Evanâ€™s taint?â€ These frat boy jokes are littered throughout the series and are sure to make your jaw drop, if you arenâ€™t laughing your ass off. I also enjoy the little inside jokes, such as the scene in which Ashleigh is discussing the greatness of Ferris Bueller to the college dean, a character played by Alan Ruck (aka â€œCameronâ€ from Ferris Buellerâ€™s Day Off).
Actually, the presence of Ruck and the general tone of the show seem to be homage to writer/director John Hughes. If the man behind Sixteen Candles, The Breakfast Club, Pretty in Pink and Weird Science had ever graduated some of his creations to college, I believe they would have turned out something like the characters that populate Greek. You could see Molly Ringwald in the Casey role, James Spader or Andrew McCarthy as Evan, Judd Nelson or Jon Cryer playing Cappie, and Iâ€™ll be damned if Rusty isnâ€™t a proud tribute to the legacy of Anthony Michael Hallâ€™s ’80s film characters (in fact, Hallâ€™s character in the Hughes-penned National Lampoonâ€™s Vacation was named Rusty).
Sure, the setup of Greek may sound like just another typical ABC Family series, (maybe thatâ€™s not saying much, since ABC Family currently airs the absolute worst show on television). But Iâ€™m pleased to say that this is a well-written, funny show that, taken in small doses, is wonderful to watch.