ABC Family // 2008 // 517 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Clark Douglas // January 29th, 2009
TV's coolest young cast!
"So, uh, how does one go about breaking up with an overly aggressive 'fun' buddy?"
The holiday break is over, and all the kids are returning to college for the second semester. So where are all of our favorite characters at when we catch up with them again? Casey Cartwright (Spencer Grammer, Beauty Queen) is no longer in a romantic relationship, and is attempting to get over her rather bitter break-up with the hunky Evan Chambers (Jake McDorman, Live Free or Die Hard). Casey is currently the president of the Zeta Beta Zeta sorority, and Evan is one of the most influential members of the Omega Chi fraternity. In the wake of the ZBZ scandal that occurred during previous episodes of Greek (and in the wake of Evan and Casey's failed relationship), Omega Chi decides to cut itself off from ZBZ. That's not the only problem Casey is facing. Now some sort of sorority supervisor has been called in to live in the ZBZ house until she determines that moral order has been return to the sisterhood. This means no drinking, no sex, not even a little PG-rated fun.
Meanwhile, Casey's brother Rusty (Jacob Zachar) is also struggling in the wake of a failed romance, but he finds solace in the company of his rowdy brothers in the Kappa Tau house. Kappa Tau is run by Cappie (Scott Michael Foster, Quarterlife), Casey's other ex-boyfriend. Cappie is a free-wheeling, easy-going kind of guy. He's currently dating Rebekah Logan (Dilshad Vadsaria), the rather mean-spirited daughter of a powerful U.S. Senator. Both seem happy in the relationship, but the two manage to cause all kinds of problems (intentionally or unintentionally) for everyone around them.
We also meet up with Calvin (Paul James), a student who has recently been "outed" in front of the entire school. While attempting to deal with the embarrassment of the experience, Calvin debates whether to leave Omega Chi in order to join the considerably more easy-going Kappa Tau. Calvin also begins to have a serious debate with Dale (Clark Duke), Rusty's ultraconservative Christian roommate. Dale is convinced that he can "cure" Calvin of his homosexuality. When he's not concerning himself with saving Calvin from hellfire and damnation, Dale focuses on attempting to disband the entire Greek system. Finally, we also see Frannie (Tiffany DuPont) again, who is humbly requesting to be let back into the ZBZ house after her disgraced exit. There's a whole lot in store for these characters over the course of the next twelve episodes.
Okay, so let's just clear something up real quick. Greek: Chapter Two is essential Greek: Season One, Part Two. The series began in July of 2007, and was halted after ten episodes due to the writer's strike. Those episodes were collected as Greek: Chapter One, which I reviewed for this site and found surprisingly enjoyable and thoughtful. The show then returned in March of 2008 with another batch of 12 episodes, essentially completing the first season. So, how does this second chapter hold up in comparison to the rather impressive first?
Quite well, I would say. Greek is still fairly addictive from a purely soapy standpoint, and continues to prove its worth by offering an honest and thoughtful look at the perils of college life. The show's attitude toward alcohol and sex in college is quite frank and refreshing. Some parents may object to the show's admission that the vast majority of students are going to participate in both activities. Still, the down-to-earth honesty of Greek grants some credibility to messages that might otherwise play as forced public service announcements.
All of the characters continue to be reasonably engaging, though I'm most fascinated by the individuals just outside the center of the show. Calvin's struggles with his now-public homosexuality provide some of the most fascinating material here. For instance, Calvin meets a guy that he likes, and they go out on a date. The guy begins talking about how great America's Next Top Model has been lately, and invites Calvin to join him at the latest gay film festival in town. Calvin reluctantly agrees, but finds himself rather unhappy in the relationship initially. "Just because I'm gay, why does that mean my whole life has to be centered around being gay?" he asks a friend. "I like sports and action movies, not America's Next Top Model."
I also continue to be fascinated by Rusty's roommate Dale, a character who always manages to be just complex and surprising enough to avoid being a cheesy stereotype. Yes, he's a religious conservative who keeps a confederate flag on the wall, but he also proves to be surprisingly open-minded and thoughtful at times, and his personal conflicts with his rather rigid belief system provide some welcomed gentle humor. Similarly, Rebekah always veers pretty close to being nothing more than "the bad girl," but every time you begin to loathe her she does something to demonstrate the small shred of humanity and tenderness that is buried away.
The transfer is actually rather disappointing, as some color bleeding and a serious lack of background detail prevent the show from look very sharp. Still, it's not like Greek has a whole lot to offer from a visual standpoint, anyway. Audio is strong, though. The energetic soundtrack blends nicely with the sound design and dialogue, and is generally well-distributed. Extras include a handful of audio commentaries with the cast and crew, a brief making-of featurette, bloopers, and a music video. None of these are particularly substantial, honestly.
A few small peripheral characters seem like jokes rather than human beings, and this makes them rather distracting. A campus cop is stupid beyond belief. The ZBZ supervisor Lizzie is cheerful and strict to the point of nausea. One former Kappa Tau President seems to be doing a bad Fonzie impression. Nothing terribly important, but distracting nonetheless. The show also has a somewhat bothersome superficial side on occasion, as all of the major characters are generally beautiful and slim. Meanwhile, overweight individuals are mocked on several occasions. Finally, I could do with a little less of the cornball "catfight" scenes between the girls. They become tiresome rather quickly.
Despite minor problems, Greek is still a very addictive little show with some positive messages for aspiring college students. If you enjoyed the first chapter, the second provides an equally satisfactory viewing experience.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: ABC Family
* 1.78:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
Running Time: 517 Minutes
Release Year: 2008
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Gag Reel
* Music Video