Ah Valentine’s Day, the commercial holiday of all holidays (as Rusty and Ashleigh’s “hip” professor reminded us). Although it was a little behind schedule, Greek focused on the special occasion in this week’s “Love, Actually, Possible, Maybe… Or Not,” an episode which finally gave screen time to all its regular cast members and even most of the current recurring players. Fittingly, there was development on all major relationship fronts, with Cupid’s arrow even striking up a new romance, and, as always, some great and not-so-great pop culture references. So let’s get started — after the jump.
Obviously a big aspect of college is relationships, and Greek is not one to buck the trend. I don’t consider myself a ‘shipper on any show really (yes, I may prefer a certain coupling to another, like Sawyer with Juliet over Kate on Lost, but I don’t let it get in the way of enjoying other aspects), and that relationship ambivalence carries through on Greek. I think it has always been clear that Casey and Cappie were destined to end up together, but when she dated Max or he dated Rebecca, it didn’t bother me and it seemed that if the two of them were really meant to be, it would happen eventually. Much has been made recently, especially following Chuck‘s recent non-Chuck/Sarah pairings, of how much will-they-or-won’t-they is too much and whether unresolved relationship tension can kill a show. In Greek‘s case, Casey and Cappie are obviously together now after facing several obstacles, but I never got the feeling that they were being kept apart just for the sake of creating tension or drama. Some of their other relationships in the meantime even opened up new sides to their characters. But while I wouldn’t necessarily care if the two had not rekindled their romance and were spending this Valentine’s Day with different somebodies, the fact that they are back together works story-wise and lets the writers develop the relationship further, especially since the time they actually dated happened before the show started. (A parallel may be drawn here between Jim and Pam, in that the pairing of two obvious meant-to-be characters took a while, but paid off when it finally happened and did not lead to a decline in the show’s overall quality.)
So as an A-story, Casey and Cappie’s best-gift competition worked quite nicely, with some good jokes and gags followed by a well-done emotional ending. It was nice to see the not-all-goofball side of Cappie as he searched for the perfect present, as it was clear that as much as he wanted to play the game and beat Casey, he also truly wanted to find the perfect gift for their first Valentine’s Day together since freshman year. His quest also led to some good exchanges with Beaver, especially over the cooked-macaroni necklace and the homemade God’s eye that Beaver understood, but “didn’t get him in here” (as he points to his heart). We didn’t see as much of Casey’s search for her gift, since she was mostly occupied with Catherine, but Spencer Grammer, who can be pretty shaky at times, really sold the ending when Cappie brought her to the convenience store parking lot where he “first realized he loved her” three years ago.
Quite the opposite happened over in Evan/Rebecca land. I said last week that I wasn’t too interested in this relationship or Evan in general, but his speech about Rebecca to Calvin this week changed my mind a little bit. It is true that most people make him out to be a bad guy (and from Cappie’s side it’s hard to see otherwise), but he is someone who is trying to figure out where he stands after giving up his trust fund and seemingly loosing the faith of most of Omega Chi. The fact that Rebecca is the first girl who really gets him makes sense, and it seems that her anxiety about it is because she agrees, but can’t bring herself to admit that “love” might actually exist. The development of these two seems to be happening fairly quickly, but like Evan pointed out last episode, their relationship does seem to be moving backward in terms of logical steps. I just hope Rebecca doesn’t follow through on her drunken proposal to Beaver (his reaction was great), even though she does have a history of not being the most reliable relationship partner.
Continuing with already established relationships, it was good to see Calvin and Grant back this week and to have Calvin learning from his past relationships and adapting a bit. Though he first felt like they were getting boring as a couple, and was then embarrassed by Grant’s “out and proud” display at the date party, Rebecca got him to see that Grant is just experimenting with the lifestyle (while also making a funny comparison to when she came out “that one week”). Calvin admitted he doesn’t want to be as uptight, and instead of being embarrassed by Grant, was actually inspired to become more brave. It will be interesting to see how Calvin shows that, since he is normally pretty private, but it is a good chance to give him a relationship that lasts more than a few episodes.
The biggest and newest pairing of the night was Rusty and Catherine, who, as Cappie described her, is “stern. The word ‘nordic’ comes to mind.” Their set-up (or “pre-date”), at first just an opportunity for Casey to get back on Catherine’s good side by playing to Rusty’s lonely romantic side, seemed to go about as horribly as one could expect, but it was surprising to see how Catherine reacted afterwards. Rusty as “suave” is certainly not a common description, but it was a good Valentine’s pairing that was able to address some relationship issues but also bring a humorous side. Just the scenes at Dobler’s were worth it for how awkward they were (political science = poli.sci, but polymer science doesn’t?), but it was nice to see Catherine actually get a human side and for Rusty to get down off the high horse he’d been riding the last few weeks. The ending, with Catherine getting shot with the arrow, was very clearly telegraphed, but it did lead to a fitting awkward hug at the end of the night.
Ashleigh’s story didn’t do much except show that, despite her suspicions, Pete was actually a good guy, and, exactly in line with her suspicions, Natalie was manipulative and catty. There was a lot of repetition in the “maybe he’s cheating” plot, but it was good to see Ashleigh get the upper hand at the end (and, I hope, end the burning-down-Gamma Psi story for good).
Finally, Dale’s story was limited, and we never even saw retainer-wearing Bridget, but it was funny to see his crush on Casey again, manifest this time in an essay-length Valentine’s card (“don’t read it in front of me”). Don’t want to know what his retainer-related injury was, though.
Overall, Valentine’s Day was good to Greek and it set some good stories in motion for the coming weeks. It seems like it just started up again, but this second part of the season is already half over, so let’s hope the developments keep coming.
Bits & Pieces:
- Dale’s church party was titled, “Celibate Good Times, Come On!”
- “Like for straight guys when Megan Fox speaks.” — Calvin about having an all-access pass to Grant’s life, which was taking the magic out of things
- There were several weird sex jokes made to Rusty about members of his family (the X-rated conversation hearts from Rusty’s that Calvin suggested were meant for his dad; Cappie saying “Try pleasing your sister” and holding up handcuffs after)
- Should I have gotten the Eddie Cibrian and LeAnn Rimes reference?
- “Worst pairing since Drew Barrymore and directing.” — Casey, about Rusty and Catherine (was it an off-night for pop-culture one-liners?)
- “We’re not an item… Bridget’s Catholic” (ick face) — Dale to Casey
- Who was shooting the arrow that hit Catherine? Because she was standing in front of the target for a looong time
- “Spinning” by Jack’s Mannequin was playing in the background as Ashleigh and Pete kissed