Greek | “The Tortoise and the Hair”

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“The Tortoise and the Hair” was the fourth episode of the second chapter of the third season of Greek and… sorry, that’s just too many numbers.

Let’s just say I know I’m jumping in a little late on the individual episode reviews, especially since the series is reportedly in danger of cancellation, but I’ve watched the series from the beginning and for reasons explained in my previous post thought now would be as good a time as any to start. So let’s get started — after the jump.

Greek has always been a fun show, and even though it’s on ABC Family, it has story lines and characters who are relatable and more mature than one might think. It deals with college themes like relationships, drinking, sex, and of course, fraternities and sororities. But it also goes deeper, addressing issues from religion (usually through Dale) and politics to homosexuality (through Calvin, and briefly Rebecca). The show seems to get a bad rap from the actual college-student demographic, maybe due to its being scheduled with more clearly teenage-targeted Make It or Break It and The Secret Life of the American Teenager, and is at best referred to as a guilty pleasure. Even if it isn’t landing on any Top Ten lists or winning awards, though, the enjoyment I get out of Greek disqualifies it from “guilty” classification and makes me want to write about it and spread the word.

“The Tortoise and the Hair” was a pretty strong entry in this second chapter of season three. I was glad that the “Who burned down Gamma Psi?” question was answered early and didn’t get dragged out, but now it seems like the Rusty science project plot could take over that role. It was a good idea to let Rusty win the Wyatt Grant over Dale, thus creating some tension in their relationship that always seemed too in-sync considering their personality differences. The problem, though, is that this particular story puts a cocky Rusty front-and-center, and in this episode he just got too annoying. I understand that he would feel like (pardon the pun) the big man on campus after winning a prestigious award, but for a character who isn’t that funny and who often works better in a group dynamic, an unlikeable version of Rusty at the center of his own story line just isn’t working. Luckily, Dana brought him down a notch at the end (his cockiness was a problem last week, too, with Grant), so I hope his levelheadedness will continue.

The other main story line this week involved Casey exploring her interest in politics by volunteering as…a voter registration recruiter? In February? The timing was a little off, but the main reason for this convenient job placement was for Casey to meet another good-looking guy (this time a Congresswoman’s chief of staff) and to realize she and Cappie had to actually think about what would happen with their relationship after graduation. Casey’s political aspirations have certainly been addressed previously, most notable through her summer internship in Washington, but that thread seemed a little inorganic here, thrown in just for the sake of creating some drama between her/Cappie and her/politician Joel. As out of the blue as the framing device seemed, it will be interesting to see how Casey and Cappie approach graduation, both separately and as a couple, and it will be a good opportunity to mine a more serious topics like those I mentioned above — this one being, even if they are best for each other at college, does that mean they’re best for each other after?

The C-stories this week alternated between further Evan-Rebecca romance and the new Dale-Ashleigh definitely-not-romance. Evan and Rebecca together don’t really interest me, but I like Rebecca, so it might just be a case of finding Evan more dull lately. The Dale-Ashleigh plot was very funny, though, as everything with Dale tends to be. Since he lost the grant to Rusty, Dale takes the hasher job at ZBZ to earn some extra money. Ashleigh hires him, thinking it will be the easiest way to avoid another Fisher fiasco, but when the other girls complain, she caves and replaces Dale with some other better-looking guy. When the girls realize the new guy is just creepy, they all ask for Dale back, and he accepts only after Ashleigh promises not to pursue him romantically. After his failed relationship with landlady Sheila, he is back to his religious ways and doesn’t want to be tempted, and a lot of humor comes out of their misunderstanding. For a show that seems to like rotating its characters around into new matches, I hope they try this one out for more than a few episodes since pairing two of the lighter characters has some great comic potential.

Overall, despite some contrived plot details (I didn’t even get into the fact that, despite Rusty’s project winning the huge grant, it was fellow student Dana who discovered its fatal flaw), “The Tortoise and the Hair” was a solid episode. Casey and Cappie realized that their rekindled relationship wouldn’t be all smooth sailing, Rusty seemed to get out of his cockiness rut, and Dale brought the funny. The only thing that really stuck out was the lack of Calvin. After sitting out “Pride and Punishment” two weeks ago, he and Grant got a good story in last week’s softball game episode, but then this week he was absent again. It must be a budget issue, but it still was weird to have no further progression in the Calvin-Grant plot.

Bits & Pieces:

  • “Wow, you’re unpleasant” — Dale to Rebecca at ZBZ
  • Dale’s summer job was at Tacos & Donuts
  • “Do little cartoon birds hold up your robe for you every morning?” — Rebecca to Casey
  • “Register to vote or they might outlaw porn” — Casey’s strategy for enticing male voters
  • “The weather never seems to change” — very meta-comment by Cappie about the always-sunny CRU campus
  • Dale’s shirt that read: “I can’t wait til tomorrow ’cause I get better looking every day”
  • Dana seemed surprised that she was going to be working for Rusty, but wouldn’t she have known that before she agreed to take the job?
  • The turtle race track at the KT house was quite impressive
  • Professor Hastings seems like the worst advisor ever. He was very eager to be recognized by EW (Engineering Weekly) with Rusty, but he never even offered to help with the project, even after promising an impossible deadline. At least at the end he gave Rusty some good advice.
  • Casey expected to get a Capitol Hill job after throwing one voter registration party at Dobler’s??
  • The fact that CRU apparently has a law school could make it easier for the series to continue even after Casey and others graduate (although we haven’t really heard others’ plans)

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