Greek | “Your Friends and Neighbors”

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Did anyone notice any prominent themes in this week’s Greek? I certainly didn’t, and if there were any, they were certainly subtle…

Oh wait! Nearly every story line beat us over the head with the “growing up is hard to do” trope, and then, just in case we didn’t get it, hammered it in a little more. It’s not that it wasn’t effective, it just seemed at times — like when Tom gave his wrap-up speech to Cappie — to be a little too much. Overall, though, “Your Friends and Neighbors” saw development in most of the current plots and had a lot of Beaver (short for The Beaver), which always makes an episode funnier. So let’s get started — after the jump.

As I have written before, Greek does a nice job of portraying college life and the real issues that come with it, even if it can often be far-fetched in other respects. This week’s episode seemed to be perfect evidence of both of these aspects, as the themes it dealt with rang true, but the way it dealt with them was quite over-the-top.

First we had Casey’s quest to get into law school, which meant filling out applications and writing a personal statement. Now I must admit, I’m no expert on law school admissions, but completing your personal statement just days before the deadline and having “not great” LSAT scores and “okay” grades doesn’t seem like the key to getting into Stanford, Georgetown, or even CRU’s supposedly great law school. Getting advice from Catherine, who believably had already gotten into Yale Law, worked well with the current story, and I like where the writers are going with Casey in terms of seriously thinking about post-graduate plans, but it seems that if she does get into one of those three law schools, there will be some “hard work” realism missing from the picture. I guess I can cut the show a little slack, though, because clearly Casey’s story is meant to contrast with Cappie’s, and further advance the question of what will their relationship look like after college.

Cappie’s story tonight was the heaviest metaphorically. A new professor and his family move in next door to the KT house and Cappie makes him an honorary pledge, but by the end, “T-Bag” realizes that he’s just Tom and he can’t keep living in the past, no matter how fun it is. (“It’s never the same after you leave, so enjoy it while you can.”) During this whole ordeal, Rusty had been trying to help Cappie choose a major and hoped that Tom could be his academic advisor. At the end, Rusty tells Cappie he’s sorry Tom didn’t work out as an advisor, but Cappie tells him  he actually gave the best advice one could give. Now, not only was it really cheesy, but it felt like a forced story line that got written just to avoid a more organic/realistic way for Cappie to realize he had to move on from the fraternity life. It did have some funny parts, but it stretched reality for the sake of metaphor a bit too much. And what was really annoying is that, after all the antics, it seemed that Cappie was ready to accept his non-KT fate, but then the episode ended with him telling Rebecca that it’s easier not to commit and to just sit back and not worry. We pretty much wasted the whole hour by thinking that Cappie would finally kick into gear, only to find him reverting to the same old commitment-phobe he has always been.

In Rebecca-Evan land, I shifted back to not really liking this relationship. The writers obviously love romantically pairing the cast in as many combinations as possible, but this one isn’t working for me. As I’ve said, I like Rebecca as a character, and on his own, Evan is okay, but this is one coupling I really hope doesn’t stick. Rebecca and Evan clearly get each other, both coming from privileged backgrounds and having to deal with others’ disdain and false assumptions, but when Rebecca goes and cheats on him after he gives her a necklace that he had to steal money to buy, it really shows us that it isn’t going to work. The fact that Rebecca didn’t even seem to feel bad about having sex with Beaver, instead just worrying about finding the necklace that she lost, adds to my hope that this pairing won’t be one for the longterm.

While Rebecca and Cappie lined up in their not wanting to settle down and commit to anything, and Casey and Evan wanted nothing more than to gain acceptance of something stable and committed, Ashleigh, Rusty, and Calvin played on the sidelines. Ashleigh’s story with Pete got talked about, but we only saw her in terms of Casey’s law school plot, and she served as not much more than a way for Casey to realize what she had to write her personal statement about. Rusty’s interest in Catherine got mentioned as well (although mostly by her), but he spent most of the episode serving Cappie’s needs and trying to find him a major. And Calvin, though he continued his journey toward a stronger gay pride, existed mostly to stand up for Evan and, in the end, be betrayed for his trust. Since none of their own stories fit into the episode’s broader theme, they were used more as story devices than as actual characters this week. (And since Dale couldn’t even be used as such a device, he was left out completely.)

I did like that Ashleigh got upset with Casey for bailing on their scheduled hang out time (although, to be fair, she wasn’t the most available either), and I’m glad Calvin stood up to Evan for stealing the money, even though he is his big brother. There was some good, subtle character work going on, but in terms of the story, these characters got the short end of the stick.

While it wasn’t the worst episode of Greek, it certainly wasn’t as strong as some of the others this season. It definitely had its funny moments and moved some major story lines along, but its emphasis on thematic issues overshadowed other character developments and left the episode feeling a little flat.

Bits & Pieces:

  • “Done in seven years… I’ll be like Speedy Gonzales! Maybe I should study Spanish, or ‘España’ as they say” — Cappie, about choosing a major and eventually graduating
  • I buy the request from the neighbors about keeping the noise down, especially during the week, but how could they expect to have demands about the state of the lawn (“free of alcohol and debris”) and foul language?
  • “Like last year when you had sex with Wonder Woman?” “I’m still not convinced I didn’t.” — Cappie and Beaver, after Beaver tells him he had sex with Rebecca last night
  • “I’m making a ‘gaylist’.” “What?!” — Calvin and Evan, about Calvin’s new “gay playlist” (which, by the way, contained a lot of music that I wouldn’t necessarily associate with ‘gay,’ like Death Cab, Postal Service, etc.)
  • The game “monkeyhump” seems like it would be very bad for the pool table. No chance no beer ever spills.
  • Officer Huck just walks in without knocking or anything because of a “noise disturbance”? Not only is that probably illegal, but who called it in if “T-Bag” was at the KT house already?
  • Catherine “joined Gamma Psi only for the networking connections after college”
  • How long is Evan going to use the “I’m not used to not being around money” line?

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