Monday, July 09, 2007

Greek: It's all Greek to me

Greek, ABC Family's latest non-family friendly offering, stars Jacob Zachar as Rusty, a nerdy engineering freshman who wants to join a fraternity for the "real college experience." The show is basically a dramedy about the Greek system. As it happens, I intentionally attended a college that was somewhat lacking in the sorority/fraternity department, so I bring to the table absolutely no firsthand knowledge regarding the accuracy (or lack thereof) of Greek. However, I have seen Animal House, Old School, and a number of Veronica Mars episodes about the Greek system, so I consider myself to be basically an expert.

Now where was I? We have Rusty the nerd, and his sister Casey, a junior at his school (Cyprus-Rhodes University, har har har). Casey, incidentally, is played by Kelsey Grammar's surprisingly good-looking daughter. She carries high hopes of becoming president of her fancy-pants sorority, Zeta Beta Zeta, which is apparently "the most prestigious honor offered at this college," and makes one "campus royalty." Um, okay, whatever you say. She's managed to keep her geeky brother's existence hidden thus far, but now that he goes to her college, that's becoming a bit difficult. Especially what with his insisting upon pledging fraternities and all.

The two main fraternities we meet are Omega Chi, the hottie-laden, well-respected frat; and Kappa Tau, which is probably on double-secret probation. Casey is currently dating Evan, a well-bred member (and possibly president?) of Omega Chi. She used to be dating Cappie, Kappa Tau's super-cute slacker president. Evan, unfortunately, is a bit of a cad. When Rusty catches him hooking up with Rebecca, a Senator's daughter and a Zeta pledge, Evan offers Rusty a coveted Omega bid to keep him quiet. Our hero cannot be bought, though, and not only sells Evan out to Casey, but gets into an awkwardly scripted/directed bar fight with him. Drama!

This leaves Rusty pledging Kappa Tau, the fun fraternity. This also leaves Casey hooking up with Cappie, thus making her even with Evan, whom she can't break up with for political reasons. Basically, she's the Hillary Clinton of the Cyprus-Rhodes Greek system. That is, if Hillary ever got mad at Bill and hooked up with George Bush (representing the party-loving rival president in this case). Right. Moving on.

A couple of supporting characters also merit some special attention. First, we have Calvin, Rusty's newest pal and fellow rush participant. Calvin is funny, smooth, and a complete validation of my gaydar. Next, we've got Dale, Rusty's Confederate flag-hanging, high five-refusing roommate, who calls Rusty "a Yankee and a heathen." He actually reminds me of my first college roommate. Dale is played by the incredibly awesome Clark Duke, of the incredibly awesome Clark and Michael, Clark's internet comedy with his good friend Michael Cera, whom you may remember from a little show called The Best Comedy That Ever Was (also sometimes called Arrested Development).

I came into this show hoping it would be easily mockable trashy summer fun, Falcon Beach-style. And while it is certainly trashy summer fun, it's trashy in that semi-quality way, like (come on, you knew this was coming) The OC. Something I might actually (gasp) watch for pleasure. Although it you take Clark Duke out of the equation, the scales might tip a bit in the other direction.

Oh, and if any of you have any thoughts you'd like to share regarding this show's depiction of your precious Greek memories, drop some knowledge on me in the comments. (Sample topics: Is Rush Week really this much of an absurd beauty pageant, with the recommendation letters and all? Do those wooden paddles really exist, and are they for spanking pledges? Would a nerd like Rusty ever get bids at those two frats in real life?)


vance said...

Oh damn Clark Duke is in this? Now I wanna watch! Hmm... I wonder if I get it here in Canada. It's not like we get frats and sororities really, though Animal House was based on a CDN school (but the only one that is "like" that. I swear!)

Liz said...

Yeah, the frat thing is pretty new to me, too. I think ABC is going to be re-airing episodes on Fridays, and I think ABC Family has most shows streaming online, so you could probably check it out there, too. It's worth it at the very least for Clark Duke's scenes--he's HILARIOUS.

liylak said...

There's been some uproar from the Greek community about this show "misrepresenting" fraternal and sorority values. Hee. Besides totally condensing the pledge process (there are multiple rounds), they addressed so many ridiculous parts of the process (can't dirty rush, dry events, "stop eating chips," politics of it, and even the espoused reason for frats (brotherhood)!).

Needless to say, I'm watching it. I can't wait to meet the totally mean Greek Life advisor (I sure there must be one). Glad you're recapping it.

Liz said...

Fascinating! So...greek values aren't drinking, getting ahead in life, sleeping with hot guys, and something about brothers? Also, what is this "dirty rush" you speak of?

Glad to have YOU on as resident Greek Expert!