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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

My big fat “Greek” repeat: ABC show’s season 3 premier fails to please

Published: September 4, 2009
Section: Arts, Etc.

As the majority of us start off a new school year, ABC Family’s “Greek” starts off its third season right where it left off – and not in a good way.

The previous season finale of the show, which centers around members of Greek life at the fictional Cyprus Rhodes University, left off with Rusty, a scrappy brother of Kappa Tau, choosing a party with his friends and significant other over completing an extra credit assignment to save his spot in the honors engineering program.

His sister, Casey, although free of academic conflicts, was faced with a struggle the show has covered many times before in its only two previous seasons. Should she pick Cappie, the charming, albeit unambitious president of Kappa Tau, or the safe choice, Max, a nerdy grad student who had given up an important research position to remain at Cyprus Rhodes and close to Casey? The time before that the guy competing for Casey’s affections was Evan Chambers, the stereotypical kid-who-has-it-all, who, in addition to being a trust fund baby, was also president of his fraternity.

At the end of the season finale, Casey finally broke up with Max and told Cappie she wanted to be with him, but—surprise, surprise —as things are never easy on these teen dramas, Cappie rejected her. After two seasons, Rusty’s struggle to balance academics and his social life, as well as Casey’s internal debate of the heart, is, at this point, too common. Instead of the viewer stepping into exciting and unknown territory, he or she just feels as if they are listening to the one-thousandth phone call from a needy friend who would rather complain about a problem than resolve it.

This is not to say that the first episode failed to entertain, only that it should shift its focus to conflicts viewers haven’t seen before. The plot line that intrigued me the most would be the possible riches-to-rags tale of Evan Chambers. Last season, he rejected his trust fund in favor of pursuing his own desires, not his parents. As last Monday’s episode shows us, he does not even have enough money to put down a deposit for beer for a party, quite a step down for Evan Chambers.

Though initially intended to simply bring comedic relief to the sadder moments of the show, Dale, Rusty’s conservative, Bible-thumping, purity-pledge-taking roommate, is now more interesting than Rusty himself. In the premiere Dale reveals that he lost his virginity to their cougar landlady, who then proceeds to dump Dale after he proposes to her. This may be the most interesting plot line of the show, as it is something that is unrecoverable. Sure, Casey can switch between Cappie and the flavor of the week as much as she likes, and Rusty will continue to spread himself thin between school and social life, but will Dale ever recover the endearing naïveté he betrayed as the leader of a Purity Pledge group?

However, I find it hard to believe that Dale and Evans’ respective dramas will be able to keep the show afloat. Like the many teen dramas before it, Greek is running out of dramatic fuel fast and will most likely “jump the shark” by incorporating some ridiculous plot twist that will be too much for even the most naïve teenybopper to stomach.

Although “Greek” has a slightly different angle and can suck a couple of episodes out of the drama of Greek life, at its heart, it is just another “The O.C.” or “One Tree Hill.” “Greek” will begin to exhibit signs of losing its momentum, maybe first with a pregnancy scare, as both the previously mentioned teen soaps did. Regardless of how it ends, it may be time for the characters of “Greek” to graduate from Cyprus Rhodes.