“Life is short, make the most of it.” So opines Cappie, the unlikely but semi-effective Confucius of ABC Family’s college drama Greek. And I, for one, find myself most willingly drawn into the life of amusement and joy he advocates.
Greek: Chapter Four, which was released on DVD March 9, is the best season of the show to date. What is particularly appealing about these 12 episodes is that, more than the other seasons, the plot lines are about fun and the characters actually become friends, or at least frenemies, rather than utter nemeses.
At the risk of ignoring a truism of dramatic writing, I find conflict much less entertaining that just watching friends enjoy, or even struggle through, life together. This season of Greek is filled with well-written scripts of the latter kind, and seeing the rapport between characters such as Casey and Ashleigh will inevitably put a smile on your face.
The fact that Jesse McCartney joins the cast as a new Kappa Tau pledge this season was highly publicized but, perhaps because I still don’t know who he is, his role struck me as underwhelming. The only guest character whom I have ever really found endearing on Greek was Max, but even he seems to slip into the background this season. However, I think it speaks well of the show that the guest characters are not forced to carry each episode, and the main characters are certainly captivating enough to warrant watching this season.
In the tradition of what makes Greek one of the few shows I will make time to watch, this season is laugh-out-loud funny! It took me a while to realize what a compliment that is, but when I watch shows or movies alone, I find that I am much less likely to laugh aloud than when I am with a group of friends (I only laughed once watching The Hangover). Yet every episode of Greek: Chapter Four got me to chortle a least a couple of times.
Dale has grown into his role as the comedic relief, and he has many brilliant moments this season, like when he captures media attention by seeing Jesus in the university lawn. I am a big fan of Rebecca’s character this season, and she is much more successful as a comedienne than as a backstabber. One of my favorite scenes is when she and Evan get trapped in her car, which is stuck in the impound lot (or “car jail”) after a ferocious dog eats her keys.
I remember when I first saw the previews for Greek, I thought the show seemed gratuitously sleazy. But now the show pales in comparison to the impropriety of the characters on other teen dramas to the point that one can almost justify the “Family” appellation. As a matter of fact, my mother does enjoy watching the show with me. A little scandal never hurt a teen drama, and Greek has just the right amount.
I will admit that part of why I enjoy watching Greek so much is that, as a recent graduate of a Big 12 university where I was a skeptical sorority member, I find the extreme accuracy with which Greek membership is portrayed quite amusing. Greek is a master of poking kindly fun at sorority girls: for example, in a scene where Casey over-enthusiastically greets her grand big sis, the audience laughs at the stereotype of gushing girls, while still feeling like the characters are having fun within the ridiculous context.
The three-disc DVD set is a little short on extra features (there is one about what the actors would do if it was the end of the world that is not terribly interesting), but I think it is well worth picking up this set for the dozen charming episodes that show the students of Cyprus-Rhodes University at their best. Sure, this show has its cliché teen moments (like Rebecca thinking she is a lesbian, when anyone who has seen the first season could tell her that she is not; or when Cappie hopes Joshua Jackson and Paul Walker can come speak to their CRU secret society, which does resemble the Skulls a lot), but it manages to give even those tired plot lines a delightfulness, and augments them with many more creative and beguiling moments.
In the end, Greek is a show about the importance of friendship, and after watching Chapter Four, you will want these characters as your friends, too.