Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Greek 3.01: "The Day After"

“He was a nerd, but he was hot. It was just so confusing.”
-Laura (random ZBZ sister)

Last night was the premiere of Season 3 of "Greek" on ABC Family. I first got into "Greek" last winter out of nostalgia. I was in a professional music sorority as an undergrad, and although we weren’t exactly wild and crazy (far from it, actually), plenty of moments in "Greek" bring back college memories. As I watched last night’s episode, I experienced a roller coaster of emotions, first thinking I was going to like how things were turning out, only to realize I was wrong, potentially very wrong.

The theme of “The Day After” can be summed up as regret. Many of our characters are regretting choices they made recently, especially the night before at the KT house’s “End of the World” party. Rebecca is regretting kissing Ashleigh’s boyfriend, Fisher. Evan is regretting encouraging his parents to cut him off from his trust fund. Rusty is regretting going to the party instead of working on the extra credit project he needs to complete to stay in the Honors Program. Dale is regretting losing his virginity to his landlady. Ironically, one of the few characters not feeling regret is Casey, even though her actions the night before had the largest impact on someone else’s life. After Casey broke up with Max, Max up and left the country. Literally. He went back to working with the professor in England he had been helping temporarily in late Season 2. Not only did this drastically affect Max’s life, it affected Rusty as well, and he spent most of the episode (kind of annoyingly) making sure Casey knew that. By losing Max, Rusty lost a valuable advisor, and more immediately, the person with the keys to the building he needed to enter to finish his extra credit project. Casey, however, doesn’t seem all that upset about having broken up with Max. She’s embarrassed by the attention she’s getting from the other ZBZ sisters, and her “pity party” wasn’t about breaking up with Max, it was about not getting a “yes” from Cappie.

This episode really added a lot of depth to the Casey/Cappie relationship. I’ve been a fan of them from episode one, but I did recognize the valid criticism that the show hasn’t really shown us much of why they were once so good together. Their efforts to help Rusty get into the chemistry building show just how alike they really are. At first, I thought that whole situation was a set-up, what with Jordan telling Casey and Dale telling Cappie that Rusty was in trouble. I realized later that probably wasn’t the case. Jordan was just going to her Big Sis for help (shout out to Emma, my own Big Sis!), and Dale really wanted to talk to somebody about what happened with Sheila. The thing that really struck me about the breaking-into-the chemistry-building subplot was that Casey and Cappie, as much as Casey might not want to admit it, are both masters of deception. Both Casey and Cappie pull off perfect cons during this sequence, Casey to get herself and Rusty into the building, and Cappie to get them out. The fact that Cappie’s con involved him sacrificing himself (pretending to have broken into the chemistry building to protest the treatment of animals), was also very interesting. It shows that Cappie has grown up from who he used to be. Even the fact that he showed up at all shows his growth. His entrance was conveniently timed just as Casey said “they don’t show up,” referring to Cappie standing her up for a formal their freshman year. Cappie doesn’t stand up people he cares about anymore. He shows up, and he can be counted on.

There were some little details that really worked for me in this episode, and some that just didn’t. We’ll start with the bad so we can finish on a high note! First of all, Jordan looks noticeably different. She doesn’t look bad, just more made up and with more carefully styled hair. It kind of goes against the tomboy persona she was supposed to have in Season 2. There was also a line reading early in the episode by the actor who plays Rusty that was kind of off. After Jordan, his girlfriend, suggests a trip to the lake, he says, “That sounds like crap!” I, as a viewer (and Jordan), think Rusty is saying that he hates the idea of a trip to the lake. It took a rewatch for me to realize that instead, Rusty had suddenly realized he didn’t finish his extra credit project. There should have been a beat in there, something more like, “That sounds like…crap!” for the true meaning of the sentence to be apparent. Now, for what I liked. I loved the specificity of Casey’s post-“End of the World” pity party. It involved a box of taquitos, seven 100 calorie packs of cookies, watching the first hour of “Once” twice (great movie soundtrack, by the way), and watching the last 45 minutes of “The Notebook” once. This tells us as viewers a lot about Casey. I also love the little “break up” ritual the ZBZ sisters do with the stuffed animal cat and the song. When they sang “nobody loves you,” it cracked me up.

So, after all this good stuff, why did I sound disappointed in my introduction? Mostly because of the season previews that aired at the end of the episode. I would like for Casey and Cappie to be together, mostly because I’m tired of the will-they-won’t-they and the kind of artificial road blocks that have been thrown up between them for the past two seasons. I especially don’t want Casey to get back together with Evan, which is what the previews were hinting at (granted, the previews could just be blowing one moment of one episode way out of proportion). Casey and Evan were never interesting together, and, most importantly, Evan’s kind of a jerk.

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