Monday, February 15, 2010

Greek 3.13: "Take Me Out"

“I doubt Ash would click with a guy who got a mild concussion from attempting to parachute off the roof with a bedsheet.”


It should come as no surprise to regular readers of this blog that I am a massive baseball fan. Despite its many references to classic baseball movies such as “The Natural” and “A League of Our Own,” however, I didn’t love “Take Me Out.” I felt like it wasn’t really an especially cohesive episode, and I thought that the drama between Cappie and Casey was odd. Perhaps my issue was that the main plot of this episode was once again fueled by the “we need ZBZ to be number one again!” plot that I just can’t identify with at all. Even the Kappa Tau house, with the new dumb as rocks pledges, no longer holds the charm that it once did.

Looming over the episode is the upcoming Greek softball tournament, apparently yet another source of blue ribbon points. I think the whole episode would have worked better if it focused on two or three plots that somehow came together at the tournament. Instead, it touched on a bunch of things, mostly relationship problems faced by many of the characters. It might have even worked better if somehow each of the relationships featured was affected by the softball tournament, but there was really only any tension at all for Cappie and Casey due to softball. Tension for the other couples (and characters) came from other sources.

One platonic relationship that seems to be strained recently is that of Casey and Ashleigh. Ashleigh seems a bit jealous that Casey is happy an in a relationship while she is not. She’s looking forward to the softball tournament as an opportunity to meet hot guys more than anything else. Casey and Ashleigh haven’t exactly been spending a lot of time together lately. Casey has been spending most nights with Cappie at the KT house. Ashleigh still hasn’t warmed to the idea of Casey spending so much time with Cappie and the other KTs, and she complains that Casey smells like the KT house.

To make Ashleigh a little happier with the prospect of ZBZ partnering with KT for the softball tournament, Casey and Cappie want to try to set her up with a KT- Beaver, specifically. Beaver is a pretty adorable doofus, but Ashleigh’s not really in the right mindset to appreciate that at the moment. A double date to the batting cages is pretty disastrous. Beaver pulls the classic rom com cliché. He tries to use helping Ashleigh with her swing as an excuse to get close to her. Ashleigh is pretty disgusted and horrified by this. Sure, it’s kind of a skeevy move, but I think her reaction was way overblown.

Continuing on the tension between friends and romance theme, Calvin seriously wants Rusty and Grant to get along. Rusty still dislikes Grant because Grant participated in major Omega Chi attacks against him, including that time they stuck Rusty to a wall. I think Rusty has a pretty legitimate gripe here. Grant seems to dislike Rusty just on principle because Rusty is a KT. Not as forgivable in my book. Calvin takes Rusty and Grant out to dinner so they can all try to bond, but it’s pretty much a disaster. Rusty and Grant decide that the only solution is to each spend time with Calvin separately.

Even the divorce-like plan didn’t work out especially well. On a night when Grant had other plans, Calvin and Rusty decide to play pool at the KT house. Heath asks to join in, and Rusty, thinking Heath would make a much less objectionable boyfriend for Calvin, says Heath can join right in. Calvin is really upset by this, considering Heath is an ex, and storms out before anything can happen that could possibly get him in trouble with Grant. Frankly, I don’t think Grant is worth it. He’s not an especially nice guy. Heath is likeable, at least.

Rusty has other problems beyond being in the doghouse with Calvin. His pledges still aren’t treating him with respect. Actually, the newest crop of KT pledges don’t really seem to have respect for anything, including themselves. They are just as dense as your typical KT (Cappie excepted, of course), but without any of the charm. The latest show of lack-of-respect is that the pledges keep losing or forgetting to wear their pledge pins. To add insult to injury for Rusty, one of the pledge pins that was lost (Dump Truck’s, I believe), used to be Rusty’s. No matter how hard he tries, he can’t get the pledges to understand the importance of wearing their pledge pins.

The other romantic relationship showcased in this episode is Evan and Rebecca. They’ve decided to go on a real date, and although things seem to be fairly good between them, they’ve discovered a fundamental, mildly troubling difference. Rebecca doesn’t believe in love. Evan finds this hard to understand, and it sort of irks him throughout the episode. It’s a small subplot without a lot of depth.

Of course there’s plenty of Greek system intrigue that goes down before the actual softball tournament, which could be why I didn’t like this episode as much as I hoped to. I haven’t really liked anything about the “ZBZ is falling in the rankings” plot, because it is so far removed from my own college Greek experience. It seems horribly, horribly superficial. Ashleigh is hell-bent on being partnered with Omega Chi for the tournament, even though Omega Chi has already agreed to partner with Gamma Psi. For some reason I don’t understand, Omega Chi is still considered the “number one” fraternity, even though they’re a bunch of stuck-up pricks for the most part.

Casey, given that she’s dating Cappie, is more than happy to keep pairing up with KT for these types of events. Ashleigh wins this one, though, mostly thanks to the fact that Evan is dating Rebecca, and he’s still the Omega Chi president. This, of course, sets up a bit of a rivalry between Casey and Cappie. Cappie wants to destroy Omega Chi (he’s got nothing against ZBZ), and Casey certainly wouldn’t mind seeing Gamma Psi squirm a little for all their smugness. The conflict comes to a head at the tournament when the ZBZ/Omega Chi and KT/Gamma Psi teams have to play each other.

During a break in play, Cappie questions Casey’s priorities. He proposes a challenge. He will give her three easy pitches. If she strikes out, he’s her priority. If she really goes to hit one of them, ZBZ is her priority. Casey whiffs on the first two pitches, but then she takes a time out to talk to Rusty (which is kind of useless) and rethink things. The result of taking some time to collect herself. Driving the third pitch right into the score board, “The Natural” style. I thought this would spell the end for Casey and Cappie, but they seem okay for now. At Dobbler’s after the game, Casey said that she just couldn’t put her natural competitiveness aside (not really the first quality I’d associate with Casey), and Cappie says that her competitiveness is one of the things he loves about her.

Casey and Ashley are growing even further apart by the end of the episode. Ashley has gotten her wish- she has a date with a cute Omega Chi. She even has plans to double date with Rebecca and Evan. Casey feels like that double date should be with herself and Cappie, but Ashley still seems determined to reject all things KT. It’s as if ties to Omega Chi are the only thing that can increase a sorority’s standings at CRU. If that’s the case, then CRU is not at all a place that I would ever want to be.

The only relationship that seems to be definitively in a better place is that of Rusty and Grant. They reach a sort of détente over their mutual distaste for the phrase “that’s so gay.” Although I agree with both of them that equating sexual orientation with lameness is never okay, I find it odd that this is what makes Rusty and Grant sort of respect each other a little. Maybe it’s because I find Grant to be such a distasteful character, regardless of his sexual orientation. Like it or not, this turn of events draws Calvin and Grant even closer, with Calvin extremely happy that he’s dating someone so willing to stand up for his principles.

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