May 23, 2011

What about the children?

Once I start watching and enjoying a TV show on DVD (or Netflix Instant), I usually devour every bit of it, every chance I get.  Such was the case with Greek.  I watched the entire first season last weekend and finished up the remaining 3 seasons throughout the week and this weekend.  I'm a little mad at myself for not watching the show when it was on because I had some thoughts along the way that might have been fun to share with people at the time but it was also really nice not to have to wait a week or several months between episodes. 

I adored the show, you guys.  I didn't expect the humor in a show about the Greek system to be quite as clever or delightful as it was.  There was a lot of heart in these characters and their stories but it mostly avoided sap and schmaltz, except when those things were absolutely called for - like in the finale.  I'm a proponent of a certain degree of sap and schmaltz when something ends.  I believe there's a time and place to get sentimental and that's almost always during a goodbye. 

As I said before, nearly all of the characters on the show were likable in one way or another.  Frannie had a rough patch there for a while but in the end, she wasn't as bad as she could have been.  I appreciated that they never really made Evan or Rebeca terribly nice but they still managed to make them decent friends and sympathetic people in their own ways.  The shit Evan pulled getting Wade and the guys expelled to improve his standing at Omega Chi was indefensible but not entirely out of character. He did spend way too much time and energy caring what other people thought and that was one of the things that would always come between him and Cappie.  He was raised to put "business" ahead of personal relationships and that's just what he did.  For a time it seemed like Rebeca would be the unlikely person to change that about him but in the end, whatever change came about in him was brought on more by peer pressure and his parents than anyone else and again, that makes a kind of sense to me.  He wasn't ever going to behave like an adult until his parents either taught him to be an adult or encouraged him to become one on his own.  Rebeca wasn't much with the big breakthroughs in adult behavior either but she had her moments.  She genuinely wanted to prevent Dale from being humiliated by Tripp and his Omega Chi douches.  She really did love Evan.  She was more than just the spoiled, bitchy politician's daughter.

Casey makes an interesting heroine in that she tends toward selfishness and often makes the least sympathetic choices.  Like, could that girl spend more time stringing along the man she's supposed to love?  Cappie wore his love for her on his sleeve most of the time and she took advantage of his feelings and used him for sex more often than I was comfortable with.  He never pretended to be anything he wasn't and she purported to love him for who he was so long as he changed and became someone more like her.  But despite all of the times she looked down on Cappie or ignored her friends and their problems to focus on herself, I never disliked her. 

The show had a lot of respect for gays and treated all of the gay-related stories and characters with respect and dignity while still having the good grace to make just as much fun of them as the straight characters.  Calvin's serial monogamy and slowness to realize that Heath was perfect for him were compelling and fun.  That dude has a type like no one I've ever known and I really can't believe how long it took him to see that Heath was the epitome of that type.  Plus, there was never going to be anyone in his life that could compete with the cuteness of Heath's dimples. 

There was so much to like that I keep starting to say "my favorite thing" and then realizing that whatever I'm listing is only one of my favorite things.  I loved Beaver and I loved Katherine and the fact that Beaver and Katherine hooked up in the end is just about the most perfect thing I can imagine.  They are equally lovable in the exact same way for the exact opposite reasons which makes them the perfect match for each other.  The funniest episode of the series was the season four ep "All About Beav" which, as the title suggests, focused on Beaver.  Every time he (or Cappie) worried about the children I devolved into a fit of giggles.  Every detail of Beav's life was priceless from the fact that his mom gives him a wake-up call every morning, to the tiny stuffed penguin that sleeps on his shoulder every night.  Snatching a few bucks out of Heath's undies as "hush money" for not telling anyone Heath's working as a stripper and then promptly spilling those beans to Cappie.  His desire to be a teacher while being maybe the dumbest person that's ever gone to college, ever.  His love of a white chocolate raspberry mocha with extra whip - which he gets for free since saving the barista's life with a "hemlock" maneuver.  The hidden wisdom he shows about life when he helps Casey finally realize that she is the reason that Evan and Cappie can't be friends and that nothing with her and Cappie is really over.  When he tells Casey that she's his favorite woman he's never had sex with?  You guys, my heart totally melts.  In a smaller way, I love the moment when Cappie comes into the house, disheveled from his fight with Evan at the ZBZ house and sporting a tragic black eye.  Beaver simply asks Cappie whether "Bing" was responsible for his current state and quietly nods when that's confirmed.  It's a sweet moment of friendship that illustrates the value of having friends that get you vs. having friends that need to be involved. 

I loved Ashliegh who was gorgeous and sweet and funny and whom I would like to see in just about every show from now until the end of time because she brings an effervescence to the screen that is never unwelcome.  I love Dale's social awkwardness and complete comfort in his own skin.  I wasn't so sure I liked him rushing at first.  It didn't seem to make any sense for the character and it was completely out of the blue from a story perspective.  But in the end it made a weird kind of sense and told a couple of stories that were worth telling (including the moment of personal triumph over bullying when Dale refused to let Tripp's trick humiliate him at the Pledge Talent Show and then when Calvin and Rusty joined him on stage in solidarity). 

In general, I just love Cappie.  I wish I knew exactly why I have such affection for a guy who wears too much jewelry, usually needs a haircut and wash worse than anyone ever, is kind of a purposeless fuck-up, and generally behaves like a child.  That's not the kind of guy I can usually stand even in small, fictional doses.  But even in marathon form, Cappie was fun and cute.  He struck the perfect balance between heart and irreverence.  It was a lot to do with the way he was written but I suspect it is also because of the way Scott Michael Foster played him and the chemistry he had with nearly every other actor on the show.  He was well suited to be the anti-hero leading man.  And I like that Cappie did eventually become a better man but he did it because he wanted to, and not because Casey brow-beat him into it. 

I'm not sure I buy Ashliegh and Rusty ending up together because I didn't think they had any chemistry at all together, but as that serves the story, I get what they were trying to do.  Rusty had a string of girlfriends that really made sense with him and maybe it was time he had one that didn't, and Ashliegh got short shrift in the romance department through the entire series.  It was clear though that the romance was more about wanting certain members of the core group to end up together and I'm not going to begrudge them that even if it isn't the choice I would have made. 

Besides, I'm too busy being happy that Beaver and Katherine, Calvin and Heath, and Cappie and Casey ended up together.  Everything else is incidental. 

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