Greek is an ABC Family series that follows Rusty Cartwright (Jacob Zachar), a science-geek freshman who is pledging the slacker fraternity Kappa Tau at Cyprus Rhodes University. The frat is lead by the ultimate slacker extraordinaire Cappie (Scott Michael Foster), ex to Rusty’s sister Casey (Spencer Grammer), the interim president of the Zeta Beta Zeta sorority. While her brother might be a complete geek, Casey is as blonde and beautiful as she is smart and friendly. Her best friend Ashleigh (Amber Stevens) is equally gorgeous and even friendlier.
Among the other characters are Calvin Owens (Paul James), Rusty’s closest friend, though being in separate fraternities has weighed on their relationship quite a bit. Then there’s Dale (Clark Duke), Rusty’s dorky uber-Christian roommate who is constantly trying to get Rusty to see just how sinful it is to be a part of the Greek organization. Rebecca Logan (Dilshad Vadsaria) is the prissy ZBZ pledge who uses her family connections (Daddy’s a senator) to get her way on a regular basis. Frannie Morgan (Tiffany Dupont) is the former ZBZ president who was ousted by nationals after her poor leadership abilities lead the ZBZ’s to get into a world of trouble. Finally there’s Evan Chambers (Jake McDorman), an Omega Chi living in the shadow of his own last name. He and Casey were together up until the end of the first “chapter,” when a chat with the deceitful Frannie lead him to believe Casey was just using him.
Season one. Chapter two. Season two. I really can’t keep ABC Family’s whole season process straight when it comes to Greek. If you’re wondering what episodes you’ll find on the Greek Chapter Two DVD set, know that the set starts with the episode titled “A New Normal,” in which Rusty returns to Cyprus Rhodes for the second semester of his freshman year. This is the semester following the infamous Jen K. nightmare and Rusty is just getting over their recent breakup. Meanwhile, Casey has recently been appointed interim president of the ZBZs and it’s up to her to get the sorority ship-shape in order to comply with the guidelines set forth by Dean Bowman after Jen K. exposed all of the Greeks with her news article. Casey and Evan are broken up, Cappie and Rebecca are having a secret fling and the recently outed Calvin is waiting to hear back about his status at Omega Chi now that they all know he’s gay. The “season” ends with the episode titled “Spring Broke,” which finds most of the characters living it up at Myrtle Beach for spring break.
In addition to “A New Normal,” and “Spring Broke,” Chapter Two also features what is easily one of the best episodes of the entire series thus far. “Freshman Daze” is the episode in which we see just how things started out for some of the older characters on the show. The episode features a series of flashbacks that give us a glimpse into the beginnings of Casey, Ashleigh, Cappie and Evan’s relationships. Through this episode, we finally come to understand exactly where Cappie and Evan’s rivalry started. Chapter Two also features “The Great Cappie,” a really fun episode in which the Kappa Taus and the ZBZ’s throw a Great Gatsby themed party, complete with secret basement speak-easy.
Among the new characters in this portion of the series are Lizzie (Senta Moses, My So Called Life), the ZBZ Nationals rep who sticks around for a few episodes to make sure the ZBZ’s get back on track, driving most of the girls crazy with her peppiness and fondness for rules. Tina (Lisa Wilhoit, My So Called Life) is an active member of Dale’s anti-Greek group USAG and ends up becoming Rusty’s “fun-buddy.” And finally, there’s Michael (Max Greenfield, Ugly Betty, Veronica Mars), the TA that Calvin begins dating.
What makes Greek one of my favorite TV series on television right now is that, despite the long list of characters and the drama that accompanies each of their story arcs, the series balances college life with humor and drama in a way that is genuinely entertaining, even for someone like me, who is weeks away from turning thirty-one and thus at least slightly outside what I’m guessing is the targeted age demographic for the show. Though I can’t say with all certainty that the writers don’t occasionally reach out to us older-folk. For example, it seems like whenever Dean Bowman (played by Alan Ruck of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off) is featured in an episode, we get at least one reference to Ferris Bueller. There are other little jokes and tidbits in the series that nod to the 80’s or 90’s. In one episode featured in Chapter Two, Kappa Tau’s Beaver gets caught up in the protesting and begins chanting “Donna Martin Graduates!” at the top of his lungs, rendering the rest of the protesters temporally speechless and leaving those of us who recall the phrase fondly from the original 90210 to giggle nostalgically.
While the humor keeps the series fresh on an episode to episode basis, the heart of the series is Rusty’s relationship with his sister. The two are social opposites for the most part and, while Casey was apprehensive about association with her brother back in the first Chapter of the series, by Chapter Two the siblings seem to have developed a real bond, though there’s still some rivalry there. Rusty and Casey’s relationship is captured similarly to the way everything else in the series is portrayed. College is about growth and adaptation. It’s about making mistakes, learning from them and making entirely new mistakes after that. Chapter Two of Greek continues the trials of Rusty, his sister Casey and their friends as they attempt to make the most of college life. The series is humorous, charming and a whole lot of fun.
The Greek - Chapter Two DVD set includes twelve episodes from the series and a fair amount of bonus features, including bloopers, audio commentaries, a featurette on the making of the flashback episode, “Freshman Daze,” and a Plain White T’s music video for their song “Natural Disaster.” And if you’re a Plain White T’s fan, which means you probably love their occasional appearances in Greek, then you’ll also appreciate the free mp3 download offer for “Meet Me In California.” To access the free download, check out the back of the insert included in the DVD case. It’ll look just like any other random DVD insert full of advertisements for ABC and ABC Family series but on the back you’ll find the instructions and access code for the mp3 download.
The cover of the DVD set matches the cover of the first Chapter, in that it features gallery-style photos of the cast spaced out on blocks across the front of the DVD. The episode list is hidden on the inside cover behind the first disc.
The episodes for the season are spaced out over three discs with most of the special features laid out on the third disc. The episode commentaries are included on whichever discs feature those particular episodes. Speaking of commentaries, this brings me to one of the only complaints I have about the Greek Chapter Two DVD set. I adore the cast of Greek and it’s fun to hear them chat about the episodes on some of the commentaries, but I think it might have worked better if they had limited the cast participation to no more than two cast members per commentary. For example, in the season opener commentary, series creator Patrick Sean Smith is present to share his insight on the episode but the bulk of the commentary consists of Senta Moses, Amber Stevens, and Paul James talking the whole time about random things, mostly related to the episode. They’re adorable but in terms of the thought process behind the episode, the commentary doesn’t really offer much.
The “Freshman Daze,” commentary has four cast members all jabbering away during the episode while exec producer Lloyd Segan sits in the background, occasionally mentioning something about the writing process. Sure, we get to hear Tiffany Dupont’s humorous story about how she took a spill down the steps of the ZBZ house when descending the staircase in her pretty dress (something you’ll actually get to see on the blooper reel) but, considering what a pinnacle episode this installment was for the series, I would’ve liked to have heard a lot more about the writing process from Lloyd Segan, who is virtually drowned out by the cast members. It’s not that the cast members on the commentary are annoying but I do think either cutting down the number of cast members included per commentary or else, doing two commentaries (one for the cast and another for the writers) might work better.
The DVD sort of makes up for the sloppy “Freshman Daze” commentary with the “Flashback Episode” featurette, which gives us a behind-the-scenes look at the making of the episode. If you’re as much a fan of that episode as I am, you’ll love that particular special feature.
The commentary for “47 Hours and 11 Minutes,” is a lot more balanced as exec producers Shawn Piller and Patrick Sean Smith walk us through the episode with Jacob Zachar and Dilshad Vadsaria. In that one, we get a sense of the writing process in addition to the cast’s input on the making of the episode.
Given that this “Chapter” is only twelve episodes long, I think they did a good job of offering a reasonable amount of special features on this DVD set. If you’re a fan of the series, Chapter Two is definitely worth adding to the DVD library.