Part of the whole college experience for many kids includes breaking away from their parents expectations and gaining some real independence. Such was the case for young Rusty tonight when Mr. and Mrs. Cartwright visited campus for Freshman Parents Weekend. While Rusty gave his usual over-achieving effort to keep his parents from learning the truth about the fraternity he’s pledging, he didn’t count on Casey getting in the way. Meanwhile, Rebecca nearly messes things up with Cappie when her Senator-father comes to visit and Dale learns that maybe college has changed him without him even realizing it.
Apparently Rusty wasn’t totally honest with his parents about the fraternity he’s pledging. He told them it was a service fraternity and now he’s freaking out that they’ll find out what kind of organization Kappa Tau really is. Casey tells him to just tell their parents the truth. Easy for her to say – the Cartwrights apparently have much higher standards for Rusty than they do for Casey, whom they’ve pretty much given up as a lost cause. Ok, that’s a bit extreme but from what it seems, Russell and Karen Cartwright see their son as a kid who’s going places, while Casey is without direction or motivation.
Casey’s not worried about Freshman Parents weekend because she’s not a freshman and figures her parents will be too busy with Rusty to pay any attention to what she’s up to. Plus, she’s busy getting the ZBZ house ready to host Senator Logan. Her weekend doesn’t go totally according to plan, all thanks to Rusty.
Rusty tries to pack as many boring academic parents-weekend functions into his parents’ schedule as he can in an effort to keep their curiosity away from the Kappa Tau house. As momma and poppa Cartwright are both professors, this seems like a logical plan. Sidenote: tonight we learned that Rusty may have inherited his distaste for the former-planet, Pluto, from his mother, who expresses her own belief that Pluto’s puny.
During a lecture having something to do with the fact that the campus was once a sugar beet farm (where is Dwight Schrute when you need him?!), Beaver shows up. Upon addressing Rusty by his nickname, Spitter, Beaver introduces himself to the Cartwrights. Rusty explains that the nickname Spitter comes from his eagerness to spit on injustice. They buy it. He also introduces Beaver as Charles, which is apparently his real name (a fact that Cappie wasn’t aware of as he actually froze up when attempting to introduce “Charles” to Rebecca’s father). Beaver totally messes things up for Rusty when he mentions the Kappa Tau parents party taking place that night.
Rusty dumps his parents off at the ZBZ house so he can rush over to the Kappa Tau’s to see what state the house is in. Fortunately for him, the other brothers were just as eager to please their parents as Rusty is and are cleaning the whole place up, Amelia-Bedelia-style (seriously, did they actually reference “Amelia Bedelia”? I love this show!). Beer cans, nudie-mags and every other shred of evidence that college guys actually live in that house are cleared away and tucked out of sight. Meanwhile, Casey has to deal with the Senator’s arrival, getting rid of any shred of biscotti (Senator Logan HATES biscotti) and her parents looking over her shoulder as she goes about her duties. Upon meeting the senator, Mrs. Cartwright tries to grill him on his views on higher education but Casey pulls them away. Then Ashleigh approaches them and is her usual bubbly self, which you’d think would please Casey’s parents, seeing that their daughter has such a sweet roommate, but for some reason, Ashleigh mentions sorority parties and they get that stern parent-look on their faces.
When Casey and her parents go over to the Kappa Tau house, Casey’s disappointed to see that everything’s in order, there. Her parents are totally fooled by the act the Kappa’s have put on to please the parents. On the drive back from the party, they do the whole “Why can’t you be more like Rusty?” spiel. Casey can’t take anymore so she takes them back to the Kappa Tau house to show them the real party. The Cartwrights find their son, dressed in a maid costume performing his usual demeaning pledge duties. The truth is out.
Rusty’s parents tell him he needs to quit the fraternity. Rusty takes it out on Casey for blowing his cover. She tries to explain that she’s tired of always being compared to him. He reminds her that he’s at a school where everyone knows her and thinks she’s so great and he’s just her dorky little brother. In their parents’ eyes, he’s actually the cool one and he kind of liked that. Casey gets this and tries to smooth things over with their parents. Rusty, in turn, explains to their parents that the way Casey runs the ZBZ house is like being the CEO of a corporation and they should be really proud of her. In the end, the Cartwrights go home seeing both Casey and Rusty in a new light (and Rusty doesn’t have to quit Kappa Tau).
While Rusty was learning that it’s time to stop trying so hard to meet his parents’ expectations and learn that he only needs to live up to his own, Dale was dealing with something similar. He considers his parents his best friends. He even told them about Rusty joining the Kappa Taus, which apparently caused Dale’s father to react by saying “G.D.” for the first time. When Dale’s parents show up, they’re like peas in a pod. Dale gives them a step-by-step tour of the campus. Eventually though, the whole novelty of having his parents around all the time, attached at the hip is wearing off and Dale just wants some space to study and relax. He inevitably distracts them by putting on The Passions of the Christ and ducks out for a while. Rusty tries to tell him he needs to be up front with his parents but in the end, Dale’s not ready to cut the cord just yet. Or maybe he just isn’t ready to admit that college has changed him.
Finally, Rebecca tells Cappie she doesn’t want him to meet her father. The relationship’s still new and she doesn’t want to mess it up by mixing her family with what she has with him just yet. Cappie’s bummed about this and over a drink with Casey, implies that he actually wanted to meet the Senator. Casey’s surprised that Cappie’s feelings for Rebecca are actually that serious. Cappie is even more surprised when Casey tells him to go easy on Rebecca for wanting to keep some space between him and her family. Maybe this is coming from the problems she had with Evan after spending some time with his parents last semester. Or maybe Casey’s just realizing Rebecca’s not all that bad.
Then again, Rebecca’s not exactly perfect either. After seeing that her mom didn’t accompany her dad on the trip to visit her and picking up the clues that her dad is once again, cheating on her mom, Rebecca decides to act out by throwing her slacker boyfriend Cappie in his face. Cappie’s not an idiot though and he can tell by the way Rebecca’s acting that she’s using him to get back at her dad. He doesn’t appreciate it and they have a fight. Eventually, Rebecca explains to Cappie about her dad’s affair, apologizes to him and then admits that she cares about him. He goes to tease her but she points out that this is actually a big deal for her.
Calvin and Evan were M.I.A. this week and the only thing we really saw on the Frannie front was her getting a tad bit bossy with her ideas on how to take care of the Senator. She quickly backed off on that when she realized what she was doing. She did also ask Casey if she had the chance to talk to Evan since the mixer and seemed kind of nervous about it (maybe worried that Evan told Casey that he kissed her). That was about it for that story arc though.
Overall, I can’t say this was the most fun Greek episode ever but in terms of witnessing Rusty’s whole transition into adulthood, I’d say this was a big one. Getting your parents to recognize that you’re not really a kid anymore is part of the whole freshman experience and on that front, Rusty did well. I wish we could say the same for Dale, but then again, I don’t really want Dale to change too much just yet.