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Greek: Chapter Two (2008)
Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment
DVD Released: 12/30/2008
All Ratings out of
Review by Mike Long, Posted on 1/4/2009
In my review forSouth Park: The Complete Eleventh Season, I wrote about how original shows on cable television have abandoned the concept of "seasons" and offer new episodes in small chunks. These don't follow the traditional fall-through-spring schedules which network shows have abided by for years, but simply present their programming seemingly whenever they want to/can. This idea has effected DVD (and now Blu-ray Disc) releases as well. Most shows come to DVD in a "season" set, and this gives us a group of shows from this date to that date. However, shows such as Family Guy release their DVD sets in "volumes", which can contain a run of shows which fall into one or more seasons. The ABC Family show Greek appears to be doing the same thing, as the Greek: Chapter Two DVD doesn't contain season two, but rather the latter half of season one. Confused yet?
(SPOILER WARNING: It's impossible to discuss the events of Greek Chapter 2 without divulging plot points fromChapter 1. So, if you haven't seen Chapter 1, please read with caution.) The second half of the first season of Greek continues the story of siblings Casey (Spencer Grammer) and Rusty Cartwright (Jacob Zachar), who attend Cypress-Rhodes University. Casey's sorority, Zeta Beta Zeta, was the focus of a scathing newspaper article written by pledge Jen K. (Jessica Rose), who was there undercover. The article exposed all of the negative things which occur in fraternities and sororities. It also lead to ZBZ president Frannie (Tiffany Dupont) leaving her post. Rusty had been dating Jen K. at the time, and had no idea what she was doing. Because of this scandal, the Greek system comes under scrutiny from administration, Casey and her boyfriend Evan (Jake McDorman) break up, and the ZBZs are suddenly seen as a pariah.
Chapter 2 sees the students returning to campus from Christmas break (?). With Frannie gone, Casey is appointed ZBZ president, but she is also saddled with Lizzi (Senta Moses), a ZBZ official who watches her every move. The ZBZ sisters and pledges, led by Rebecca (Dilshad Vadsaria), aren't happy with this new scrutiny. Meanwhile, Rusty's brothers at Kappa Tau are attempting to fly under the radar of all of the new restrictions placed on fraternities and sororities and continue their paryting ways. Kappa Tau president Cappie (Scott Michael Foster) has been having a secret fling with Rebecca, and he wants to take it public. Casey, having been dumped by Evan, finds that she still has feelings for Cappie, whom she dated freshman year, but he's now off-limits. Rusty continues to deal with his Bible-thumping roommate Dale (Clark Duke), who has started an anti-Greek movement. Having been outed, Rusty's friend, Calvin (Paul James), must decide if he wants to stay with the Omega Chis. As all of this is happening, each sorority or fraternity is finding the restrictions to be quite limiting and hoping that someone will find a way to make things return to normal.
The second half of the first season of Greek isn't much different than the first season, as it continues the storylines and adds more depth to each of the characters. Taking a page from shows such asLost or Heroes, the episode "Freshman Daze" goes back in time to show how Cappie and Evan knew each other, how they met Casey, and how the three had a falling out. The problem with this batch of episodes is that it bites off a bit more than it can chew. Greek was already dealing with three houses plus Rusty's roommate. Chapter Two brings in more characters, such as Calvin's new love interest and a new nemesis for Rusty, and things bogs things down. Greek becomes one of those shows where a long scene will inevitably involve the one storyline about which you don't care, and you'll want the show to get back to the characters which you do like.
Despite this, Greek continues to be a fun, and often funny, show. The makers of Greek apparently know a good thing when they see it, as they continue to spotlight the true stars of the show. Yes, Cappie may be the stereotypical wise beyond his years party boy, but he's still the funniest character on the show and Scott Michael Foster plays him with incredibly laid-back ease. Cappie's view on life and his ability to find the easy way out is always amusing and he often has the best lines in any given episode. Not far behind in that category is Dale. He was more of a peripheral character in the first half, but he gets more screen-time here and says some truly hilarious things, especially his observations on Tim McGraw. On the more dramatic side of things, the show must be doing something right, because we probably shouldn't care about Casey and her "problems" ("I'm pretty and boys like me, wah wah."), but we do and Spencer Grammer's genuinely giddy performance makes Casey easy to like.
In some ways, Greek is an odd show. It offers soap-like qualities, which makes it somewhat similar to shows likeGossip Girl, but it also contains an odd, sometimes raunchy sense of humor which pushes it away from the sort of fare that we see on The CW. Labels aside, the show is fun and it offers a view of college which may not be 100% realistic, but if fascinating nonetheless.
Greek: Chapter Two is assigned a pledge project on DVD courtesy of Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment. The three-disc set contains 12 episodes. The shows are letterboxed at 1.78:1 and the transfers are enhanced for 16 x 9 TVs. The first thing which jumps out about this image is just how grainy it is. At times, the grain is mild, but in some shots, it looks as if the actors are surrounded by swarming gnats! I don't know if anything could have been done about this, but for a new show, it's a glaring problem. That aside, the image is sharp and the colors look good. I did note that some shots were somewhat dark. The DVD carries a Dolby Digital 5.1 audio track which provides clear dialogue and sound effects. The stereo and surround effects are satisfactory and deliver what you would want from this kind of show, with the dialogue clear and the crowd scenes providing adequate audio from the front channels and the rear. But, it's the music which stands out here. The stereo separation is very impressive and we get individual instruments, especially bongo drums, from the front and rear.
The Greek: Chapter Two set contains a few extras. We get AUDIO COMMENTARIES on three episodes; "A New Normal" with commentary by Executive Producer Patrick Sean Smith and actors Amber Stevens, Senta Moses, and Paul James. (Disc 1); "Freshman Daze" with commentary by Executive Producer Lloyd Segan and actors Spencer Grammer, Scott Foster, Tiffany Dupont, and Jake McDorman; and "47 Hours & 11 Minutes" with commentary by co-executive producers Shawn Piller & Patrick Sean Smith and actors Jacob Zachar and Dilshad Vadsaria. (Both Disc 2). Disc 3 contains a 3-minute reel of "Bloopers". "Flashback Episode: 'And So It Begins'" (10 minutes) is a look at the making of the episode "Freshman Daze". The piece offers comments from the cast and crew discussing the ideas behind the show and the transformations through which the actors went in terms of hair, makeup, and wardrobe. The actors talk about how they have grown on the show, and how their characters have evolved. The extras are rounded out by the MUSIC VIDEO for the song "Natural Disaster" by the Plain White T's.
Review Copyright 2009 by Mike Long