Greek: Chapter Two – DVD Review

greek_2_dvd

ABC Family seems to be trying to shed its image as a family network. Recently more original television programming is being aimed towards the high school and college-aged audience. Greek was one such show that became a breakout hit for the network. It definitely didn’t bring anything new to the teen soap opera genre of television, but it surprisingly had a good message underneath most of its mature storylines. Would the second season of Greek follow that formula or would it get a little more soapy with no substance behind it?

Greek centers on Rusty Cartwright (Jacob Zachar), a freshman in college, attending Cyprus-Rhodes University alongside big sister Casey (Spencer Grammer). At first, Casey insisted that Rusty remain low-profile, in hopes that he would not ruin her chances to be elected president of the Zeta Beta Zeta sorority. In an effort to make nice with the family, Casey’s boyfriend, Evan (Jake McDorman), offers Rusty a spot in the Omega Chi Delta fraternity, which he declines after finding Evan cheating on Casey with Rebecca Logan (Dilshad Vadsaria), the Senator’s daughter who was the sorority’s main target during rush. In turn, Rusty accepts an offer from Cappie (Scott Foster), Casey’s ex-boyfriend and the current president of Kappa Tau Gamma, the black sheep of the Greek system.

The second season of Greek picks up where the first season left off. Rusty and Casey return to school and deal with the aftermath of newspaper expose on Greek life. But that doesn’t stop the partying. Really all of the storylines this season seem very familiar. There are practical jokes that get too serious, more parties, new fraternity and sorority members to further complicate relationships between characters, sporting competitions, secrets revealed, and of course more parties. The first season of this series wasn’t very “family-friendly” and the same can be said for this season. There is still plenty of underage drinking, premarital sex, and drunken hook-ups to go around.

The reason why this series really works is the acting. It’s not the greatest acting ever, but for the most part these are characters you care about. There are still lots of character stereotypes, but the second season further develops the main characters and reveals that they have some depth to them. At times, the characters do seem to be smarter than an average college student, but it’s not totally hard to imagine them as real college students. So this helps Greek seem very true to life.

But what helped Greek have a breakout first season was the fact that it provided a fairly honest look at college life and the Greek system. The second season pretty much keeps that ball rolling and doesn’t risk anything by trying to mix things up. The second season of Greek is a probably a little more soapy than the first one. But underneath all of the mature storylines for a family show, there is still a good message to it. If you can ignore some of the weak and familiar storylines and dig deeper past the stereotypes of the characters, you will find an entertaining television series. Greek is certainly not groundbreaking television or anything, but fans of this type of show will certainly like this, and might even be surprised to find out that it has some more depth to it than similar shows.

Episodes:

Disc One:

Episode 1 – A New Normal
The administration places new regulations upon all the fraternities because the newspaper scandal. The school forms a Greek Task Force with Evan as their representative. The heads of all the Greek houses agree on a back to school carnival to try to get in Dean Bowmans good graces. Casey starts her reign as ZBZs president as the sorority is now the most hated house on campus. Perky ZBZ consultant Lizzie who was sent by Nationals to oversee the sorority quickly makes her presence known much to Caseys chagrin. Rusty is still heartbroken over Jen which causes him to neglect his Kappa Tau duties. Cappie and Rebeccas one-night stand results in fling over the break which they plan to end after classes start. Calvin, who is on the outs with Omega Chi, questions what to do next when he bumps into Ashleigh. Dale starts his own group USAG (University Students Against Greeks)

Episode 2 – The Great Cappie
Lizzies strict rules results in a few sisters leaving the sorority and the rest of the girls are miserable. Casey, in an attempt raise moral enlists Cappies help for a secret party. Rebecca and Cappie are still seeing each other secretly but Cappie wants more of a relationship. Calvin waits patiently to find out whether he would be welcomed back to Omega Chi but in the meantime, Rusty offers him a place in Kappa Tau.

Episode 3 – Highway To The Discomfort Zone
Rusty feels alienated by his fellow Kappa Tau pledges but when the times comes for the pledges to come up with their pledge project, Rusty sees his chance to make amends. Rebecca and Caseys rivalry intensifies during Big Sister/Little Sister week especially after Casey learns of Rebecca and Cappies relationship. Dale attempts to cure Calvin of his homosexuality.

Episode 4 – War and Peace
Omega Chi and Kappa Tau start a prank war that threatens to ruin the friendship between Rusty and Calvin. Casey wants Lizzie gone but she only agrees to leave if the sorority reinstates Frannie, who appears to have turned a new leaf. In order to prevent a mixer with the dorkiest fraternity on campus, Ashleigh speaks to their social chair Jason but she starts dating him instead. Casey notices that Jasons personality reminds her of someone from Ashleighs past

Disc Two:

Episode 5 – Freshman Daze
As the Greek Ball draws near, it stirs up old memories for Cappie, Casey, and Evan. Events leading up to the last Greek Ball two years prior drastically changed the relationship between the three. Rusty tries to discover the mystery of why Cappie does not want to go to the ball. Casey finds out about a past kind act from Frannie, which gets her to reconsider the status of their friendship.

Episode 6 – Move On Cartwrights
Zeta Beta and Omega Chi are having their first mixer since the scandal despite Casey and Evans efforts to prevent it. The tension between them grows when Casey and Evan are stuck checking IDs together. Rusty and Dale go on a double date with a girl named Emma and her overbearing anti-Greek roommate Tina. Rusty and Emma hit it off but Rustys overzealous overtures intimidate her. Dale invites Tina to join USAG but she quickly assumes control. Cappie is sick and Rebecca becomes his caregiver.

Episode 7 – 47 Hours & 11 Minutes
Rusty becomes worried when his parents arrive for Freshman Parents Weekend because they do not know that he is in a fraternity. Mr. and Mrs. Cartwright do not have a positive opinion of the Greek System, and they are always chastising Casey about Zeta Beta. Meanwhile Casey is busy preparing for the arrival of Rebeccas father, Senator Logan. While everyone is excited to meet the senator, Rebecca is less than thrilled and prevents Cappie from meeting him. Dale is initially happy that his overprotective parents are staying with him in the dorm but he quickly grows annoyed with them.

Episode 8 – Mr. Purr-fect
A bet results in Casey, Frannie, and Rebecca each coaching different fraternities for the ZBZ fest. Casey seconds the athletic Lambda Sigs and falls for a brother named Shane. Frannie teams up with the Omega Chis and tries to help Evan win back Casey. The lazy Kappa Taus are stuck with a bossy Rebecca and Rusty unfortunately becomes her assistant. Ashleigh plays matchmaker when she pairs up Calvin with her French TA Michael but trouble ensues when Michael sends flowers to the Omega Chi house.

Disc Three:

Episode 9 – No Campus for Old Rules
When Kappa Taus courtside tickets to the big game get put on hold by the administration, Cappie receives a chance to debate against Dales USAG group to get them back and to get a chance to abolish the rules entirely. Rusty tries to infiltrate USAG and their secret weapon Tina, which leads to more than what either one expected. Caseys authority as president becomes questioned when she pardons Ashleigh but bars the rest of the girls from participating in sorority activities due to lack of study hours.

Episode 10 – A Tale of Two Parties
Omega Chi celebrates the newly abolished restrictions by throwing a “six way” party with the other fraternities and sororities. Kappa Tau does not receive an invite so Cappie decides to throw a last minute party despite not having the necessary funds to pay for it. Casey attends the party in hopes of meeting a new guy but Evan and Calvin attempt to sabotage her efforts. Calvin invites Michael to the party but they do not get much time to spend together. Rusty is desperate to break it off with his fun buddy (Tina) and looks to anybody who can help him.

Episode 11 – Barely Legal
The Kappa Tau pledges are practicing with their fake IDs in preparation for spring break. Rusty gets lucky when a bartender believes that he is Chad Steward, a singer. She invites him to a party but when Rusty arrives, he gets an unexpected request. Casey decides to focus on her future so she signs up for a LSAT prep class but she finds the class harder than she expected so she enlists Evan to be her tutor. Ashleigh needs some fast cash for spring break so she and Calvin get credit cards. Things quickly go awry when Ashleigh overspends.

Episode 12 – Spring Broke
The gang heads to Myrtle Beach for spring break and Casey decides to let loose and leave all of her presidential responsibilities behind her. Rusty quickly discovers that spring break is not what he expected and decides to return to school but he finds himself stranded with Calvin along the way. Rebecca receives devastating news and her odd behavior leaves Cappie puzzled. Evan tries to forget about Casey by flirting with hot girls but he finds himself drawn to Frannie. Ashleigh goes on a quest to discover the identity of a guy who she calls the “hot-ness monster”.

The video is given in widescreen color with an aspect ratio of 1.78:1, which is enhanced for 16X9 TVs. Transfer is great, but that is what you should expect for a newer show like this one. There are no major problems with the video at all.

The audio included is available in either English Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround sound or French Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround sound. There are subtitles available in English, Spanish, and French as well. Pretty standard quality for a new TV show as well. The dialogue comes out loud and clear with no major problems.

Audio Commentaries
There are 3 full-length episodes for 3 of the episodes from this season season. Patrick Sean Smith (executive producer), Amber Stevens (actor), Senta Moses (actor), and Paul James (actor) comment on “A New Normal” episode. Lloyd Segan (executive producer), Spencer Grammer (actor), Scott Foster (actor), Tiffany DuPont (actor), and Jake McDorman (actor) comment on the “Freshman Daze” episode. Patrick Smith (executive producer), Shawn Piller (executive producer), Jacob Zachar (actor), and Dilshad Vadsaria (actor) comment on the “47 Hours & 11 Minutes” episode. These are all somewhat entertaining and informative. Not the best commentaries ever, but worth a listen for fans of the show.

“Flashback Episode: And So It Begins” Featurette
This runs 10 and a half minutes and it features the producers and actors talking about this episode being an “origin story.” We see clips from the episode and behind-the-scenes along with the interviews. Pretty much your typical “making of” featurette, but only about a single episode from this season.

Blooper Reel
This is 3 minutes worth of the usual gags and bloopers from making this season. A laugh here or there, but nothing more than you would expect.

“Natural Disaster” by the Plain White T’s Music Video
Standard music video from a song from the show.

If you enjoyed the first season of Greek, you will enjoy the second season as well. It doesn’t try to do anything different, which is a good thing. Families with older kids should give this show a watch, because there is quite a few good messages to be taught watching this show. Of course, the second season gets a little soapy and has tons partying an antics for those that enjoy that. Fans of the first season will probably buy the second season, but it’s not that great to recommend a purchase for everyone else. Rental for sure, though.



Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment presents Greek: Season One. Created by Patrick Sean Smith. Starring Jacob Zachar, Spencer Grammer, Jake McDorman, Scott Foster, Paul James, Clark Duke, Amber Stevens, Dilshad Vadsaria, Tiffany Dupont, Jessica Rose, and Aaron Hill. Running time: 517 minutes. NOT RATED. Released on DVD: December 30, 2008.
Available at Amazon.com