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Reviewed by Will Harris
n the early days of ABC Family’s college comedy/drama “Greek,” you sometimes felt obliged to refer to it as a semi-guilty pleasure, since you knew in your heart of hearts that it wasn’t showing the real college experience. After three seasons of learning about the lives and loves the characters on the show, however, one finds that real is relative: ultimately, the show’s so much fun that you don’t really care if it doesn’t quite live up to the true craziness of college. Kudos to Shout Factory for picking up the option to release the series: unlike the previous editions, this is the first time we’ve ever gotten an entire season in a single set.
Romance has been a big part of the “Greek” formula since the very beginning, but whether it’s because the producers didn’t know if they’d be able to provide the show with a senior year or simply a case of the kids slowly but surely learning the lessons of adulthood and maturing, it’s never felt quite as pronounced as it does within this chapter of the saga. The triangle of Casey, Cappie, and Evan may never reach a conclusion until the series does, but there’s certainly more forward motion this season, with Casey and Cappie finally rekindling their relationship… which, not coincidentally, is also what Evan and Cappie do. In a classic case of romantic recycling, Rebecca soon decides to take advantage of the situation and pursue Evan, but while she starts out doing it mostly out of spite, it ends up turning into something more substantial. This actually stands to reason, though, as both Evan and Rebecca have found themselves in positions where they’re trying to take a stand outside of their parents, with a great deal of this season focusing on how difficult Evan finds it to exist without his previous omnipresent trust fund.
As ever, Rusty’s the one who has it the worst on the romantic front. He starts the season with Jordan, but it soon becomes clear that they’re on two completely different academic paths. After several false starts, he stumbles into a unexpected relationship with Katherine, but it begins to fall apart when he realizes that he’s not comfortable rushing into sex strictly to help rid someone of their virginity. Finally, he discovers that Dana, who’s had a crush on him from afar for quite some time, is actually the person with whom he’s most able to build a relationship. But will it last beyond the earlier episodes of Season Four? Given Rusty’s track record, there’s no reason to think so, but I’m rooting for the little guy nonetheless. He deserves a break.
Other romantic storylines within the show find Calvin struggling to find same-sex love in the fraternity world without being either too in-the-closet or too in-your-face and Ashleigh moving beyond complicated relationship with Fisher. Even Dale has a few moments in the field of romance, though they often revolve around the desperate two-step between spirituality and sexuality. “Greek” isn’t just about love and the college years, though. There’s still a focus on the educational, most notably with a growing scientific rivalry between Rusty and Dale. In addition, graduation is looming on the horizon for the older students, and as Casey spends her free time – such as it is – trying to get into law school, Cappie is forced to realize that his lack of desire to leave college behind is liable to lead to the end of the romantic relationship that he’s fought so hard to get back.
For better or worse, “Greek” is preparing to wrap up its run with Season Four. Makes sense: it’s a four-year school, after all. Not that the series couldn’t carry on with an incoming class, but better to close out the Cyprus-Rhodes saga with the same students it began.
Special Features: We get another solid batch of “Greek” bonus material, something that’s been a constant with this series all along but which Shout Factory always does right. In addition to the standard gag reels and always-fun audio commentaries with the cast and crew, there’s a featurette about the game “Gotcha!” that’s played in one of the episodes, and a conversation with Nora Kirkpatrick about playing Katherine. The best part, though, is what’s arguably the whitest hip-hop video you’ve ever seen: the lyrics pay tribute to “Greek,” so fans will find them hilarious, but the best part is how utterly (if intentionally) uncomfortable the cast looks when it first starts.