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Friday, January 29, 2010

My New Favorite TV Show that starts with "G" but is on the ABC Family Network

Until Glee resumes programming, I am hooked on the TV show, Greek, that airs on the ABC Family Network. No, I didn't know the ABC Family Network existed either and I don't know what channel it's on or its other programming. I picture a lot of School House Rock and after school specials. Maybe it does "Where are they now specials" about the cast of Saved by the Bell or Nickelodeon's You Can't do that on Television. I watch all my TV on Hulu on my computer. Our only remaining TV, a mid 90's classic with a built in VCR that my sister gave me, lives in my closet.

Back to the topic on hand, which is a digression from my usual fare of health care and the business world. I try to write 8 posts per month, it's the end of the month and I'm a post short, and I want a break from those more serious topics.

Greek (only the E's are replaced with pretend Greek letters) is about the fraternity and sorority life at the mytical Cyprus Rhodes University. The creators envisioned a Gray's Anatomy with a college age cast, focus, and no melodramatic musical montages (not that I'm not a fan of a good musical montage). Essentially it replaced the niche that has been largely untouched since the Beverly Hills 90210 cast entered college. Greek is either a comedic drama or a dramatic comedy and does both parts equally well.

The wikipedia link describe the basics of the show but the reason that I dedicated a post to praising a TV show on an obscure network is:

Characters routinely break their stereotypes: The main characters rotate between taking the moral high road and falling to their most basic vices. No character is consistently wise or consistently wicked. One character will provide brilliant wisdom to a friend about their relationship and than destroy their own relationship with a selfish maneuver. No one is completely evil or good or competent or an idiot. In other words, its characters are pretty realistic.

They've balanced out who sleeps with who: The main failure of most TV shows with an attractive cast of sex-obsessed characters is that eventually every character sleeps with or wants to sleep with every other character and every combination has been exhausted. At that point, new characters are brought in just so everyone can sleep with someone new. Greek balances this out well with gay male characters who don't sleep with the female characters. Other characters are limited by love triangles to only sleep with one or two other characters. Other characters are are more innocent and don't sleep with the other main cast members. Finally, a few characters are designated to be huge sluts and sleep with everyone. A brother and sister round out everything nicely. It's a simple but elegant formula that keeps new relationships and sexual conquests interesting and creates new plot lines rather than recycle them.

The ridiculous is balanced out with the sublime: Regular characters such as the perky and popular female lead, her best friend side kick, the nerdy genius who just wanted to be accepted, witty slacker, and cutthroat future CEO president of the popular fraternity are balanced out with ridiculous characters that allow for the unexpected and the funny. There is a fraternity member who wears mascara, never speaks, and is routinely admonished for creepily watching people sleep. An awkward sorority girl curses all the time and eats obsessively. A southern baptist who takes a purity pledge reveals secret desires to be on the cheerleading squad and sleeps with his cougar-esque landlord. A large muscular, "George-from-Of-Mice-and-Men" fraternity guy gets stumped trying to figure out if the cilantro on his nachos are a vegetable or not. Okay, the last one was pretty stereotypical but is an enjoyable character.

Some suspension of disbelief is required. The show is supposed to take place in Ohio but since it is filmed in California, it never snows. The genius characters scientific discoveries violate most laws of physics let alone the capabilities of a typical freshman engineering major. However, the writing is quality (the slacker character has some really good dialogue) and the humor fresh enough ("He's smart. He goes to an Ivy League School! Okay, it's Brown but that's pretty close to Ivy league.") to make up for it.


Anonymous said...

I would like to say to the blog public that first: I'm only posting after being specifically told that my personal emails to my brother about his blogs were appreciated but comments are better. He's out there trolling for comments, I'm just telling it like it is.

Second, this post actually would have deserved a full on comment because of my brother's utter astuteness in his description of Greek and the fact he discovered it. I'm actually slightly awed, since i've been addicted to Greek since it's start and consistently think, I'm the only one who watches this brilliant show and as a result they are allowed to get away with some really on the edge comedy and story lines that makes me wonder if ABC family ever actually watch the show or if Kelsey Grammer is holding something HUGE over ABC and using it for his adorable daughter, who is the star of the show. Needless to say, I had NO idea my brilliant brother also had discovered.

Makes me proud, Mr. Grunt, makes me proud.

Deadhedge said...

First sister, I don't need to beg for comments. Blogs work best as a conversation so that's why I encouraged you to be public.

I also thought that I was the only one who watched Greek and also have no idea how ABC Family stumbled on to this show. They are astutely leaving it alone.

We discovered it on Hulu's popular show list so it was pretty random.

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