Tuned In

Why You Should Start Watching Greek, and So Should I

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We just moved offices at Time; the company is consolidating three floors’ worth of staff onto two (yay, downsizing!) and saving money by converting my former home on the 24th floor into, I don’t know, a Bed Bath and Beyond or something. This means I’ve been packing, and sifting through years of accumulated promotional tchotchkes. (Who wants a SpongeBob alarm clock? A Project Runway sewing kit? A Top Design acrylic vase? A first-aid kit from the TNT drama Saved? Bonus: does not come with an actual DVD of Saved!)

It also means going through, and rediscovering, DVDs I’ve accumulated. (Somewhere on my Things To Do When They Invent the 36-Hour Day list: dipping into my closet and doing reviews of some of the forgotten cult classics I have on DVD, like Wait ‘Til Your Father Gets Home and The Flip Wilson Show.) Among the recent DVD sets I uncovered: season one (or rather “Chapter One”) of ABC Family’s college dramedy Greek.

What’s that you say? You don’t watch Greek? You barely know what it is? How can you not be better informed? What lame, ignorant TV critic do you rely on for reviews, anyway?

Oh, right. That would be me. Well, I finally got around to watching a few episodes from last year’s season while doing other things, and I want to apologize for the oversight. And, of course, make excuses for it. I pretty much wrote off Greek when it first appeared because, well, it was on ABC Family, which I have long associated with shows that were much better on premise than execution. (Sorry, Kyle XY fans, and I know there are some on here.) And what I heard about the show from the very people who make it didn’t exactly make my interest stronger. Possibly so as not to turn off potential viewers, ABC Family and creator Patrick Sean Smith have emphasized the show’s escapist, fun qualities above all.

The show is fun, and funny, but it’s also smart and surprising, with characters who are realer and better-written than anything ABC Family has come with in the past. In particular, the dynamic between geeky fraternity newbie Rusty (Jacob Zachar) and his popular sister Casey (Spencer Grammer) is believable and complicated, with neither of them fitting exactly into the pigeonholes (morally-upright nerd, status-obsessed sorority girl) they first seem made for. Zachar, in particular, reminds me a little of Judd Apatow’s hero-geek TV characters, like Sam Weir from Freaks and Geeks and Steven Karp from Undeclared. Not to say Greek is in quite the same league, but it’s definitely a step up from, say, One Tree Hill.

A new episode airs tonight, though I’m not caught up myself. Those of you who are, how is the new season holding up? And how many days before my clean new office again becomes a dangerous rat’s nest?