Greek: The New OC?

greek-cappie.jpgNew guilty pleasure alert!

Okay, so I’ll admit that I miss The OC more than I thought I would. It’s not that I even really enjoyed it that much during the final couple of seasons, but it was nice to be able to peep in on post-teen culture (in a well-written, sarcastic, self-deprecating format).

So when I saw the preview for “GrΣΣk” (a new ABC Family original series), I wasn’t very hopeful even though the teaser seemed promising. We’ve got the nerdy smart freshman Seth Cohen figure and his cute older sister who’s the “it girl” in her sorority. Her James Spaderesque boyfriend and her slacker ex, presidents of rival fraternities of course.

So much potential, yet so much potential for disaster. It’s on ABC Family, for Christ’s sake.

I’ve watched the first three episodes and, so far, it’s way better than anyone has any right to expect. The show is carried by “Cappie” (the slacker ex-boyfriend), played by Scott M. Foster, who looks like Gram Parsons and takes the Cohen kid under his beer-soaked wing as a way to get back with the sister and to get back at Spader. All pretty obvious and typical.

But there are details that make GrΣΣk worth watching. First of all, I’m not sure how this show comes out of ABC Family because there’s not a lot of typical family values. There’s plenty of underage drinking and meaningless sex, doing body shots of tequila. The nicest character on the show is a closeted gay dude, who might be the first non-stereotypical homosexual on TV. Except that he likes shopping.

And they’re certainly not making any friends with the “family values” crowd by portraying Cohen’s roommate as a bible-thumping Baptist who decorates his side of the room with a Confederate flag. The roommate, unfortunately, is the most shallow, stereotypical character on the show. His portrayal reveals a fundamental misunderstanding of the Fundamentalist mindset. If the writers want to hire me as a consultant, I’d be happy to reshape that character into something believable and authentic.

The music is pretty unremarkable. They need to hire my girl Alex Patsavas. But I just looked at the music guide on the website and realized that they’ve used some Fujiya & Miyagi, a little Albert Hammond Jr. and even something from Saddle Creek (who’s Maria Taylor?), so I guess that makes up for the guest appearance by Plain White Ts (who played a frat party). Frat parties are the new Peach Pit.

Side note: their site has a couple of free mp3s, which is pretty hip for a major network. Adrienne Pierce – “Fools Gold” and Maria Taylor – “Song Beneath the Song”.

So anyway, check it out, and let me know if you think I’m crazy. At least watch the trailer and see if it doesn’t make you want to give it a chance.

I went to a college that had no greek system. In fact, I chose that college because it had no greek system. So maybe I’m susceptible to romanticizing fraternities. Animal House, etc. I had nothing but fun at the few frat parties I attended. Then again, I tend not to hang out with daterapists. All the frat guys I know are exactly like you and me except instead of getting drunk and spending all their time following music, they get drunk and spend all their time following sports.

Is rock and roll somehow intellectually superior to athletics? Fuck if I know, but I don’t see why it should be.

Which reminds me: I hate the phrase guilty pleasure. It’s used by people who aren’t confidant enough in their opinions to take a stand on whether something is good or not. Which is precisely why I used it when referring to GrΣΣk. After only three episodes, this show could go either way. I’m not sure. Right now, I’m enjoying it mostly. To use another weak, somewhat backhanded compliment: it’s thoroughly entertaining.

We have yet to see whether it will eventually get good, or — like most TV shows — run out of steam before it reaches its potential.

PS – That sorority president girl’s bottom teeth are way too fucked up for her to have that much ‘tude. Bad casting!

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