The Facebook ‘On This Day’ feature has been making me nostalgic for college and that feeling has only been amplified by the current graduation season. Between the throwback photos, status updates, and commencement decorations in every retail store I can’t also help but think about how college is portrayed on TV. (I am a TV addict after all.)
For many TV shows it’s merely a background setting, something that characters are said to be attending, or what happens when a TV show about high schoolers lasts more than four seasons. Which is why I believe ABC Family’s 2007 TV series Greek is still one of the best TV shows about the college experience.
Here’s a handful of ways Greek successfully captured campus life:
I never really understood why there was always so much drama on The Real World, that was until I lived in a dorm. When you live, date, work, and go to class with the same people it’s impossible to not only forge tighter bonds but also to just as easily tear them down. And in the process you typically learn a lot about yourself.
The Cappie, Casey, and Evan love-triangle / will-they-won’t-they / friends to bitter rivals and back to friends again drama best exemplifies the turmoil that can happen when people grow together and / or apart.
And while those three certainly carried the bulk of the relationship drama on the series, many other characters had their own story arcs pertaining to relationships and self discovery. For example, Calvin came out of the closet and Rusty had his first real relationship.
In the pilot episode of the series we’re introduced to the brothers of Kappa Tau Gamma and Omega Chi Delta and the sisters of Zeta Beta Zeta. And then there’s Rusty and Dale, two freshmen in the Honors Engineering Program.
Wanting the full college experience, parties, girls, and all, Rusty pledges Kappa Tau. Despite becoming a full-fledged brother, he never ceases to be defined by his academic endeavors. Conversely, for Cappie and many of the other characters, classes are just something that happen, not the most important part of their day-to-day life.
On TV it’s really not uncommon for characters to barely ever attend class and still graduate, but from my experience it’s not all that uncommon in real life either. For every person I knew who pulled all-nighters, frequented the library, and went to every single class, there was a friend who always asked to borrow notes, had someone sign them in for attendance points, and managed to BS their way through the final paper or exam to eke out a passing grade. Despite the fact that college is supposed to be an institution for ‘higher learning’, everyone approaches the learning part differently.
College can be stressful and hectic, but strangely enough you’ll never have as much random free time as you did during those four(ish) years. And I’m not even referring to all the partying. We always found a way to do nothing, or at the very least something that wasn’t homework.
And Greek captured the hang-out factor well. Besides their truly epic themed parties, characters played videos games, laid around, watched TV, slept all day, chilled at the local pub, had heart-to-hearts with their roommates, snacked, shot pool, played silly campus wide games… all very realistic activities for otherwise fictional characters.
Real college students also have reunions, and Greek is getting one too! Freeform green-lit Greek: The Reunion, a TV movie that’ll catch up with the Cyprus Rhodes alumni five years post-Graduation. It’s expected to air during Freeform’s Holiday programming later this year.
If you need to catch-up before the 5-year reunion or simply want to watch the series again, you’re in luck. All 74 episodes of Greek are available for free on Freeform.