Some Thoughts on the ‘Greek’ Series Finale

Greek cast

Greek cast

Greek was, without question, the finest college-set television show I’ve ever had the pleasure of watching. It had a tremendously rich sense of place, a strong, clear voice, great stories, and instantly definable three-dimensional characters played by one of the finest ensembles on television.

Tonight’s finale was perhaps a bit too pat for my personal tastes, but I can’t say that moments didn’t hit me exactly the way they were designed to. When Rebecca (standout Dilshad Vadsaria, who is a fuckin star) hugs Casey. Evan’s reaction to Cappie and Casey’s plans. Rusty’s speech to Cappie. The way Rusty says “I love you” to his sister Casey.

I’ve written about the show’s aspirational colorblind casting before. It was a glaringly obvious problem with the show. It was a choice that I understand given our country’s racial fatigue, but it sometimes resulted in bizarre casting and sort of forced the writers to not give the characters portrayed by actors of color histories or backstory to avoid dealing with or acknowledging race. Ashleigh and Calvin suffered a bit as a result, though Calvin as a gay character got a little more to do*. In this way, Greek becomes a fascinating study of just how limited colorblind casting truly is.

That said, I still really enjoyed the show. And I’ll miss it.

 

*This AfterElton article with writer and creator Patrick Sean Smith shows that Smith knew exactly what the colorblind choice meant and he acknowledges the challenges of writing for some of the characters. His thoughts on Ashleigh in particular (“I was trying to imagine even for Ashleigh what the black sorority sister experience would be and the only things that came to mind were things I’d seen a million times.”) are very interesting and track very much with my frustration with the character at times. And his views on race and the millennial generation (“I never felt race, for the millennial audience, was that important to them for their reality. Dealing with sexual orientation and race is less of a thing for them than it has been even for my generation.”) are understandable, but completely absurd.

Erasure

Alyssa's post on the remakes of A Star is Born and Annie with Beyonce and Willow Smith, respectively, is eloquent:

It seems almost fitting that the progression of these eternal American stories would eventually expand to include black women. We live in a world where African American women have only won acting Academy Awards for playing a prisoner's wife, a slave, a con-artist medium, a woman who becomes a star only after she has to take a fall into single motherhood, and a hideously abusive mother. Annie and A Star Is Born are much less complex stories than either of those roles. But maybe equality means not having to struggle against the burdens of history on-screen, just to embody a straight trajectory towards victory on the virtue of good nature that knows no color.

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