Gone Greek: "Highway to the Discomfort Zone"

    No character on Greek gets overlooked more than Dale, Rusty’s extremely awkward and religious roommate. Whereas every other character in the series always get caught up in uber-serious drama, Dale exists as the comedic foil, the one character who occupies the Greek universe only to be laughed at. But, for all the jokes about how Dale loves Jesus, he also has one of the more compelling stories on the show, as he’s the one character shown who never really fits in at all. Everyone else faces conflict, but often find resolution. Dale never really fits in, and remains the show’s most awkward character, a person who can’t change himself for the world of college and suffers for it.

    This week’s episode belonged to Dale, who had the funniest and most interesting story in an episode loaded with the same-old same-old relationship struggles the other characters show. Casey likes Cappie, Cappie likes Rebecca, Rusty doesn’t fit in, blah blah blah. Dale, meanwhile, set out to “un-gay” Calvin, a set-up that could have ended as a lame joke but became something strangely compelling, providing the most entertaining segments of the night while also leaving enough open for future episodes. Most of all, it was nice to see a new relationship appear, as Calvin and Dale didn’t interact much before this episode, yet their story seems very interesting. This week’s Greek suffered from a boring story and especially bad dialogue, but Dale (and Calvin, another undervalued character) salvaged the show by opening new horizons for a show that sometimes feel like it just wants to recycle the same dramas every week.

    Plus, Dale totally has the best career outside this show.

    Quick Episode Summary: “Highway to the Discomfort Zone”

    Ashleigh wants to flirt with boys, and encourages Casey to join in the boy hunt, but she still doesn’t feel up to it. Rusty and the rest of his Kappa Tau pledges need to create a Pledge Project, but Rusty realizes he hasn’t bonded much with his brothers since the “Jen K crisis.” Cappie and Rebecca become an official romantic item, and he decides he’ll break the news to ex-flame Casey. She pretends to take the news well, but Cappie’s reveal hurts her deeply. It doesn’t help that Rebecca uses her new relationship to drive Casey crazy, during Big Sis-Little Sis week nonetheless. Elsewhere, Dale wants to turn Calvin straight, and Calvin, as a joke of sorts, agrees to attend his sessions. Casey and the rest of her house volunteer at an Animal Shelter, where she meets Jonas, a cute guy who works there. Rebecca, Cappie, Casey and Jonas go out for a night of drinks, which turns into a night where each girl tries to make the other jealous. Casey ends up sleeping with Jonas, but in the morning discovers he’s only 16, a fact that creeps her out immensely. Rusty hates the fact he isn’t as close to his other pledges and further alienates them by trying to do the project by himself. They all agree to work together, and end up impressing the upperclassmen, as Rusty is welcomed into the freshman fold. Casey realizes she just wanted to make Cappie angry by going out with Jonas, and admits to him that she still has feelings for him. Cappie says he cares about Rebecca though. Calvin and Dale get into many hijinks, but end up trying to understand one another better. The episode ends with Casey telling Rebecca that if she hurts Cappie, she’ll hurt her.

    Representation of College

    - Rusty’s fellow pledges played hackey-sack before they began the planning process. Does anyone still play that? I’ve never seen that around Evanston, I feel Ultimate Frisbee replaced hackey-sack a while back.

    - Every week, a new, lame band poster sneaks its way into this show. This time around, Augustana, a band I’ve never once heard mentioned in college conversation.

    - One of the reasons Ashleigh won’t date a certain boy – “he’s Republican.” I wish this was just a bad joke, but most university-folks hate the Right so much they are willing to define an individual on political affiliation alone. Subtle, but good.

    - The girls of ZBZ flipped out when they arrived at the animal rescue, oooohin and ahhhhing like nuts at a box of puppies. Read this, and tell me the lady-folks don’t flip out over four-legged mammals.

    - If personal experience has taught me anything, an all-nighter should leave a person in complete shambles and clutching several empty bottles of Diet Pepsi Max as they twitch on the floor. Rusty looked completely OK after his all-nighter, and didn’t even have a soda near him.

    - Food runs are obvious college staples, but IHOP runs? Not the biggest event at Northwestern, but it should be – the IHOP on Howard is open 24 hours, and extremely tasty. Yum, I want stuffed French toast now.

    - Biggest gripe of the week comes from a problem I though Greek shed last season. This episode featured a speech about how the point of a fraternity is to introduce people to a diverse group of others, creating new opportunities for an individual. Whenever Greek steps on its suds-soaked soapbox to ramble about how rockin’ frats are, the show goes from being entertaining to downright-annoying. This is a show set in college, don’t worry about defending anything. Though, rants like these actually do capture how defensive frat boys can be – say one negative thing about them, and they go crazy and talk about “philanthropy.”

    - Other big problem – do any of these characters go to class? They at least pretended to have homework last season, I haven’t heard one reference to any academic work at all this season.

    Greek’s Bad Writing in Action

    - So, so many bad pop culture references. Top Gun got referenced in the episode (and inspired the title), alongside jokes about Jennifer Hudson, Joey Fatone and To Catch a Predator.

    - The first dialogue spoken in this episode:
    Ashleigh: “Check out the yummy boy buffet.”
    Casey: “I don’t have much of an appetite.”
    No more words necessary.

    - Cappie said, “Casey and I had a past. But we…we have a future.” Such lame love talk and so empty. Glad romantic comedies inspire the writers of this show.

    - “Hotmanistan.” This word, referring to cute boys, actually exists thanks to this week’s episode. The end is near, world.

    - “I’m so cool, I’m like a polar ice cap.” Now, what’s cooler than being cool?

    - Somehow, the show topped all of the above junk with this gem:
    Rusty: “Where are you running to?”
    Casey: “The real question is what am I running from?”
    Urge. To. Kill. Rising.

    Closing Question – How much Dale/Calvin fanfic is going to get written now? I’ll keep you posted on the terror that is fanfic that will surely arise soon enough.


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