Throwback Thursday: Greek

Greek aired on ABC Family from 2007 to 2011 for 4 seasons and 74 episodes. It follows students attending Cyprus-Rhodes University (CRU) who participate in the Greek system. The main characters are Rusty and Casey Cartwright, siblings who are on very different life paths.

Casey is the campus darling, dating Evan (the president of Omega Chi Delta), and well on her way to being president of her own sorority, Zeta Beta Zeta. Rusty (aka Spitter), on the other hand, is new to campus and just wants to fit in. Him fitting in would be a lot easier if Casey had actually told people she had a little brother, or if he wasn’t in the Honors Engineering Program, or if he hadn’t caught Casey’s boyfriend sleeping with Casey’s new ‘little sister’, or if he hadn’t defected Omega Chi Delta for Kappa Tau Gamma (run by Casey’s ex-boyfriend and Evan’s ex-best friend/former roommate, Cappie). Pretty much, Rusty has a lot stacked up against him, and it’s only his first week of school.

The show explores all of the different dynamics that come with college: keeping up with the coursework, navigating the Greek system politics, weird roommates, relationships (including love triangles), sexuality, and life after graduation.

Judd Apatow has talked about how difficult it is to produce a show that accurately portrays a period in someones life that isn’t generally seen as ‘safe’ for broadcast television. Somehow, Greek was able to be watched by almost any member in the family, while still showing drinking, drugs, and sex accurately. It also has positive depictions of gay characters. No gimmicky stereotypes here folks, nor one dimensional relationships. LGBT+ characters had fully developed relationships, and were given just as much thought and care as the straight relationships.

The show also used real life band The Plain White T’s as the Greek systems go-to house party band. Every party utilizes the band on screen, featuring their songs throughout the episodes and during commercials/promo spots, as well as using the cast in music videos. Fans cannot listen to the album Every Second Counts without having flashbacks and intense cravings to re-watch the show.

There is rumor that a reunion movie is in the works, catching up with the characters for their 5 year college reunion.

Where to watch: Freeform website (Watch the trailer)

Where to find the fandom: Most (almost all) of the fandom defected soon after the last episode aired, but luckily the internet is forever – FanfictionLivejournalA03, Tumblr: fuckyeahzbzcappie-tau-gammafuckyeahgreek

 

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Unpopular Opinion: Ross/Rachel are the WORST

I was born in 1990, so I spent my formative years hearing the media glorify Ross/Rachel as the “IT” couple. Water cooler conversations were all about whether or not they will get back together, what did him saying her name mean, and heated debates over whether or not they were actually on a break.

When I got to high school and decided to re-watch Friends all the way through, I quickly became disenchanted with this couple. This is not the couple to look up to. This is the couple that makes family and marriage counselors cringe and hit happy hour with abandon.

What exactly makes them the worst couple?

  1. Ross is overly jealous of Rachel’s co-worker, Mark. He will not listen to her when she says that they are just co-workers, and Rachel never even gives a hint to liking Mark that way. In fact, when Rachel breaks up with Ross, she does not even go running to Mark. Ergo, it was all in Ross’s head. Ross became petty, manipulative, and domineering over Rachel’s life because he thought another guy liked her. This isn’t sweet. It isn’t romantic. It’s fairly abusive.
  2. He continually puts his work in front of Rachel, but gets angry when she has an emergency on their anniversary and can’t make it that night. He shows up at her work with a picnic and purposely disrupts her while she’s on the phone trying to figure out what caused the mess up. He cannot stand not being the center of attention (and we can probably thank his spoiling parents for that one).
  3. Ross was overall a very controlling boyfriend. He even forbade her to get a tattoo. It’s her body; her decision. When Ross doesn’t get what he wants when he wants it, tantrums arise. He yells at her in front of all of their friends when she is trying to figure out what outfit to wear to his award ceremony. Yes, he’s trying to make sure they get there on time, but what he says and how he says it screams controlling asshole.
  4. When Rachel is pregnant, Ross gets angry when she goes on a date with someone else. Meanwhile, Ross has a girlfriend and flirts with other girls in front of pregnant Rachel. He flirts with their nanny, but gets angry when Rachel kisses Gavin. He even hides the message Rachel gets from the guy at the bar because he refuses to acknowledge the fact that Rachel is allowed to see other guys just like he’s allowed to see other girls.
  5. Ross was constantly making her feel dumb. He even made a list about it when trying to decide if he should date her or not. He treated her like she couldn’t do anything outside of shopping, no matter what skills she displayed/learned.
  6. Ross was a cheater, and Rachel approved of it. He cheated on Bonnie with Rachel,  and Rachel was willing to be the other woman. She knew he was dating Bonnie, and she even tried to manipulate Bonnie into bad decisions to get Ross to break up with her. He even hook ups with Charlie (Joey/Ross’s girlfriend), before her and Joey break up.
  7. Ross is constantly lying. He has every intention of lying about sleeping with the copy girl, he lies about reading Rachel’s letter, and he lies about still being married to Rachel.  He even tries to lie to Mona about Rachel moving in with him.
  8. Ross decides to get married to Emily (Rachel’s boss’s niece) less then one year after breaking up with  Rachel. If this is supposed to be the “it” couple, the couple we are to strive to be like, how in the world is he ready to marry somebody else less then one year after breaking up with the ‘love of his life’? It just does not make sense.
  9. Rachel showing up at his wedding, and her subsequent “him saying my name has to mean something”, was just petty and childish. If she truly loved him, she would want him to be happy. She would not have disrupted his wedding day like that, and she would not have focused on herself in the aftermath.
  10. Ross not only dates Rachel’s boss’s niece, he also dates her sister. How horrible can a guy get? Then again, Rachel ends up dating Joey, one of Ross’s best friends. Neither one really has the high moral ground here.
  11. WE WERE ON A BREAK. That joke is the worst joke of all time, and makes this couple HORRIBLE. Here is a transcript of their fight:

Rachel: Oh my God. I cannot keep having this same fight with you Ross! Look, urrgh, maybe we should take a break.

Ross: Fine, you’re right. Let’s ah, let’s take a break, (goes to the door) let’s cool off, okay, let’s get some frozen yoghurt, or something.. (opens the door)

Rachel: No. A break from us.

Rachel afterwards tells Mark “oh and then I told him I wanted to take a break”. And then to top it all off, she leaves this voicemail:

Rachel: (on answering machine) Hi, it’s me. I’ve been trying to reach you all night. I feel awful. Please, Ross, you gotta know there is nothing between me and Mark. This whole break-up thing is just stupid. Eh, I’m just so sorry I put you through it. And, I y’know, I don’t want to get back together over a machine.

She literally tells him on his answering machine that they ARE BROKEN UP. So for the entire rest of the series, she makes him feel like crap for ‘cheating’ when she clearly says everywhere else that they were indeed broken up. Ross is clearly in the right to say that they were on a break, he even has audio proof of it (which it continually pisses me off that this recording is never brought up ever again. Like, why is this not used in his arguments? It would have ended the debate once and for all).

Neither person brings out the best in the other. When they are together, they are childish, petty, manipulative, and just overall horrible. Truthfully, Ross and Rachel had the best story lines when they were single and not trying to get with each other.

When people say they want to find their Ross and/or Rachel, I die a little on the inside. Nobody should look up to a couple that lies, cheats, controls, and manipulates each other. This is not a healthy relationship at all.

Throwback Thursday: Kitchen Confidential

Kitchen Confidential only aired 4 episodes between September 19, 2005 and December 5, 2005 (all 13 episodes were later released on DVD). After the first 3 episodes were shown, Fox network put the show on hiatus due to the Major League Baseball playoffs, then postponed, and was then cancelled 4 days after the fourth episode aired. It is based on Anthony bourdain’s bestselling book by the same name.

Bradley Cooper plays the lead character, Jack Bourdain, who is a successful chief who lost prestige due to alcohol and drug addiction. He is given the chance to run Nolita as a career comeback. He is helped out in the kitchen by one of his oldest friends (Nicholas Brendon), his best friend/thief (Owain Yeoman), a newbie (John Francis Daley), a ditzy waitress (Jaime King), and a head waitress/daughter of the owner who hates the entire staff (Bonnie Somerville).

As you can see, the show has a phenomenal cast. At its core, the show focuses on the hijinks done by the main kitchen staff, and trying to keep the bosses daughter from finding out. The writing is witty, and plays on the actors/actresses best strengths. It is a show that if promoted correctly (it was paired with Arrested Development on Monday nights), could have run for a few seasons rather then only 4 episodes.

Where to watch: Hulu, and Amazon sells the complete series for only $10 (Watch a clip)

Where to find the fandom: Sadly, there is pretty much no fandom for this show. You can find a few stories on Fanfiction and AO3, and you have to dig through the tag on tumblr to find show related posts (most are for the book)

 

Movie Madness: Band of Robbers

This 2016 Indie movie reimagines Mark Twain’s Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer as adults in modern day time. Huck has just got out of prison and wants to lead a normal life, while Tom is now a corrupt cop who has not let go of his childhood schemes. Both have not been able to forget their dreams of finding treasure, and so they form a “Band of Robbers” with two other friends and begin the hunt.

The movie follows the plot of Tom Sawyer pretty well* and has plenty of call backs to the original story/time period. For instance, at the beginning of the movie Huck is seen smoking a corn cob pipe and he is staying in a house that is from the correct time period (with matching furniture). The major changes include having the movie narrated by Huck, the cave with the treasure is turned into an old hotel that was once called “The Cavern”, and Becky meets Tom for the first time as an adult.

It is this last change that drew me into the movie. What is Tom like with no Becky? What role does Becky play in Tom’s growth? Turns out, Tom without Becky is a grade A asshole. He leaves Huck behind to get caught, uses his power as a cop to get away with crimes, and has no care in the world for anything not related to him. Becky is the reason why book Tom was able to grow as a person. Not having Becky around not only changed Tom, but also changed Huck. If Tom wasn’t reigned in by wanting to be good for Becky, that leaves Huck not having what little guiding influence Tom provided.

Overall, this movie was able to take the original themes of the book and give a more sinister take on them. There were times when I thought that Huck or Tom could actually be killed off, while the book never had me fear that. There was also a pretty interesting discussion on whether or not Injun Joe was racist (the answer was never agreed upon).

*If you never read it, or only read the Spark Notes in order to pass your HS English class, don’t worry. No prior knowledge of the book is needed to enjoy this movie.

TV Trivia – Answers

  • On Three’s Company, what is the name “Chrissy” short for?
    • Christmas
  • What star of The Breakfast Club was also part of the original cast of The Facts of Life?
    • Molly Ringwald
  • On M*A*S*H, what was Walter ‘Radar’ O’Reilley’s home town?
    • Ottumwa, Iowa

TV Trivia

Factoids

  • Today, there are more than 1.5 billion TV sets in use
  • US citizens watch the most TV. By age 65, an American would have watched the equivalent of 9 years of uninterrupted screening, viewing more than 20,000 TV commercials per year
  • On average, a movie makes about 5 times more from its DVD sales than ticket takings.

Questions

  • On Three’s Company, what is the name “Chrissy” short for?
  • What star of The Breakfast Club was also part of the original cast of The Facts of Life?
  • On M*A*S*H, what was Walter ‘Radar’ O’Reilley’s home town?

Answer in the comments below and the correct answers will be revealed tomorrow!

Throwback Thursday: Leverage

Ever wondered what a mashup of Ocean’s Eleven and Robin Hood would be like? Have no fear, Leverage is the show for you.

Leverage aired from 2008 to 2012 for a total of 5 seasons and 77 episodes. The show follows a grifter, a hacker, a hitter, a thief, and an ex-insurance investigator who use their combined skills to fight corporate America in order to help ordinary citizens.

Let’s meet the team:

Nathan “Nate” Ford (The Mastermind/The Brains): Former insurance fraud investigator who loses his job and wife after his son dies due to the insurance company (the same one he works for) refusing to cover medical treatment. This leads him into using alcohol as a coping mechanism, and he refers to himself as a functioning alcohol throughout the whole series (the rest of the team just calls him an alcoholic). He has personally tracked down each of the team members in one way or another while working for the insurance company, and it is this knowledge that leads him to know how to use their skills in each con.

Sophie Devereaux (The Grifter): An accomplished con artist with a talent for art theft and a dream of becoming an actress. The only downside is that she is only a good actress when she is running a con; put her on stage during a play and she is a hot mess. Sophie has a long list of aliases, including Sophie Devereaux. One unanswered question from the series is her real name.

Alec Hardison (The Hacker): A self-proclaimed geek (“age of the geek, baby”), whose first large scale crime was making the country of Iceland responsible for his Nana’s medical bills. He runs all of the electronics for the team, and designed the computer/video systems used at headquarters as well as the com system used during cons. He is also in charge of making legitimate aliases for the team, often using science fiction characters for the names (Dr. Who in particular). Hardison is one of the best actors on the team, and can talk himself out of almost every situation.

Eliot Spencer (The Hitter): An Oklahoma native who is highly skilled at martial arts, a weapons specialist, and a former black ops soldier who hates when guns are brought into a fight. His main responsibility is playing supporting roles in the con while acting as a bodyguard for the team.  He is presumed by most as a muscleman, but in reality he has a subtle intelligence (such as being able to distinguish gun shots, shoes, hairstyles, or styles of fighting) that relies on others underestimating him. In later episodes he works alongside Sophie as a grifter.

Parker (The Thief): A cat-burglar, pickpocket, safe-cracker, and expert thief who comes from an abusive background in foster care. She is “20 pounds of crazy in a five pound bag”, has no understanding of social norms, and lives solely off of cereal. Parker loves money, not stuff, and her favorite present is non-sequential bills. She once stole the Hope diamond and put it back because she was bored. While most see her as naive and childlike, she is next to Nate on being able to see several steps ahead and make contingency plans.

Each episode follows the same setup: the team meets the victim, runs surveillance on the villain, and then an elaborate con is run. The show uses flashbacks to show how seemingly devastating complications were actually anticipated, or how a random scene was a clue to how the entire plan worked. One thing that separates Leverage from other shows is that the characters are at the top of their field and the story lines and complications reflect it. The crew doesn’t hit a snag because somebody dropped the ball, they hit a snag because somebody sold the con too well.

While the show focuses on taking down corporate America (let’s be honest, who doesn’t love that?), it is the team’s personality, character growth, and relationship with each other that draws viewers in. Even during the first episode you can tell that they are already forming a family.

As the characters are a family, so too is the fandom. This fandom has steadily grown after cancellation thanks to Netflix and Hulu, and is welcoming of all ships. Whether you ship Hardison/Parker, or Hardison/Parker/Eliot, the fandom has a place for you and no ship wars occur. It is one of the friendliest fandoms out there.

Where to watch: Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, and Ion Television airs marathons every Sunday (Watch the trailer)

Where to find the fandom: Fanfiction, AO3, Tumblr: Leverage Tag, letsgostealaleverageblog, other-romantic-verbs