Apparently there is a new soap opera running on ABC Family called Greek, which “focuses on the social minefield that is the Greek system. Viewers will see this unique cast of characters navigate their way through this treacherous terrain as they try to find their place at Cyprus-Rhodes University”. Evidently this heart-warming tale of personal exploration is best illustrated by the signature photo (seen at left) used on the show’s web site, which shows five cast members — two of whom seem to be wearing little or no clothes — immersed in a giant glass of beer.
Here’s the synopsis for Episode 3:
It’s mating season and no one seems to be having a good time. Rusty has to come up with a date for a Kappa Tau party but since just talking to a girl turns him into a blithering idiot, it’s going to be hard to convince someone he’s appealing. So he turns to Casey for help.
But Casey has problems of her own. Unable to forgive Evan for his fling with Rebecca, she sidesteps his advances at every turn. Frannie tells Casey she’s got to get it on with Evan for the good of the sorority while Ashleigh warns Evan to keep his hands off Casey and give her some space. Suddenly, world are colliding.
Meanwhile, Casey tries to help Rusty find a date by turning him into a mini-Evan. That’s when Cappie steps in. He takes Rusty to the Cappie School of Charm, where Rusty flunks every class. Desperate, Cappie fixes Rusty up with the easiest girl on campus—Lisa Lawson—also known as the girl Rusty spit up on.
She’s the forgiving type and finds Rusty kind of cute. Or she’s desperate too. Either way, when Casey finds out, she goes ballistic and runs out on Evan to save her baby brother. Who has had no trouble saving himself…for love, for honor, for another day? Or maybe Dale’s prayers on have worked.
In the end, Rusty goes to bed alone and Casey and Evan go to bed…to cuddle, make-up and become the perfect couple once more.
This is on ABC Family?
Rusty, by the way, is an engineering student who “after wasting his formative years playing it safe, is choosing to make college all about fun by pledging a fraternity. But as much as he hopes to fit in, Athens wasn’t built in a day. A geek to his core, the inexperienced Rusty will always be handicapped by his naiveté. That’s good when it comes to moral choices, bad when it comes to just about anything else.” His engineering classmate Dale is the miserable-looking geek sitting to the lower-left of the giant beer glass — the only one not physically connected to the beer and hence to the fun.
Just so we’re clear on this: Intelligence and academic skill — especially in science or math — and the ability to make good moral choices are DIAMETRICALLY OPPOSED TO FUN AND SOCIAL INCLUSION. Got it?
Look, I realize this is a soap opera (or “dramedy”) and such shows aren’t known for how well they conform to reality. But just for the sake of argument, and to test the notion that our country’s looming crisis with education in general and math/science/engineering in particular is primarily cultural, I propose a 10-year moratorium on TV shows, commercials, songs, movies, and other cultural items that:
- Portray college as a place primarily in existence for partying (“all about fun”);
- Portray students who are good at math and science as loser outcasts who must work their way in to enjoyment of life, usually by sacrificing their academics and/or their morality; or
- Equate “fun” itself with self-indulgence.
If, after this moratorium is over, we’re in no better shape with regard to our kids’ performance in and attitudes toward math and science (and education in general), then I’ll stop beating the drum about our problems in these areas being more cultural than curricular. But I have a feeling that things just might get better.
Let’s start our moratorium with “Greek”, although the show itself isn’t getting great reviews.