Greek Speak: The Truth and Lies of Greek Life on TV

Admit it – even if you are in a sorority, you’ve wondered if Greek TV shows are anything like real Greek life. But first off, it goes without saying that whether you are Greek or not, if you have never seen an episode of “GREEK” then you haven’t lived. If for some reason you are living under a rock and have yet to indulge in this amazing show, stop reading immediately, go watch a few episodes online, then come back and read!  (P.S. Don’t tell your friends you’ve never seen “GREEK”; they’ll shun you.)

Moving on.

After every episode I find myself more and more emotionally attached to the characters. (Let’s face it, I want to be Casey Cartwright and live happily ever after with Evan Chambers.) I think the reason why myself and thousands of other sorority girls are addicted to “GREEK” is partially because it is so true. From the parties, to frat boy break-ups, to in-house sorority drama, the show covers it all. We all love the show because it is relatable and probably the most realistic portrayal of sorority life in the media. Unlike Legally Blonde or Sorority Boys, the issues going on with Ashleigh and Casey in ZBZ are ones that we as sorority girls face every day. And it’s fun watching someone else deal with it.

In fact, the show is so spot on that on long breaks away from my sorority, watching “GREEK” has definitely become my home away from home.

BUT let’s not get too excited. Being a member of my school’s Panhellenic board, I have to put my two cents in on this. Sometimes I finish an episode of the show feeling a bit… disappointed. Being in a sorority isn’t nearly as exaggerated as what Greek TV shows make it appear to be. We don’t party 24/7, our housing facilities are definitely not as amazing as those sets, and sorority girls don’t kiss and make up on a daily basis. Hell, most of us don’t fight on a daily basis. Plus, any fraternity house that partied as much as the Omega Chi’s from “GREEK” (or the Animal House guys) would never be tolerated, and the fact that Rebecca Logan got her own single room in the house as a freshman is beyond ridiculous.

But that’s TV entertainment for you. If sorority and fraternity life were portrayed true-to-form on TV, no one would watch. Because a lot of it would be pretty boring. And normal. (Editor’s Note: Which is probably why MTV’s ‘Sorority Life’ and ‘Fraternity Life’ went off the air 9 years ago.) And it would also break down the party girl/drunk boy stereotypes that TV and movies have been setting up for years, and who would want that?

Are shows like GREEK based in reality? Absolutely, but just like The Hills (and Heidi Montag’s boobs), much of the drama is very much exaggerated, while other elements are completely left out. And for the most part, this isn’t a problem. It is entertainment after all. When I’m forced to defend myself, my friends and my sisters across the country when people believe everything they see on TV, though, well, that’s just annoying.

What do you think TV shows are getting right about Greek life, and what are they doing oh so wrong?

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