Since Greek premiered in 2007 on ABC Family (now Freeform), fans of the dramedy set within the Greek system at a fictional Ohio university have been divided into two camps: Team Cappie or Team Evan. Cappie, embodied by Scott Michael Foster in a quintessential late 2000s-emo shag haircut, is a slacker and partier who brings out the fun side of the show's protagonist, Casey Cartwright (Spencer Grammer). Evan (Jake McDorman), meanwhile, as the son of a wealthy businessman, represents structure and a bright future, and he forces Casey to think about her goals. Depending on what you want to see from Casey determines which team you were on. But during my first Greek rewatch since the show went off the air in 2011, I realized I am not on either team, because the actual best boyfriend for Casey is Max (Michael Rady).
Max is introduced in Season 2 of Greek, after a full season of Casey dating Evan and viewers being indoctrinated into the never-ending love triangle that exists between them and Cappie. Max is the RA for Casey's younger brother Rusty (Jacob Zachar), and the two meet when Casey is visiting him in the Cypress Rhodes dorms. Max, a polymer science graduate student, is more driven than Evan and not distracted by the existential crisis that comes with being the heir to a multi-billion-dollar conglomeration. And like Cappie, he knows how to have fun (even if it's often nerdy fun). However, Max doesn't let this distract him from actually having a plan for his life.
Max is initially hesitant to get involved with Casey because his last serious relationship ended when his girlfriend died. After a few awkward missteps, he's up front with her about why he's been cagey but admits that he wants to give their potential relationship a shot, and he really does try. It's clear that Max doesn't fit Casey's usual type, aka a stereotypical fraternity guy, but he shows up when Casey asks him to show up (unlike Cappie) and is there to support Casey without an agenda of his own (looking at you, Evan). How many guys would memorize the names of every girl in a sorority and their hobbies just to help his new girlfriend win her bid for sorority president? The number is low, my friends.
Max-haters might be quick to bring up the fact that he dove in way too quickly with Casey and that his decision to secretly decline a graduate position at Caltech to stay at Cypress Rhodes to be with someone he'd only been dating a few weeks was intense. However, Max took full accountability for that choice, and when Casey decided to leave for her internship in Washington, D.C. that summer, he didn't try to stop her. He kept the Caltech opportunity to himself because he didn't want to pressure Casey, but when things started getting serious between them after she returned, he came clean because he understood that no relationship could survive with that kind of secret. Um, can we get a round of applause for this mature decision-making, please?
Now, he did throw the Caltech decision in her face during a fight about what movie they should see one night, but he immediately apologized and acknowledged it was an unfair thing to do. This led to a deeper conversation about their relationship and where each of them stood emotionally. When Casey admitted she wasn't as far along as Max was, he understood and agreed to slow down. But Casey wasn't just behind Max in her feelings, she was still in love with someone else, and her lack of self-awareness caused a really great relationship to crumble and a great guy to get hurt.
It's understandable that Casey wasn't 100 percent sure of who she was or what she wanted — that's what college is for, to figure all of that out. But when you watch the series, it's baffling to see how obvious of a catch Max is and have him play second fiddle to Cappie or Evan. He was not only aware of and in control of his feelings, but he was honest about them, even if they were complicated or at times problematic. He was always willing to have a conversation and figure things out with Casey, which can't be said for either of her other paramours. More importantly, Max understood when Casey was confused or needed time or space, and he gave it to her. He was supportive of her dreams. The fact that a month-long work trip to England was enough to derail everything they built is just sad.
Casey eventually ends up with Cappie, which seemed fitting and romantic during my original watch of the series, when I was also in my early twenties and finishing college. Cappie represented a sense of carpe diem that was appealing at that time in my life. Rewatching the show as an adult, though, what's actually romantic is the idea of someone who is supportive and stable. I can't help but wonder what might have been had Casey dealt with her Cappie feelings in real time and been emotionally available to give Max serious consideration. As we get older and gain more life experience, the rose-colored glasses come off, and we start getting more practical. Don't get me wrong, Max is still fantasy material. He is a hot nerd dream boy, with real prospects that he earns on his own merit. But he is also sensitive, supportive, and downright chivalrous at times. And if Casey doesn't want him, can I have him?
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