I love the television show Greek. I love its soapy ridiculousness. I love its good natured adoration of ridiculous theme parties and fraternity pranks. The more it (like Cappie) relies on its charm and smarts to help it coast through a television season, the more I love it.

Which is why I can’t wholeheartedly endorse this season’s finale “The End of the World.” One of the things that distinguishes Greek from Gossip Girl is that on Greek, the ante doesn’t have to be continually upped. Things don’t need to get more ridiculous and Dramatic every week. In other words, Serena doesn’t have to kill anybody.

And while the season finale didn’t exactly go to that extreme, it did over-focus on Casey/Cappie/Max dom, which, on top of being predictable, was also a little dull and really off tone for this fun show. Casey and Cappie are at their best when they’re engaged in witty repartee, not melodramatic monologues, and Max is such a good guy (I mean, seriously, he remembered her damn lipstick while he was away!) that I had a hard time enjoying any of the Casey and Cappie stuff before she fully ended things with Max. It was, to quote from the shows parlance, a “douche move” on Casey’s part, and showed disrespect to both Max and Cappie. That being said, Spencer Graham is consistently fantastic as Casey. Her huge eyes near-constantly on the point of bursting into tears all episode, she really helped to undercut the poor decisions and selfishness of Casey all episode.

Some other developments in the Season Finale had me all sorts of happy. Specifically, Ashleigh. Too often, Ashleigh is only a sidekick to Casey’s drama (one need only look at her episode ending perch on a rooftop with Cappie to know that she is often only important in what she can do for Casey). But this episode showed her verbally asskicking Frannie (not quite a roundhouse kick to the face, but still pretty bad ass), and finally, mercifully, telling off Casey for acting like a loser who can’t stand to be alone for five minutes:

Ashleigh: Now you’re someone who sits around pining and making lists and second guessing your choices. God, paging Dr. Grey… no wait you are more like Joey Potter. No you’re worse. You’re the F-word.Casey: Don’t say it.

Ashleigh: Felicity.

Casey: You bitch.

Ashleigh: See? That’s Casey Cartwright. Toughen Up!

While I still wish that Ashleigh would get a more compelling love interest (her current boytoy just seems to show up and tell her how awesome she is and then make out with her for a few moments), it was nice to see some character development in a girl who’s too often shifted to the side to make way for her more melodramatic cohorts.

On top of that, nearly every scene with Dale and Calvin was brilliance tonight. As the two joined a two-man purity pledge (Dale: You’ll be the first gay purity pledge! Calvin: Sure I will…) to keep them from the embrace of their respective tempters, we not only got to see hot Dale-on-Cougar action, but also Dale trying to pretend to be Calvin’s boyfriend. The show continues to thrive on the strength of its subplots.

Cappie and Evan’s budding friendship is also a nice change of pace. There’s no reasons for these two guys to be enemies anymore, and Cappie brings out the absolute best in Evan’s character (even when they were fighting, Evan was never as much fun as when he was trying to out think Cappie).

Exhibit A:

Evan: Great party douchebag.

Cappie: Thanks numbnuts.

Oh yes, Rusty also had a storyline tonight. It turns out all this girlfriend-having, party-throwing, Liberal Arts-exploring has really put a crimp in the resident nerd’s academic style. The show set the groundwork for next season, with Rusty skipping out on a necessary all night study session to go and enjoy the end of the world with Jordan. I find it hard to enjoy this storyline, and although I like the idea of Jordan, I really hope they don’t keep up this “girl or school” dilemma for too long. For one thing, it’s a false choice, and I truly believe Rusty could do both. And for another, it’s basically the same storyline Rusty had all first season between school and the frat, so it already seems stale.

So where does this finale leave us? Max and Frannie are departing, seemingly for good. Cappie better man the hell up and put an actual new development in his epic love story with Casey. Rebecca hasn’t done much more than look hot and help Casey and Ashleigh scheme for about three episodes (or since she was a lesbian). Evan’s enjoying life sans trust fund. Casey might actually have to be (GASP!) alone. Rusty’s facing academic meltdown. Dale’s looking pretty close to breaking that purity pledge. And Calvin? Calvin’s enjoying some ill-advised face sucking with his roommate/frat brother.

Oh CRU. I’ll miss you!