An Ode to ‘Freaks and Geeks’

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On September 25th, 1999 Freaks and Geeks premiered on the NBC network to praise and critical acclaim for its originality and off-beat blend of teenage drama and humor. The pilot received high ratings but were not enough to keep the momentum going. Eighteen episodes were completed, but the series was canceled after only twelve.

Freaks and Geeks centers on a teenage girl, Lindsay Weir (Linda Cardellini), and her younger brother Sam (John Francis Daley) who attend William McKinley High School during the the 1980’s school year.

On one side of the coin, it tells a story about Lindsay who witnessed her beloved grandmother passing away. After that moment, she goes from being a smart, young, mathelete who hung out with overachieving peers to ex-mathelete; abandoning her friends to hang out with the “freaks” of the school. These “freaks” are portrayed by well-known actors: James Franco, Jason Segel, Seth Rogan, and Busy Philipps. Throughout the show, Lindsay struggles to gain independence from her parents as well as gain acceptance from her newfound friends.

On the other side of the coin, the show tells the story of Sam Weir who hangs out with his two best friends, played by  actors Samm Levine and Martin Starr. Weir & his comrades are known as the “geeks” in school and throughout the series they attempt to fit in with the rest of crowd while still maintaining their sense of self. Sam’s life consists of  bullying, attempting to understand teenage girls, and finding a balance between growing up and maintaining innocence.

Though the show didn’t last one full season, it gained a major cult following. Since its cancellation, it as been syndicated for various cable networks, sold on DVD, and finally released with the original 18 episodes. The show’s success rests with creators Judd Apatow and Paul Feig. This show is a testament to the web of successful producers, writers, and directors being behind projects such as 40 Year Old Virgin, Knocked Up, and Superbad. These films and others have starred the show’s then young actors of Freaks and Geeks, especially Seth Rogen & Jason Segel. You can see most of the cast come together again in the upcoming comedy film, This Is The End.

Here are a series of original promos for the show that were released with the DVD special:

In the history of television, there have been shows that have made a lasting impact in shaping the culture of today. Some of these shows lasted many seasons, while others were simply gone too soon.

When I think of 1999, I think of Spongebob Squarepants changing the course of cartoons along with being a young Star Wars fan excited to see Episode 1: The Phantom Menace.

It wasn’t until a couple of years ago, when a friend of mine said “man, Freaks and Geeks was a great show”. I also recall Seth Rogan mentioning it in a few interviews as the show where he got his big break. I was looking around when I saw the show was on Netflix one weekend. I devoured the show in a couple of nights and immediately afterwards thought to myself:

I easily put it up there as one of my personal favorites as well one of the most important television shows of all time.

Explaining the teenage experience and all its trivial complexities is not easy to do. It’s even harder to make it captivating without being a bit confusing. That sense of confusion is what made the show work. The plot wasn’t confusing or hard to follow, nor was it overly complex. The characters’ dialogue  and how they interact with one another is shown using confusion of how the characters honestly felt about themselves and the world around them. The struggle of overcoming insecurities and finding a place in the world is delivered so honestly in the show that it makes it relatable even to the popular jock. Even the cheerleader’s kids will understand the importance of the show. I can go on for days but instead I encourage you take a peak for yourself and celebrate the legacy of this show’s brief moment in time forever.

SOURCES: SolidCorn Youtube Channel, Canuck21 Youtube Channel

About the Author

Born and raised in Los Angles, CA this young and ambitious Marketing Major, Religious Studies Minor has big ideas for the Entertainment Industry. With emphasis on Music & Fashion, she hopes through writing to gain a better sense of open & fresher perspectives along with navigating her aspirations to come to light. To get to know different sides of her you can follow her tumblr (http://curiousmice.tumblr.com/) or on twitter, @KamriaSaysHi

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One response

  1. […] An Ode to ‘Freaks and Geeks’ (motionpictureplanet.wordpress.com) […]

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