Freaks & Geeks
I wasn’t sure if I should post my review of the fantastic Freaks & Geeks here or just link to it, so I decided to post it here because, well, where’s the harm.
Wow. I can’t believe I missed this. I mean, sure, it came out in 1999 when I was but a fresh-faced 12 year old, but I’ve had 9 years to cotton on to it. I’m ashamed. I should hand in my Geek Card. And my Freak Card. Because not having seen Freaks & Geeks is fucking criminal.
This is especially the case if you’re a fan of the Judd Apatow brand of comedy, from Knocked Up to Superbad (a modern, feature-length version of Freaks & Geeks in many ways). If you’ve ever caught an episode of How I Met Your Mother and liked the tall, goofy guy, you owe it to yourself to check out Freaks & Geeks.
Why am I writing this little review? Because I wish I’d read one like it years ago.
So, Freaks & Geeks. What’s it about? What’s it like? It’s about high school. That just about sums it up, without doing it justice at all. It embodies the awkward, clique-ridden hidden world of high school, it portrays teenage life, and it is so goddamn realistic it hurts.
It is driven by the experiences of Lindsay Weir (Linda Cardellini) and her younger brother Sam (John Francis Daley). Lindsay is a geek transitioning to a freak, initially by way of a crush on Daniel Desario, played by James Dean lookalike James Franco. His ‘Freak’ friends include Ken (Seth Rogen), Nick (Jason Segel), and his on-again-off-again girlfriend Kim (Busy Phillips). The series chronicles her attempts to fit in with them and separate herself from her geeky past while balancing schoolwork with her social life. It also follows Sam and his ‘Geek’ friends, Bill (Martin Starr) and Neal (Samm Levine). I found most of the humour to be found in certain ‘pockets’, such as Lindsday and Sam’s interactions with their parents, everyone’s interactions with the school guidance councilor Jess Rosso (Dave ‘Gruber’ Allen), and Bill just being, well, Bill. The show doesn’t rely on its humor, though. It is poignant and meaningful, and connects with you by sheer force of relatability and realism. You went through this stuff, you know these people, and you can identify.
A lot of my friends even liked the same bands through high school. Oh yeah, did I mention that it’s set in 1980? No? I didn’t? That’s because it doesn’t matter. It’s that universal. But like I said, me and my friends were into The Who and Zeppelin in high school, so a lot of the musical references still rang true.
It’d be impossible to go through every reason why F&G is must-watch, and it’d probably ruin it too. I just have to say that it is brilliantly written, directed, and acted, and has instantly leapt into my ‘Favourite TV Shows of All Time’ list. Oh yeah, I have a list. It’s a mental one. Maybe some day I’ll write it down. Anyway, see Freaks & Geeks. Buy it on DVD, or watch it online. Just watch it. You won’t regret it. You might even thank me.