College freshman Steve Karp, his girlfriend and their fellow dorm-mates embark on one the greatest experiences of their lives...unfortunately for Steve, his lonely and recently divorced father is tagging along for the ride.
It's the 1980s and at McKinley High, there's two different groups of teenagers, the Freaks with cool and charismatic Daniel Desario and tomboy Lindsay Weir and the Geeks with Lindsay's shy younger brother Sam, gentle Bill Haverchuck, and self-proclaimed ladies' man Neal Schweiber. The show chronicles the normal teen/adolescence problems any teenager goes through including acceptance, drugs, drinking, and bullying. Written by
Corey Semple (Hairsprayer07)
The teen years are already hard to swallow without all the other consistent pressure of growing up. However, most shows don't represent this properly--or they portray "beautiful people" as the troubled group. "Freaks and Geeks" blows that completely out of the water, and depicts the lives in two unique fringe groups--square geeks and lowly freaks, and their trials and tribulations, as they work to gain acceptance from their unfair peers in an unfair environment--high school.
In 1980 suburban Michigan, Lindsay Weir (Linda Cardellini) is a perfect student--a Mathlete, brilliant, promising. Her grandmother death floors her, and sends Lindsay into a tailspin. She drops the Mathletes and ditches her bookish ways to become a freak--though she is still a smart one. Meanwhile, her brother, Sam (John Francis Daley) is beginning his freshman year with his friends, Bill Haverchuck (Martin Starr) and Neal Schweiber (Samm Levine), and the boys are immediately thrown into the geek group.
I am a 20-year old college sophomore, and when this show premired in September 1999, I was a junior in high school. I was also unfortunate never to see this show during its initial run, because I was not home when it aired. I remember "Freak and Geeks" being placed in death knell time slots on Saturday and Monday nights, and saying to myself "NBC isn't giving this show a chance." It didnt--"Freaks and Geeks" was cancelled after only 4 months, and several episodes did not make it to air. I was largely disappointed, because I had good intentions on watching this show, and was never home to do so. Much to my luck, ABC Family began airing the reruns, so I taped one to watch. The first episode I saw, "Looks and Books," was hysterical. Recently, I saw the episode with the tuba girl, and this past weekend I saw "Chokin' and Tokin'," where Lindsay smokes potent marijuana that Nick gave her, and Bill accidentally eats a peanut that was jokingly put on his sandwich during lunch. That was the best of the three I've seen.
I attended high school between September 1997 and June 2001, and the school was majority (99%) white, and centrally located in suburban southern New Jersey. My high school had several distinct groups in its structured hiarchy: the jocks, the smart kids, the preps, the in-betweeners, the geeks, and the freaks.
Our freaks were goths--they wore black, clamped dog chains around their necks, wore fishnet shirts underneath t-shirts, dyed their hair weird colors, and were controversial figures--they often wore black trenchcoats and hated everyone who wasn't them. They were burnouts who took classes in the D-Wing, which was where all the woodshop, graphic arts, and special education classes were. In other words, if you were a D-Winger, you weren't the best of students, and were placed there because you were not a productive member of the student body.
Meanwhile, our geeks enrolled in computer science classes, and played role-playing card games in lunch. The geeks were impatient with everyone who didn't understand them, and they always worked as tutors. Basically, I refused to get tutoring for math because of them.
I, on the other hand, was not a geek nor a freak. I was an in-betweener--I got good grades but couldn't compete with the smart kids, well-dressed but not cool enough to be a prep, definitely not of geek appeal, and frightened of anything the freaks did (seriously, they used to stare at anyone who wasn't them). I could relate to Lindsay--I was constantly looking for acceptance, but I got by (I've been better off since I started college). This show portrayed teen angst the way it was mean to be portrayed--among the groups that feel the wrath of high school. Too many times have movies and television shows depicted the angst among the beautiful, smart, rich kids--what do they have to be angry about? It's the rest of us that fought for acceptance. The in-betweeners worked just as hard as everyone else, but our individuality kept us out of the respectible groups.
When I first saw this show, I saw distinctions right away, and similarities to my own school years. I also saw something in Lindsay--I knew she's grow out of the funk she was in once she grew up, and I knew she would do ok with herself. I liked the geeks because they always had something funny to say, especially Sam, who was reduced to stammering "Oh, hi Cindy" every time he saw her. Neal was the one who tried to be cool, but his geekiness held him back. Bill, thankfully, didn't look like anybody I went to school with, although that would have been funny. I also love the time period it takes place in--1980. What's not to love about the '80s???
This is a brilliant that was never recognized. Thankfully, the reruns were resurrected, so those of us who missed it the first time can see it now. I'm really liking this show, and I tape it every time its on (again, I miss the reruns because "Saturday Night Live" is on, and nothing comes between me and "Saturday Night Live"). If you get the chance, and have ABC Family. check this show out--it's 60 minutes of something we can all relate to.
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