TV: Freaks and Geeks (Season 1) ***1/2

Cast of 'Freaks and Geeks'


Having seen hundreds of films about American high school kids, their obsession with prom, cheerleaders, geeks, nerds falling for jocks etc, I thought I had seen it all. This is when I came across this little jewel of a series called ‘Freaks and Geeks’. This short lived drama-comedy only lasted one season but obviously like things never appreciated in their time, this series too has gone on to attain a cult status.

Created by Paul Feig (Bridesmaids, The Office, Arrested Development) and produced by Judd Apatow (Anchorman, The 40-Year-Old Virgin, Knocked Up, Pineapple Express) the show creates a believable school environment with characters of great depth, all of whom go beyond the pre-determined caricatures of nerds, freaks and popular kids that we are so used to. The story follows the journey of a teenage girl, Lindsay Weir and her younger brother Sam, who both attend William McKinley High School during the 1980–1981. Lindsay, though an extremely bright student starts hanging out with a group of burn-outs at the beginning of the series in an attempt to find herself. Her brother on the other hand belongs to a group of geeks and is wary of her sister’s new friends and their influence on her. But what I find the most touching are the moments that he shares with his elder sister, sometimes trying to figure out her new life and at other times sharing his own fears and confusions. Those are the moments that really make this series more than just a high school drama.


Cast: 


John Francis Daley and Linda Cardellini (L-R)
Linda Cardellini as Lindsay Weir
The central character in this dramady, Lindsay is very relatable. Dissatisfied with her life as a honor student she steps out of her comfort zone with the expectation of the other world being cooler than hers. But with time she realizes that every person in her new group has a their own battles to fight everyday and even though they come across as cool and strong, they are as confused as any other teenager in the school.

John Francis Daley as Sam Weir
Sam’s character is one of many surprises in the series. He hangs out with his extremely geeky friends playing with toy cars and rockets but struggles to find his space in the school especially since he is infatuated with a cheerleader Cindy. 


Joe Flaherty and Becky Ann Baker


Joe Flaherty as Harold Weir & Becky Ann Baker as Jean Weir
Parents are always caricatures in the minds of their children. Partly because of the fact that the children always see the strong, put together and demanding side of them. In this series, when you see the Weir parents you think you have them figured out as the high-strung, conservative couple. But with time not only are you surprised by their actions but also begin to think of them as somewhat cool. It is during their encounters with Lindsay’s new group of friends that we really see another side to the Weirs, which if not anything else make you wonder how your own parents really are.

                                                       The Geeks

Samm Levine, Martin Starr, John Francis Daley
Samm Levine as Neal Schweiber & Martin Starr as Bill Haverchuck

Neal and Bill are Sam’s best friends and the core members of the Geek group. Neal is the more confident among the three but unfortunately never gets lucky with the ladies. Bill on the other hand is very happy with his life as a geek and very comfortable with his group of friends. Both of them however face challenges with their parent’s love lives and struggle constantly with the aggressive students in the school  


The Freaks 

James Franco, Seth Rogen and Jason Segel (L-R)

James Franco as Daniel Desario

A heartthrob with multiple affairs, Daniel is who attracts Lindsay to this group at first. Daniel’s character is one that we come across in many films but what makes him interesting is his encounters with Lindsay’s orderly world. For me, Daniel’s scenes with Sam and his friends are the most hilarious and interesting because it is like watching a rock star live at your house, with all of his eccentricities and yet finding that there is more to him than a façade of coolness.



Busy Philipps
Busy Philipps as Kim Kelly

Daniel’s girlfriend and a frequent ball buster, Kim’s friendship with Lindsay is one of the most surprising things that happen on the series. Kim and Lindsay are complete opposites in every way but with time Lindsay sees the struggles that Kim has to go through socially at school as well as with her disapproving and insensitive parents.



Jason Segel as Nick Andopolis
Nick is Lindsay’s on again-off again boyfriend who is into drums and weed. While he does provide a lot of comic relief in the series, it is only when he comes in contact with Lindsay’s parents that the real fun starts.

Seth Rogen as Ken Miller
Another member of the group who generally full of sarcasm. We see his softer side only when he falls for one of Lindsay’s friends Amy.


One of the biggest triumphs of the show is the relationship between Sam Weir and the cheerleader Cindy. The moment you see Sam finally get together with the girl of his dreams is the ultimate victory of the ‘nice guy’ that I have seen on screen but it is his unexpected boredom with his hot but uninteresting girlfriend that is more surprising. It is moments like these that make the series very real and funny.

What makes ‘Freaks and Geeks’ very interesting to watch is the fact that it makes different worlds come together, making the character come out of their comfort zones. Creator Paul Feig uses the first few episodes to create a basic character sketch of almost the entire cast and then lets them interact, through realistic situations, breaking any preconceived notions that the audience as well as Lindsay has about everyone that surrounds her. I would recommend the series to almost everyone, especially since it is only 18 episodes only and makes you wonder as to why it is the really good stuff that never gets its due. 

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