Hidden Gem – Freaks And Geeks


Hidden Gem – A film TV series from the recent past you might have overlooked or didn’t know about, but you should check it out.

Freaks and Geeks is a comedy released in 1999-2000. The show centres around two siblings in high school during the early 1980s, older sister Lindsay Weir is struggling to find her self and makes a new group of friends, the freaks, they skip classes and smoke, whereas younger brother Sam is one of the geeks.

Created by Paul Feig and Judd Apatow, who would later re-team to make the successful comedy Bridesmaids.  Freaks And Geeks is a teen drama with plenty of comedy, but what makes Freaks And Geeks stand out amongst other teen shows is that it is so funny, and that a lot of the stories are based on real things that happened to Paul Feig and co in real life.

A big part of the show is also the music, Van Halen, The Who, Grateful Dead are just a few featured, there are at least 3 songs in each episode and they really enhance each scene they are featured in.  I never  get bored with the opening credits either.

The cast is pretty recognisable now, but this was the first thing they had all been featured in. You know Seth Rogen and James Franco. But there is also Jason Segel from How I Met Your Mother.

Busy Philips who is best known for being best friends with Michelle Williams, that’s why she was front row at this years Oscars.

Martin Starr has been in a lot of small roles and is currently in an HBO show called Silicon Valley I have never seen it so can’t tell you if its any good.

Linda Cardellini was in ER for seven years and more importantly Velma in the Scooby Doo movies.

John Francis Daley was in Bones for about seven seasons and is now a writer, having recently co-writing Spider-Man Homecoming.

Samm Levine hasn’t done much you’ll recognise him from, Inglourious Basterds  most likely.

There is enough drama that you care for the characters, what happens to them and laugh with them (and sometimes at them). It also gets the feeling of being a teenager just right, the embarrassment, the isolation, getting to know who you are, it hits the tone just right.

There is usually a Freaks And Geeks link or two between Judd Apatow movies to spot,  once you get familar with the cast. There are also plenty of little cameos in  Freaks And Geeks too, Lizzy Caplan, Rashida Jones, Ben Foster, Ben Stiller, even Biff from Back To The Future. 

That brings us to Bill Haverchuck, possibly one of the greatest characters created for television in the past 30 years, his glasses are thick, he isn’t good at sports but he is honest, knows himself and he dresses up as the Bionic Woman for Halloween. There is also the ‘cutting the cheese’ episode and the grilled cheese sandwich scene, captured perfectly in this AV Club article.    

So check out  Freaks And Geeks, love it and feel the ache of disappointment when you realise you have watched all 18 episodes.  The are on Netflix now too.

PS the sort of follow up show, set in college in 2001 is nowhere near as good. Fact.