Friday, November 9, 2012

Freaks and Geeks

Freaks and Geeks

I just finished Freaks and Geeks and I think I'm a little heart broken as I always am after finishing something really good whether it's a movie, TV show, or book.  I don't feel ready to leave that world yet.

What's really fantastic about Freaks and Geeks are the characters.  They feel so real; they don't always make the best decisions even though you really hope that they do.  Everyone's a little lost, and I like how the show really took it's time with the characters.  You're still learning something new about each of them as the show goes on, and it's a pleasure to watch the relationships between the characters grow and change.  I don't think I've had a character grow on me as much as Kim Kelly (Busy Phillips) did since Logan Echolls from Veronica Mars.  The characters also don't behave as you expect them to and it just makes them all the more human.  I particularly liked the scene below where one of the freaks, Nick, does something unexpected when one of the nerds starts singing a religious song at a party.

Freaks and Geeks is about Lindsay Weir (Linda Cardellini), a smart high school student who used to be a mathelete but starts hanging out with the "freaks" or the "burnouts" and her brother Sam (John Frances Daley) who is a geek but wants to be cooler.  The other freaks include Daniel Desario the bad boy (James Franco), Nick (Jason Segel) the dreamer, Kim the bossy one, and Ken (Seth Rogen) the sarcastic one.  The geeks included Bill (Martin Starr) and Neal (Samm Levine).

It's hard to pick out a single great performance because everyone in this is really fantastic.  I don't think I ever fully understood the appeal of James Franco before this show...but now I do.  He comes of as one of those impossibly cool guys from high school but as the show progresses and as Lindsay gets to know him better, she learns that he's also kind of lost and directionless just like everyone is.

Cardellini is fantastic as Lindsay.  She's the heart of the show and grounds it.  She makes Lindsay a relatable protagonist you really root for.  It's a joy seeing her become more confident and outspoken.    I think that in some ways had Lindsay been portrayed less aptly, she could have easily come off as annoying and unsympathetic.

Starr as Bill, the shy nerd who loves TV is another standout.  He's probably my favorite of the nerds and has some of the *best* moments of the show including the scene below:

One other aspect of the show I really appreciated was how they depicted the nerds.  They really show the broad spectrum of nerds.  Some of the nerds like Sam and Neal are interested in joining the cool crowd while Bill and Gordon know where they stand and are content with it.  There's also Harris who's the rare breed of nerd that you hardly ever see depicted in fiction: he's confident and totally content with his geekiness.

1 comment:

  1. It really makes me happy to read this post, Mace! This is one of my all-time favorite shows. I first saw it on TV back in 2000 and rewatched it during college, and then again in 2011 when they showed it on IFC. This is pretty unusual for me because I usually don't like to watch series again especially not 3 times. But I don't think I'll ever get tired of watching this show.

    One of the most memorable episodes for me is the Halloween one. I love the Geeks so much in this episode especially Bill. They were so enthusiastic about dressing up and trick-or-treating even though people thought they were too old. Too bad things didn't turn out quite so well.

    After that one, my next favorite definitely is the Party episode. There were so many great moments in that one from the Millie singing scene to the whole beer switcheroo!

    Overall, I'm torn between wishing there were more seasons and just liking the show the way it is.