Freaks and Geeks: a review

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This short-lived TV show that straddled the turn of the century (1999-2000 ) had been on my radar for a while. When I recently saw that it was available on Netflix, I made a point of giving it a try. Before long, I had binged-watched all 18 episodes of this delightful coming of age exploration of suburban high school life set in the 80’s.

 

 

Wow, as someone who was a nerd in high school during the 80’s, this show took me back – in a good way. The series showcased the Weir siblings, Lindsay (Linda Cardellini) and Sam (John Francis Dailey), as they struggled with the usual teen angst: cliques, bullying, relationships with friends and crushes, academic pursuits, parents, socio-economic status. You name it, it has been done before, but rarely this well. It is a drama with comedic undertones. Written and Produced by Judd Apatow and Paul Feig, Freaks and Geeks featured a stunning before-they-were-famous cast that included James Franco, Seth Rogen, Jason Segel and Busy Philipps.

 

This show wasn’t about beautiful kids with fabulous lives (a la Beverly Hills 90210), just regular high schoolers. It had a thread of kindness and realism. The acting was pretty good and it was really fun to watch the early work of actors, writers, directors and producers who continue to thrive. Despite it being only 18 episodes long, it managed to shine a spotlight on a great ensemble. Many episodes ended without a tidy or moralistic conclusion and that made the show seem more realistic somehow.

If you like coming of age TV, this show is a must see.

 

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