First Timers, What Do You Expect from the Show?
STEENA: I think I expected Freaks and Geeks to be more lighthearted, like That 70’s Show. While there is definitely lots of humor, I was surprised at the amount of angst. I was also surprised at how many tropes the show relied on. And the end, I was very surprised by the end.
HADAS: I completely agree with Steena on the type of humor and the That 70’s Show comparison. Being that this is a Judd Apatow show I expected hilarity and got a bit more awkwardness. It was definitely a worthy watch though, and I kind of wish we got to see more of it. I’m sure there will be a reboot at some point…
Rewatchers, What Surprised You on Rewatch?
ROSA: I have seen this show two times before, once when I was 16, and then again a few years ago, when I was somewhere around 22. For me it’s been fun to see how I view it differently with each rewatch; this time I was surprised to find that I focused a lot more on the Weir parents (despite being nowhere near that place in my own life).
LULU: As a rewatch of a show I watched a long time ago and only have fond memories of, I guess I had a lot of expectations. In a way, it didn’t live up and in a way it superseded. I guess I expected it to be a little more profound and original like I remember it. It didn’t necessarily disappoint, I just think having already seen it, I noticed things the second time around as a nit-picker that I probably never noticed or would never have noticed in a first watch. What pleasantly surprised me as a rewatch is that I realized how well-thought out and organized the show was. I guess it shouldn’t really surprise me, being such an Apatow fan that he’s an expert at his craft, it’s just that there were a few “Potter” moments that I only realized in the second watch.
Were There Any Topical References You Didn’t Get?
STEENA: I didn’t get all of the political references. That period in American history is probably my weakest, so I was a little confused about some of the presidential references.
ROSA: There are lots of the geek references I don’t always catch. Some of them I looked up, but a lot of them I probably didn’t even notice. And like Steena, my knowledge of American History at this time is lacking, but I didn’t look it up either; I felt like I knew enough to follow the story, and since I am from another country, I’m used to not knowing everything.
LULU: Can’t remember anything too specific, but though I understood most of the pop culture references, I didn’t recognise all of the music, movie, or TV references.
HADAS: Same as above. All of Nick’s music references were lost on me. I knew of the bands, but couldn’t understand the nuances of what he was trying to say when he talked about them.
Which Group Did You Identify with Most?
Freaks, Geeks, Parents, or Adults?
STEENA: During high school, I was definitely part of whatever group Millie is in. The straight-laced, study hard, Christian group. It’s a little embarrassing thinking back actually. I had a heavy dose of the Geeks thrown in but my experience was not like Sam, Neil, and Bill‘s because I was homeschooled and so only had some interaction with other cliques.
ROSA: If I’d had any friends at school at their age, I would probably have identified with the Geeks, but I was very much alone in my uncoolness. So for me, definitely Lindsay! I did get friends when I was 15, and they were the school’s Freaks. I always remained a good, hardworking student, so I didn’t act exactly like Lindsay did, but in breaks and after school I would hang with them. This many years after, I still have no idea why they wanted to hang out with me, lol.
LULU: I identified with certain people at certain times. In high school, I was one of those people who was sort of friends with everyone. But I definitely had some moments when I identified with Lindsay. I was a mathlete and I used to hang out with a similar group of stoner-type “Freaks,” but it was a much different dynamic. I was actually known as the Cigarette Nazi, even among friends because even though I hung out with kids that smoked and did drugs, they knew I was totally against it, yet the relationship worked anyway. I also identified at certain points with Jean, especially in The Diary. I’ve been with my husband for almost 8 years now. We both work full time and we have a toddler and a dog. It can sometimes be difficult to change up routines and do interesting, exciting things. Sometimes it’s a bit depressing since we had a super fun, exciting and adventurous few years together at the beginning of our relationship, but now we’re old and boring…
HADAS: I feel like I was a Freak because I didn’t fit into a specific crowd, but I was definitely not as confident or cool. Hoping I wasn’t as socially awkward as the Geeks.
“I know I can trust you with this because we’re lab partners.” – Cindy
“Laughter is the ultimate aphrodisiac.” – Harris
ROSA: I love everything Jean Weir says, because Becky Ann Baker’s voice and way of speaking makes everything hilarious. Pretty much everything Bill Haverchuck says. Some of my favorites being:
“You cut me off mid-funk!”
“I’m a bionic woman” and
“You suck, Dallas rules!”
LULU: Essentially anything ever said by Mr. Rosso or Harold Wier. But just some specifics:
“Ok. Tell you what. Why don’t I just visit you then in the prison, where you’ll be living, and give you some really good advice, like, y’know, should you get shanked in the yard or in the dining hall? When you have your baby, which prison guard should take care of it? That kind of thing. That’d be a great way to do my job, don’t ya think? ” – Rosso
“I. Have. Herpes. It doesn’t hurt that much, but believe me, you don’t want it. ” – Rosso
“You know who else didn’t go to college?… Frank” “The guy who pumps my gas” – Rosso
“I had a friend who used to smoke. You know where he is now? He’s dead!” – Harold Wier
“We always give chocolates to my grandma when she gets on the bus. we also put her name on her shirt in case she gets lost.” – Bill
“I thought I may be gay and I thought you’d be a good person to talk to because you’re gay” – Ken to Mr. Rosso
HADAS: My favorite is purely for relatability. Lindsay is hanging out with the Freaks and she keeps suggesting things to do until Kim becomes fed up because Lindsay doesn’t know how to just chill without a plan.
“Why are you so hung up on doing something?” Kim to Lindsay
Favorite or Least Favorite Characters
STEENA: Bill is without a doubt my favorite. It’s the Bionic Woman costume that did it for me.
ROSA: Bill Haverchuck, because he is funny and awkward, but mostly because he seems to be the only one not embarrassed by being a Geek.
Jean, just because.
I will have to say Lindsay, too. But mostly because I identify with her so much, and she was really important to me, when I was 16 and watched it for the first time because I was right there with her.
LULU: By far Nick. I just feel like he’s the most genuinely real character. Like his character is most closely based on a real person without the caricature aspects most TV show characters have. I do have to say though that Bill and Mr. Rosso are close behind.
Least favorite – Lindsay. She really just pisses me off. For someone who’s supposed to be so super smart, she made the absolute stupidest decisions. I didn’t even feel like her reasoning would have come from an intelligent person. She was just a really dumb sheep. Also, her acting left something to be desired #sorrynotsorry
HADAS: Bill Haverchuk. That acting was perfect! He was so stereotypically geeky with his facial expressions, posture, and voice. Man, so good. I also really wanted to be Maureen’s friend. She was so nice!
STEENA: Tricks and Treats (left above). I know Freaks and Geeks is set in 1980 and I wasn’t born until 1987 but the Halloween episode was really nostalgic for me. All of the hyper concern over razor blades in apples and only handing out pre-wrapped candy was still going on when I was a youngster trick or treating. I also felt this episode had some of the best family dynamics for the Weir’s.
ROSA: Tricks and Treats, even though we don’t celebrate Halloween, this episode was just so nostalgic and heartbreaking for me. First because of Jean. Second, when Sam gets egged (been there), and mostly because it’s his older sister doing it (the little sister in me is weeping, I can honestly not imagine anything worse).
Dead Dogs and Gym Teachers. In the beginning of the episode when Bill gets home, makes himself some food (WHAT IS THAT?!), and watches his favorite show, laughing along and looking happy – that is my absolute favorite moment of the entire show, because it reminds me so much of my younger self; I absolutely hated school, and the only thing that made it bearable was knowing that I could go home later to my favorite show or book.
LULU: The Diary (right above). I just found so many interesting and relatable character and plot dilemmas. There was a lot going on for a lot of the characters – it was just really fun in a weird way.
Smoking and Toking also – Lindsay and Millie’s relationship was fun to watch in that one. Especially how Millie wasn’t fooled about how Lindsay felt about her even though Lindsay seemed confused herself. It was also one of the rare moments in the show when I felt Lindsay acted well. She played high pretty convincingly which was a change for her acting throughout the series.
HADAS: The Diary. The Lindsay/parents plot was great, but the Bill plot was the best thing ever. The impression montage made me laugh so hard. Neil was awesome at it. Besides the funny parts of that, I loved the interaction between Coach Frederickson and Bill. Coach F was so compassionate to Bill’s complaint and he actually changed up the next day’s class to give Bill what he asked for. It made me really tingly.
ROSA: – I always felt like Nick was the only one of the characters who didn’t get a proper ending, and I feel so, so bad for him. It’s a comfort we all know he went to college and met Lily Aldrin and never looked back, right? (I actually heard once that he was offered the role of Marshall based on Nick in F&G, but I haven’t been able to confirm this?).
– I loved when Daniel played D&D, would have LOVED to see more of that! (We would have, too, if the second season had been made).
– I always wondered how much longer the Geeks would have stayed together; Bill seemed to be the only one not wanting to be someone else. Which is funny, considering they would have made him a jock in the second season – kinda glad we didn’t get to see that, although I would have liked to see more of him and Coach Fredricks.
LULU: One of my favorite pastimes is recognising and pointing out actors in TV and movies. I am actually one of the most annoying people to watch anything with because of this. Freaks and Geeks is endlessly entertaining for me because of this. Some actors got their starts: Rashida Jones and Lizzy Kaplan, among, of course, the rest of the cast. Some other great spottings: Shia Lebouf who played the mascot and Alexander Gould (Weeds) who played the little kid Lindsay babysat for.
Some randomly awesome cameos: Ben Stiller, Jason Schwartzman, and of course, in Apatow spirit, Leslie Mann. PLUS, how great is it that Coach Fredricks is freaking BIFF from Back to the Future?! And just one last note – Sam Wier as Sweets in Bones has not changed one freaking bit!
What Are YOUR Thoughts on Freaks and Geeks? Post them in a comment to let us know!
This post is part of a special series of TV show Rewatches by the girls behind Common Room. Check them out!
Featured Image- IGN, Full House, Lindsay Beautiful Body, Freaks Promo, Geeks Promo, Costumed Weir Parents, Mr. Rosso, Coach Fredricks, Cindy, Harold Weir, Bill Bionic, Harris, Bill Haverchuk, Jean Weir , Lindsay Weir, Mr. Rosso, Nick Andopolis, Alexander Gould, Lizzy Caplan, Shia Lebouf, Rashida Jones, Ben Foster, Tricks and Treats, Diary