Thursday, October 4, 2012

Netflix Review: Freaks and Geeks

The freaks. L to R - Daniel Desario (James Franco) Kim Kelly (Busy Phillips), Ken Miller (Seth Rogen), Lindsay Weir (Linda Cardellini), and Nick Andopolis (Jason Segel)
Only airing 14 episodes, but a true cultural landmark that launched the careers of Jason Segel, James Franco, Seth Rogen, and Judd Apatow, Freaks and Geeks (1999 - 2000) is a pleasure to be savored. Paul Feig wrote the whole series while driving cross-country trying to sell his new film at that know the one called...something or other. Oh how funny life can be because his scribblings soon became a television landmark with a loyal underground following.
It is the first show to utilize high school aged actors playing high schoolers, and also perhaps the first show to reflect the ideology of hat later became the slacker generation, starting way back in 1980. In 1980, disco sucked, 8-track tapes were in every house, and Mark Zuckerberg was 4 years from being born. It was a very different time, and seems further away from our generation than say the 50's. Perhaps that's why the show had such an unimaginably short run, because it was so authentic to its time and atmosphere that it was completely irrelevant to us, the idiots.
The Geeks on Halloween. L - R: Neal Schweiber (Samm Levine), Harris  Stephen Lea Sheppard (Harris Trinsky), Sam Weir (John Francis Daley) and Bill Haverchuck (Martin Starr) as the bionic woman.
But let's talk about the almost all-male cast...and Linda Cardellini who hasn't been relevant since (poor girl). It's hard to feel sorry for someone who was the the real life Sarah Marshall; Jason Segel really got ahead on that whole public opinion front, but she was a feisty, sarcastic, plain-ish girl next door. But I never really found her any kind of interesting so, moving on.
John Francis Daley, the pre-pubescent androgynous actor who now has now carved out a nice little niche for himself writing successfully crude comedies like Horrible Bosses (2011) is the most adorable thing in the world and has grown up to be the hottest man this side of too-hot-to-be-straight-shire. He plays Linda Cardellini's brother, Sam Weir (she plays Lindsay Weir btdubs).
The Freaks of the show are composed of James Franco, Seth Rogen, and Jason Segel, but don't worry they're not freaks in the sense that we see them; as Oxycontin-addicted pseudo-gothic motherfuckers who drive 20-year-old Dodge Darts, and speak in iambic pentameter. They're just some Sabbath-obsessed burnouts who have never gotten an A on anything. They are Lindsay's friends slash love-interests...for the most part. And quite honestly it's hard to cast a 21 year old James Franco in anything where he's not a love interest...I don't care if it's opposite a sofa, that's the part he's going to play.
The Geeks are Sam's friends. All freshmen, they painfully make their way through this waking nightmare we call high school in the 80's, or high school in general, as it really hasn't changed much. Neal Schweiber (Samm Levine) and Bill Haverchuck (Martin Starr) are the ridiculously geeky individuals that are in everyone's high school. There's the Jewish, too-hairy-for-his-age, over-achieving, chubber who doesn't really understand social norms in an almost autistic way, and then there's the point-of-no-return geek who's always been too tall even as a baby, wears thick rimmed glasses that take up his whole face, and doesn't speak except to express his disdain with any given situation.
Mr. Rosso the guidance counselor, who even though looked exactly like Edgar Winter, you still kind of crushed on.
 It's basically a perfect show, with something or someone everyone can relate to, and what's most devastating about it is it's honestly which is at times both hilarious and cruel. And it's totally original. It's my favorite show of that whole era. Watch the whole first season without stopping, it's kind of hard not to. Also, Both the Freaks and the Geeks remind me of guys that I dated while I was in high school. Every single one of them...Even Stephen Lea Sheppard...yup I went there. And Dave 'Gruber' Allen as Mr. Rosso...yep went there I didn't.

Below, the intro.

Below, the infamous dodgeball scene.

Below, a hilarious scene from the non-alcoholic party episode. It's my favorite.

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