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Freaks and Geeks

Freaks and Geeks is probably tied with My So-Called Life for ‘most beloved one season show of the 90’s’. There isn’t really one specific reason why it’s so great, it’s got everything going for it: the acting is good, the writing is good, the characters are relatable, the situations are realistic, and it takes place in 1980 so there’s lots of clothing choices to laugh at. And unlike a lot of movies or tv shows that are modern period pieces, they don’t go out of their way to smack you over the head with pop culture references. And even though it’s mostly regarded as a comedy, the overall feel of the show is very muted. The crew actually lit the scenes with green tinted lights to give them a muted, ‘midwestern’ look and they avoided shooting outside as much as possible so the sunny California weather didn’t contrast with it too much.

Freaks and Geeks is about the lives of two groups of students at a high school in a small town in Michigan. Lindsay is a girl who has gone from geek to wanna-be freak, and her brother Sam is a total geek. The show mostly centers around them, but it is an ensemble cast so we get plenty of back story on the other kids. Lindsay has the hots for the cute freak, and even though she clearly struggles with being ‘bad’ she goes along with a lot of stuff to impress him. Which is weird because he has a girlfriend. Sam is in love with a cheerleader and also tries to impress her, but that just ends in him being embarrassed repeatedly.

One episode that I really relate to is the episode where Sam freaks out because his gym class is told that after class showers are now mandatory. he’s a really short, skinny kid so of course he’s self-conscious about getting naked in front of the other guys. I remember when we did the tour of my junior high and I saw the showers, I thought of every embarrassing high school shower scene i’d ever seen a movie and started freaking out. Luckily, I quickly found out that no one showered after gym and even if we wanted to, the teacher gave us less than ten minutes to change. And no one ever ripped off my clothes and pushed me out into the hall!

My favorite character is Nick, because look at this guy. Jason Segel plays obsessive characters a lot and he does it really well, and he’s nice at the same time so you kind of want to root for him to get the girl even though he’s kind of creepy about it.

Freaks and Geeks never stood a chance, it started out on Saturday nights and was often preempted for other programming. They actually shot the finale halfway through the season because they didn’t even expect to get past the original 13 episodes, but NBC ordered another five before cancelling it. They received lots of critical acclaim and even won an Emmy, and the show has a huge following. The only thing I find disappointing is that there wasn’t a ten year reunion movie! What the hell! Judd Apatow is rich, everyone on the show got really famous, they totally could’ve gotten the money to make it!

In case you don’t recognize the people above, starring Linda Cardellini (ER, Scooby Doo, Mad Men), John Francis Daley (Bones, Waiting), James Franco (Spiderman, Milk, General Hospital), Busy Philipps (Dawson’s Creek, ER, Cougar Town), Jason Segel (How I Met Your Mother, Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Slackers), Seth Rogen (Knocked Up, Zack and Miri, The League), Samm Levine (Inglorious Basterds, Not Another Teen Movie), Martin Starr (Adventureland, Party Down, Veronica Mars movie), plus cameos from everyone to Joel Hodgson (MST3k) to Ben Stiller.

Menu time! Lindsay’s mom is such a good cook that it’s hard to choose one entree, so take your pick. No peanuts are present anywhere!

Entree: Skip the three way date and go straight for the ribs, comfort a hysterical teenage girl with seitan (not veal, ew) piccata, invite your mom over for some Monster Mash shepherd’s pie and maybe to help her hand out candy in dorky costumes, or enjoy Bill’s mom’s pot roast.
Side dish: relive the 80’s by boiling the shit out of any vegetable you want!
Dessert: make some vegan donuts for your French class, and then let people eat them off the floor. Or just make the donuts.

posted: September 16, 2014
under: 90s, comedy, kid friendly, period piece, teen, tv shows
6 Comments on Freaks and Geeks

Don’t Trust the B (seasons 1 & 2)

Don’t Trust the B is in my top five ‘how dare they fucking cancel this show’ of the past few years.  I get angry just thinking about it.  I want to shake everyone and say ‘WHY DIDN’T YOU WATCH THIS’.

June moves to NYC after getting her MBA, she has a beautiful apartment and a brand new job as a somethingsomethingfancybusinessperson.  But on her first day, she arrives to find that the company is being shut down.  Since her apartment is owned by the company, she has to find a new place ASAP – AKA apartment 23.  She moves in and quickly discovers that her new roomie, Chloe, is a lying, stealing bitch who is trying to fleece a sweet midwestern girl out of her money and then drive her out of the apartment.  But June stands up to Chloe, and they become BEST FRIENDS.  Kind of.  It’s another odd couple situation, Chloe likes to drink and con her way through life, and June is the nice girl who wants to earn her way through life.  What kind of game is that?

The best part of the show is that Chloe’s best friend is James Van Der Beek, playing a ridiculous version of himself.  James stars in Japanese drink commercials, has his own line of jeans, and a main part of the storyline for the first half of the show is him getting on Dancing with the Stars.  I never watched Dawson’s Creek, but I am a fan of his many other works.  And with the Beeks comes a bunch of Dawson jokes and other former teen idols.  There’s also Eli, the pervert neighbor and city health inspector; Luther, James’ gay assistant; and Robin, Chloe’s stalker ex-roommate. Everyone is a caricature of a stereotype, but here it works and you will love them all. Except Mark, he’s pretty boring.

Sadly, Don’t Trust the B was canceled after two short seasons, I think part of it was the name. The fact that ABC took half of the episodes from season one and stuck them in season two, and then jumbled them all around, didn’t help things. But it’s on Netflix, and the nice thing about short shows is that you can plow through them in a single weekend.

Starring Kristen Ritter (Veronica Mars, Breaking Bad, best bangs ever), Dreama Walker (Gossip Girl, The Good Wife), the Beek, Ray Ford (Grey’s Anatomy), and Liza Lapira who has managed to get work every season for the past five years on a show that was quickly canceled: Dollhouse, Traffic Light, this show, and Super Fun Night. Plus there are guest spots from people like Thomas Lennon, Missi Pyle, Thomas Lennon, Daviz Krumholtz, Richard Dean Anderson, Mark Paul Gosselaar, and Charo. That’s right. Motherfucking CHARO and she brought her guitar. Rosalind Chao, Keiko from Star Trek TNG/DS9, has a small part as a pastor.

Appetizer: “Who wants a welcome soup shot in their tummy?” “Shut your face, mom!”
Entree: June really likes her Korean Baptist Church, and you will really like these Korean BBQ Seitan Tacos.
Dessert: Dawson is the MOOOOOOOOON pies.
Snack: Since it’s going to take you more than one meal to watch, salute June’s barista career with Coffee Roasted Almond + Toasted Coconut Dark Chocolate Bark.
Cocktail: Further proof that any recipe you can imagine is already on the internet, a sexy Lemon Verbena & Raspberry Jamtini.

posted: September 4, 2014
under: 2010s, comedy, tv shows
2 Comments on Don’t Trust the B (seasons 1 & 2)