One of my favorite TV series of all time is the tragicly short-lived series from 1999-2000, “Freaks and Geeks”. In fact, it was cancelled after 12 episodes and it was only a fan-driven campaign that pursuaded NBC to air 3 additional ones. That left 3 more episodes that never aired on NBC. While network executives never got behind the show or gave it a consistent time slot, I’m not alone in recognizing it’s brilliance. TIME magazine listed it as 3rd best TV show of the 2000’s, TV Guide ranked it as the 27th greatest cult hit of all time, and Entertainment Weekly listed it as the 13th-best series of the last 25 years.
The series was created by Paul Feig and executive produced by Judd Apatow. It was set in a suburban high school in Michigan in 1980 and, unlike most TV shows and movies, it focused on the outcasts/unpopular kids – specifically the “freeks” (burn-outs, stoners) and the “geeks” (nerds). The anchors of the show are brother and sister Sam (John Francis Daley) and Lindsay (Linda Cardellini) Weir.
It was a drama/comedy (dramady) and realistically portrayed the real-life experiences and interactions of normal kids. The writing is real, funny, and full of heart. But mostly it makes you love the characters. They are so real and fleshed out that I have no problem imagining that I went to high school with them – of course it helps that the clothing and music is lifted from the exact time when I was a high school Sr.
The cast included future film stars including James Franco, Seth Rogan, Jason Segel, and Busy Phllipps. And Apatow has gone on to great success with his involvement in feature films such as :The 40-Year-Old Virgin”, “Knocked Up” and a number of other comedies – most of them aren’t my taste, and none of them compare to “Freeks and Geeks” as far as I’m concerned.
So my next celebrity caricatures focus on the beloved characters from this beloved show, starting with Sam.