Freaks and Geeks: the show that was ahead of its time


Fair use photo from NBCU Photo Bank

Freaks and Geeks launched the careers of many well known celebrities.

Despite being set in the 1980s, Freaks and Geeks is still relatable among teens today. Whether it be trying to fit in with the “cool kids” or difficulties with friends and family; there is something for everyone to connect with. The show portrays the frustrations of youth and rejection and is easily the most accurate representation of high school on television.

The TV show follows 16-year-old Lindsay Weir on her journey as she strays from her expected path of a straight-A, mathlete student. While Sam Weir, Lindsay’s 14-year-old brother is learning how to deal with the hardships of being different in high school.

“No one thinks you’re cool, you know.” -Sam Weir (Fair use photo by )

As you dive deeper, it examines the lives of the outsider groups that the teens are a part of. The freaks for Lindsay and the geeks for Sam. Regardless of their differences, everyone is dealing with the cruel and unfair aspects of their lives and because of this, I found it easy to relate to the characters, “especially since everything on the show actually happened to Feig or one of the show’s writers.”

When Paul Feig, the creator, was originally starting the writing process for the show, he sent out a survey to all the writers about their own experiences in high school; the questions ranged from what the worst experience was to the best. Their answers are what inspired a majority of the show. However, the plot of the show is relatively standard and less cohesive than normal shows but is designed that way to help develop the characters.

It sides with the misfits and outcasts that are normally in the background of other television shows and gives them a spotlight.

This is why many critics found the show too ambitious or too realistic for television. It is a show that reminds people of their own traumatic high school stories that they try hard to forget. It is a commemorable move really; to be able to capture the rawest, most painful aspects of being in high school. To be able to create relatable characters and present them in an uncomfortable and awkward scene is something that TV struggles to do.

“This is ridiculous. I look like Tom Selleck.” -Neal Schweiber (Fair use photo by

The show was canceled after the first eighteen episodes and was never renewed for a season two. Many people found the show’s devotion to reality, discomforting and unnecessary. In fact, one of the show’s episodes “Kim Kelly is My Friend” [1×04] was banned from being shown on TV due to the portrayal of Kim Kelly’s harsh home life.

Freaks and Geeks never held back once. It tells the story of a drummer whose dreams are bigger than his talent, a kid dealing with the divorce of his parents through ventriloquism, and a geek who finally gets the girl of dreams only to discover that she’s not who he thought she was. Freaks and Geeks always preferred emotional truth to sugarcoated outcomes.

This is why it is so admirable.

It is hard to think that a show as in tune with reality as Freaks and Geeks is, was something that was so frowned upon back in the day because it is something that we all crave in TV shows today. Relatable characters and plotlines are what draw me into binge-worthy TV shows and that is what Freaks and Geeks ultimately is.

The amount of insight and character development in the show is one of the reasons why it is still an essential series to this day.

If you are ever on the search for a binge-worthy, relatable TV show, then Freaks and Geeks is the one for you. You will easily fall in love with the characters and the daring plotlines that are represented in this show. No show will ever be able to top this one, no matter how hard they try.

The dance is tomorrow. She’s a cheerleader, you’ve seen Star Wars 27 times. You do the math. ”

— Neil Schweiber, character on the show