XIPHOS AND THE QUICK AND DIRTY HIT #1:FREAKS AND GEEKS

This is a new idea I’m trying out it’s a short quick review about movies and TV shows everybody is probably already very familiar with and don’t require much writing about. At this point I think I’m just going write about things I like but I really haven’t worked out the rules as of yet that’s because when I thought of this, it was 20 minutes after midnight, I can’t sleep and I’m bored so this sounded like a good idea, we will see how it pans out.

Up first for the inaugural issue is the short-lived TV show by Judd Apatow and Paul Feig the excellent coming of age story Freaks and Geeks. If you don’t know about this show it had a tortured history at NBC circa 1999-2000. NBC moved it around, messed with it, didn’t support it and ultimately canceled it before airing all 18 episodes filmed.

The story is simple and well told and much of it is based on Paul Feig’s own high school experience in Michigan in the early 1980’s. The show revolves around brother and sister high school students Sam and Lindsay Weir played in near seamless perfection by John Francis Daley and the more than average looking Linda Cardellini. These two were absolute casting gold and truly became their characters. All the episodes center on the sibling much different high school life. Lindsay is trying to infiltrate the “freaks” the grungy, beer drinking, lower class pot and cigaret smoking rock and rollers and leave behind her good girl, upper middle class, star mathlete, excellent student persona; all without giving up the grades or her basic good nature. Then there’s Sam and his life long geek friends who like comic books, movies like Star Wars and TV. The geeks are just trying to survive as high school freshmen at the very bottom of the social pecking order.

I know I made F&G sound like an after school special sort of show but it really isn’t. The stories appear lighthearted and somewhat filtered through memory but they aren’t. What they are is a realistic look at how life was in the early 80’s and how kids behaved in the golden days before computers, the internet, cell phone and home video games when life was blissfully unregimented like it is for kids today unfortunately. Let me tell you it was a good time to be a kid. The episodes culled all the experiences that made high school such a unique experience in everyone’s life. There really isn’t anything else in the western world that is as universal an experience as “high school”. The writing was so spot on about those experience that I think anybody can connect with it. I know the 18-20 year knuckle heads I work with that have recently graduated loved F&G and keep rewatching it.

The other reasons that made F&G such a stellar show was the casting of the other leads and the guest stars. The Freaks are James Franco(I always forget he’s a pretty good actor) Busy Phillips, Jason Segel and the only weak link Seth Rogan. The Geeks are Samm Levine and Martin Starr. These two might just be the reason why the show was so great they rocked it hard. I laugh at everything Martin Starr does and says and Samm Levine’s impersonations were priceless, they stole every scene they were in even from each other. Joe Flaherty and Becky Ann Baker as Sam and Lindsay’s parents were perfect as mom and dad. Lastly the cars, the clothes, the references and especially the music were all era appropriate.

So in closing if for some odd reason you have not watched F&G I would highly recommend it the show is quality entertainment.

Xiphos

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41 responses to “XIPHOS AND THE QUICK AND DIRTY HIT #1:FREAKS AND GEEKS”

  1. redfishybluefishy says :

    Bill Haverchuck is my hero!

    Dang, I love this show. For me it really is perfection. It tackles such a broad range of issues in such a short time. I can’t believe it got canceled, but maybe it’s for the best; this way it was over before it jumped the shark.

    I think you sum it up accurately Xi; there really is something for everyone to relate to in all the characters, whether they remind you of someone or are a little piece of your personality. It’s funny and serious and I think that’s what I love most.

    Bill is the true beginning of the ‘will it blend’ craze.

    Freaks and Geeks Forever! xo

    ps- I lived in Michigan from ’75-’80, and go back yearly. I can’t speak for other parts of the USA, but they really got Michigan spot on. It felt a little too real on occasion.

    • xiphos0311 says :

      Fishy I agree with you about Bill when you divorce yourself from his appearance and goofy voice the kid said some funny stuff and pretty insightful but Jesus he was a nerd.

      Is the “will it blend craze” you mentioned really a craze? I would never have guessed that “I will drink this much of anything for 10 dollars” joke would catch on.

      While I was watching F&G I did wonder if they would be able to keep up the high quality if the show got a second season or a complete first one. Sometimes early cancellation, after network interference, launches a show into a strata it doesn’t deserve see Firefly(coming soon to an internet review near you) but in F&Gs case it deserves the love it gets.

  2. Jarv says :

    I’ve never seen this. I shall procure it

  3. Droid says :

    Yeah, this is a good show. And there was nothing wrong with Rogen. Seriously, that guy is so unfairly maligned its ridiculous. Anyhoo, loved the party ep where they got non alcoholic beer but everyone was acting wasted. And Cardinelli is very above average looking.

    • xiphos0311 says :

      Droid go back and read what I wrote. I didn’t maligned him but in F&G he was the weakest cast member and it’s not entirely his fault. The charter was underwritten and disappeared for a number of episodes but when he was on screen, compared to the rest of the cast, he turned in the weakest performance. Rogan had individual moments that he shined, like the beer party ep you mentioned, but those were few and far between. Now in Undeclared I remember him pretty much carrying the show.

      Yep Cardellini is one good looking gal even in a field jacket and crappy 80’s clothes.

      • Droid says :

        Fair enough, mate. I just took “the only weak link Seth Rogen” as having a go at him. It’s been a while since I’ve seen the show, but I remember him being fine in it. But his role was defintely one on the fringe, with no particular shows centered around his character. He was used mostly for random comments and probably was the least developed, so if that’s what you meant then I agree.

      • koutchboom says :

        Yeah Droid I’m watching it again now and Seth is the worst part about the show. I remembered Seth being really funny but rewatching it he’s pretty bad. He can’t deliver his lines and is just monotonic, not half as funny as I remembered.

  4. ThereWolf says :

    Good idea, Xi, go for it.

    I hardly watch telly so I’ll probably never see this. If I get the chance though, I’ll have a look.

    About 10 years ago I suffered from bad insomnia so I sympathise with the no-sleepy thing…

  5. xiphos0311 says :

    Thanks Wolf.

    I understand about TV most of it is useless and comprised of unfunny shitcoms and fucktarded (un)”reality” shows. When they do produce a top notched scripted show like a F&G or Supernatural it’s some of the best entertainment available and in my opinion can at least match a movie in quality and in many case beat them since you get to know the characters so much more.

    Insomnia I’ve had it most of my life and it blows.

    • ThereWolf says :

      Christ… Supernatiral. Thanks for reminding me.

      I was upto the last 3 episodes of Season 1 and drifted away from it. Must get those watched soon.

      If i’m honest, I’m not gripped by what I’ve seen. Couple of the later episodes were all right – just haven’t been drawn in.

      • xiphos0311 says :

        I just used SN becasue it was the first thing that popped into my head. The last 3 eps might bring you back in or maybe not everybody is different.

      • Droid says :

        Keep watching. By the end of season two you should be into it. The first season (from memory) is a lot of monster of the week type stuff, which is fine, but the overall story is where it’s at.

      • ThereWolf says :

        I’ll give those last 3 SN eps a go, Xi. I mean, I’ve come this far, right…

      • xiphos0311 says :

        Might as well Wolf. It can’t hurt that much right?

        Like Droid said there is a lot more monster of the week stuff but the overall story arc was seeded in the first series quite cleverly and in an under the radar way that plays out in later seasons.

      • ThereWolf says :

        I tell you what annoyed me. The blonde chick. She turns up in one episode – I think there’s a scarecrow in it – and I thought she’s excatly what hte series needs, a cool hot chick teaming up with them.

        Of course, she turns out to be a ‘bad guy’. I felt let down, really disappointed!

        I liked her…

      • xiphos0311 says :

        They use Meg in an interesting way in later episodes. I think the final episode of season 1 is where they introduce Bobby and he rocks.

      • ThereWolf says :

        Yeh, I’d like to use Meg in an interesting way…!

      • xiphos0311 says :

        Dude if you like Meg check out the show she’s on now Dark Blue. The show itself isn’t any good but they put her in slutty outfits a bunch in season one.

      • ThereWolf says :

        Dark Blue duly noted…

      • xiphos0311 says :

        Just remember Wolf I’m not endorsing the show becasue it’s stupid I’m endorsing the slutty outfits on Meg.

      • ThereWolf says :

        Show? What show?

        Mmmm… Meg…

    • koutchboom says :

      HEY PITCHMEN IS BACK ON!!! The only reality TV show that ever matter.

  6. ThereWolf says :

    Is there any such thing as ‘reality tv’?

    UN-reality tv – yeh. Reality, no.

  7. just pillow talk says :

    I hate to say it, but I’ve never seen this. I’m not a fan of tv to begin with, but I’ll have to see if netflix has it and add it so I can tackle this show once and for all…

    • xiphos0311 says :

      It’s worth it.

      • Tom_Bando says :

        Ditto–looks pretty good, just never checked it out. I DEF. was one of those comic-book/D and D playing nerds-so I’ll be sure to cringe as I watch variations of myself amongst the cast.

        Sounds fun.

      • xiphos0311 says :

        Tom you should get a bit extra out of the show since I think you may be old enough to really remember the early 80’s

      • Tom_Bando says :

        Oh yeah I was born in 1966, the early 80’s were my HS years.

  8. DocPazuzu says :

    Parisian Night Suit!!!!

    I absolutely LOVE F&G. What a wonderful, flawless show, which — of course — is why it got cancelled.

    Since I was born in ’67 I was actually the exact same age as the geeks of the show back in ’80-’81. I count it as one of my life’s greatest blessings that I spent all my teen years during the 1980s. Good times, good times. Yeah, that’s right, I said it.

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